What's even scarier about having Meitoku Gijyuku in with a lot of the powerhouses gone... is Osaka Touin at Koushien with a lot of the powehouses gone.
There is no doubt that Osaka Touin can hit, they averaged, AVERAGED, 8 runs a game defeating Riseisha 6-2 and then PL Gakuen 9-1 to win the title. That's always scary. The problem is always with pitching when it comes to them.
This year it looks like they're going to #10 Tanaka Seiya who averages over a K/IP, but apparently issues more walks than hits - which might be a slight problem.
Kaisei pretty much had the same problem. Lots of hitting, not so much pitching. They did however had to defeat Risshoudai Shounan, Iwami Chisuikan, Daitou and Taisha to win the title, so that's about as tough as you can get. But pitching problems against Osaka Touin? Good luck with that.
Osaka Touin (Osaka)
LF Nakamura Makoto
2B Minemoto Takumi
3B Katsuki Kazuya
1B Masazui Yuuya (#8)
RF Ooyagi Kouki (#13)
CF Mori Shinnosuke (#9)
C Yokoi Yuuya
SS Fukuda Kouki
P Tanaka Seiya (#10)
Kaisei 開星 (Shimane)
C Kuraoda Masaya
2B Ishihara Daiki
RF Mochida Takahiro
CF Ikeda Shigeki
3B Kanetsuki Shouta
1B Miyagawa Kousuke
LF Ishihara Tsukasa
P Onda Kazuki
SS Tamura Hikaru
12:18 - First Pitch!
Boy already Osaka Touin testing the waters. Minemoto with a huge drive to left, but Ikeda at the fence makes the catch. Katsuki drives one to right, but the hamakaze helps knock that down. Even still Mochida is near the fence for the 3rd out.
Masaya on the other hand hits a blooper down the left field line. The entire left side converges on it, and it still falls in fair! He's in with a double!
And this being an offensive game, the baseball gods frown on a bunt, so Daiki's attempt winds up getting Masaya thrown out at 3rd.
No matter though, Mochida hits a ball off the padding in left and now there's runners on 2nd and 3rd!
And now Ikeda is hit to load the bases!
Kanetsuki grounder back up the middle... past a diving Fukuda! One run scores! Mochida waved around... throw is up the line and he scores! 2-0 Kaisei just like that!
Even the outs are loud. Miyagawa with a hard liner right to Mori for the 2nd out.
Tsukasa with a ball back up the middle! Ikeda waved around! Throw from Mori is late and it's 3-0 Kaisei!
Onda with a single through the right side! Kanetsuki coming home, the throw is just late as he slides in underneath Yokoi! 4-0 Kaisei!!
Tamura finally strikes out to end the inning, but Kaisei all over kouhai ace Tanaka and they have a 4-0 lead!
But that's far from safe.
Masazui immediately hit to start the inning. No bunt (this IS Osaka Touin), but Aoyagi grounds to 2nd! Daiki muffs the ball, still can go to 2nd for one, but Tamura inexplicably throws to 1st with no chance and throws it into the camera well! It's like they did a bunt!
Onda now can't find the zone at all, and walks Aoyagi and Mori to load the bases! Yamauchi-kantoku calls time, but I'm sure he knew it would be this type of game.
Onda really testing the dimensions. Fukuda with a drive to deep center, but the park holds it as Ikeda makes the catch in front of the padding. Runners on 2nd and 3rd tag, 4-1 Kaisei.
AH!!!! Onda throws a wild pitch and Mori comes in to score! 4-2 Kaisei!
Tanaka grounds to 2nd to end the inning, but Kaisei gives 2 runs right back as Osaka Touin gets them without the benefit of a hit.
Wow, some actual pitching. 2nd time through the lineup not as successful (though it's hard to improve on the 1st).
Masaya chases a slider and grounds to 2nd. Daiki strikes out swinging on an outside fastball as a drizzle comes down.
And after Mochida goes after another slider and grounds out to short, everyone gets out their ponchos because it starts pouring.
Onda's struggles on the mound continue as he walks Nakamura to start the inning.
Hit-and-run! Minemoto with a shot down the 3rd base line... fair past a divcing Kanetsuki! Nakamura being waved home and the throw is late! 4-3!
Katsuki hits a fly to left, but it's just a regular pop fly.
Now Masazui shows them how it's done with a fly to deep center. Minemoto advances to 3rd on the tag.
Aoyagi tries for the line shot, but it's right at Kanetsuki for the 3rd out.
See? Lead not safe.
Ikeda grounder to short, but the rain possibly affecting Fukuda as he drops the ball. E6, runner on base.
Kanetsuki works the count and eventually draws a walk, putting runners on 1st and 2nd for Miyagawa.
He singles through the right side! Ikeda holds at 3rd and it's manrui yet again for Tsukasa!
Tanaka showing some pitching as he gets Tsukasa to swing on an inside fastball for the first out.
Tanaka behind Onda 3-1, throws a fastball and Onda takes it back up the middle! Ikeda scores, they're sending Kanetsuki home! Mori throw home.. in time! Kanetsuki should have slid in head first with his arm, but they get the out nonetheless. 5-3 Kaisei.
Tamura is having no fun at all as he goes down looking for his 2nd K of the game and 2nd time to end an inning. But Tanaka has actually mitigated the losses in that inning giving up just 1.
So, after Onda throws a ball about 45 feet for ball 4, Yamauchi-kantoku does his ol' P-1B switcharoo, moving Miyagawa to the mound and Onda to 1B.
That... doesn't work...
Yokoi scorcher down the 3rd base line fair! Mori rounding 3rd, coming home, and the throw is late and high! 5-4 Kaisei, but Osaka Touin threatening to tie the game yet again!
After a sac bunt, Fukuda still without a hit as he grounds to 1st, but does something productive in advancing the runner.
But Nakamura grounds back to Miyagawa to end the inning. Osaka Touin inching closer again, but has yet to equalize.
Tanaka seems to have settled down after that 1st inning more than Kaisei's battery has. Masaya goes down swinging on an outside fastball, and Daiki actually tries a safety bunt.
Mochida goes down on another outside fastball and the side is retired!
Not surprisingly, Miyagawa walks Minemoto to start the inning. Katsuki can't be held off the board forever in this game, he singles through the right side and Minemoto takes 3rd on the play!
But Masazui continues to struggle! He hits a towering popup! Onda under in down the 1st base line and secures it for the out.
AH!!! Miyagawa is called for a balk! He never got set! So Minemoto comes home and we're all tied at 5-5!
And Miyagawa walks Aoyagi one pitch later. Oh boy.
Despite the struggles by the Kaeisei pitching staff, Mori goes up swinging, and goes down swinging. 2 down.
The problem with being an offensive team is that you're not used to not having to hit to score. So Yokoi looks silly going down swinging to end the inning, and Miyagawa only gives up the 1 run.
Ikeda with a popup to center, Mori running in, running in, running in... dives, rolls, and makes the catch for the out Not an easy task in this weather.
Kanetsuki decides that a shoulder-high fastball is good to swing at, and pops out to Fukuda for the 2nd out.
Miyagawa instead likes to play golf and hits a sand wedge to center. Mori comes charging in again, but this time it falls in. Miyagawa alertly sees it bounce away from Mori and he takes 2nd!
Apparently, the kryptonite of a Kaisei batter is a good pitch outside and Tsukasa goes down swinging to end the inning.
So perhaps there isn't as much offense as expected given the first couple of innings. But scoring opportunities are to be had all over on both sides and that should continue into the 2nd half.
Fukuda apparently wants to get a hit in this game, he swings at everything with 2 strikes before finally popping out to Daiki.
#3 Oomori comes in to PH for Tanaka and his day will be done with Fukushima warming up.
The opposite thing happens in Oomori's AB. Miyagawa gets ahead 0-2 then winds up issuing a walk. #14 Sugane will come in to run in his place.
And guess what? Another walk, this time to Nakamura.
Grounder to right side! Daiki makes the stop, throws to 2nd for 1, throws to 1st.. AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
Tamura throws it away again, and this time Sugane comes home as Osaka Touin now leads 6-5!
And now Miyagwa is called for a balk again, again for not being set! 7-5 Osaka Touin!
Katsuki flies out to left, but if it wasn't apparent before, it's apparent now. Kaisei really doesn't have a "pitcher".
Just to say how funny this game is, Masazui finally gets his single. Advances to 2nd on a wild pitch, 3rd on a sac fly, and then gets run down on a failed squeeze.
A SQUEEZE. In THIS game. As a friend of mine said on twitter, it would have been more appropriate for Kaisei to have botched the rundown and let the runner score.
Anyways, the net result is a 1-2-3 inning. Yeah.
So apparently Osaka Touin has something that resembles a pitching staff as Fukushima strikes out Mochida and Ikeda in a real 1-2-3 inning.
Miyagawa actually gets a real 1-2-3 inning here in the 8th against the bottom of Osaka Touin's lineup. Yay for normal baseball!
Apparently Osaka Touin wants to keep things interesting so Fukushima hits Kanetsuki.
Miyagwa apparently likes hitting bad balls, as he almost one hands a ball through the right side! Kanetsuki goes to 3rd and Kaisei might not be done quite yet!
But Fukushima goes inside to Tsukasa and he can't get around on it, hitting a foul fly to Katsuki in foul territory.
And now Onda is hit by a pitch and it's manrui for last batter Tamura... who is hitless on the day...
#18 Uehara will run for Onda, which means it's all Miyagawa on the mound now.
Tamura grounder to 3rd! Katsuki has it, but loses it! He can only go to 3rd for 1, and Kanetsuki scores to make it 7-6!
2 down as the lineup turns over to Masaya, who has been held off the board since his double in the 1st.
Masaya dribbler to the right side! Minemoto charging in from what looks like the outfield! Throw to 1st... beats a diving Masaya!
Ah the head-first slide into 1st...
So I guess they have one more pitcher. Mochida comes in from RF to P, Miyagawa goes back to 1B, #13 Takai comes in for PR Uehara and goes to RF.
The 9th almost looking like the first. Nakamura grounds to 1st (instead of to short). Minemoto booms a ball to center right in front of the fence...
And Katsuki ruins my analogy striking out swinging. Still it's a clean inning for Mochida.
Well, one down Mochida grounder to short, and Fukuda misses the ball! I couldn't tell about the hop, but it's given a base hit and Kaisei at least has some hope.
Ikeda gives the ball a ride, but gets under it too much and Aoyagi settles under it for the 2nd out.
Last chance in Kanetsuki.
But he flies out to right and that ends the game! Osaka Touin wins a bizarre game 7-6!
What exactly do you say about this game? Kaisei actually held their own against Osaka Touin despite their pitching. But for Kaisei, that's kind of the norm for the school. Now, doesn't make it any easier losing when you still had a chance to win.
Just imagine if ever Kaisei gets an ace pitcher. They would be scary as f***.
For Osaka Touin, is there a game plan in there somewhere to defeat them? Just walk them instead of letting them hit? Doubtful, but they did only get 4 hits in the game.
Let me say that again. 4!
I think there may be a strategy in there somewhere.