Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day 6, Game 1 - Naruto (Tokushima) v. Oumi (Shiga)

We're now into our first full day of 2nd round action as Nisshougakushadai Fuzoku has already punched their ticket into the 3rd round.

First up, the powder blue unis of Oumi versus the school that people here in the US would equate to an anime - Naruto.

Oumi almost sleepwalked through the Shiga prefecturals.  This despite playing Hikone Higashi (W 11-1) and then Kita-Ootsu (W 4-0).  It was so lopsided, the team averaged 0.491 and gave up 4 runs in 6 games

Obviously they won't be that good, and in fact when adjusted for competition, should be more realistic.  The problem will be we don't know how much it will be adjusted.

Naruto managed to win the Tokushima prefecturals, but it was far from pretty.  Despite 3 blowout games, they gave up at least 3 runs in each game, barely beating out Naruto Uzushio for the title.  The team hit 0.449, but again you have to be cognizant of the talent level.

Taking that into account, the one aspect that could prove to be their downfall is Naruto's pitching.  If they give up runs at the pace they did in-prefecture, here at Koushien will be much worse

Naruto (Tokushima)
2B Hori Kiyotaka
SS Takashima Keita
CF Narugawa Takashi
3B Kitao Hayato
RF Hashikawa Ryousuke
C Mukai Kouki
1B Mori Yuuta
P Kawano Tatsuo (#10)
LF Matsushita Kouichi

Oumi (Shiga)
LF Horiguchi Yuuka (#9)
CF Oda Kaito
SS Ueda Kai
3B Hibi Ryousuke
2B Nakaya Jyunpei
1B Yamamoto Daichi (#18)
C Minobe Naoki
P Ogawa Ryouken
LF Sasaji Kenta (#17)


08:00 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
After what seemed like a good start, the middle of Naruto's lineup gets to work,

Narukawa begins with a blooper to center.  Kitao follows that up with a liner to left.  And then Ogawa finishes it up himself by hitting Hashikawa.  From 2 out, no on he loads the bases!

Mukai with a ball to right, but Sasaji is there to make the catch.  Ogawa gets himself out of his own pinch in the 1st

Bottom 1st
Naruto flashing the leather early as Kaito bloops a ball into shallow left.  Matsushita charges in, dives, rolls... and makes a spectacular catch!

And despite hitting Ueda with the slow curve, Kawano gets Hibi to pop out to Mukai to end the inning.

Top 2nd
Hibi with a great leaping catch on a liner by Mori to start the inning!

It looks like Ogawa might get a clean inning, but then Matsushita ruins it with a line single to right.  But a bad break for Naruto as Hori's hot shot to the right side hits Matsushita in the foot and he's called out for interference.

Bottom 2nd
Nakaya with Oumi's first hit, a solid single through the left side.

Yamamoto showing bunt, doesn't offer on the first couple.

Bust-and run!  Yamamoto hacks at it and singles through the right side!  Nakaya has to hold at 2nd, but Oumi is threatening!

Now finally does Taga-kantoku have Minobe bunt the runners along.

Ogawa after falling behind 0-2, is disciplined enough to take 3 balls before Kawano yanks the chain on the ball and gets him swinging for the 2nd out.

But once again Ogawa hits a batter with the ball (Sasaji) and it's manrui yet again!  Lineup turns over to Horiguchi.

First pitch opposite way! It's past Takashima into left! Nakaya scores! Yamamoto comes home, no throw! Horiguchi comes through in big way to give Oumi a 2-0 lead!

Kaito first pitch drives the slow curve to right!  Hashikawa running back... running back... over his head!  Sasaji's going to score, Horiguchi being waved around, no throw! Back to back pitches and it's 4-0 on Kaito's triple!

Ueda with a shot past Takashima! Kaito can walk home and now it's 5-0 Oumi!  Moriwaki-kantoku has to call time.

Taga-kantoku putting the screws on as he sends Ueda! Mukai's throw is way short and he has the base easily.

Hibi strikes out swinging to end the inning, but Oumi pounds the rookie pitcher for 5 big runs early.

Top 3rd
Naruto already looking in bad shape as Ogawa needs just 8 pitches (and a great charging play on a slow roller by Nakaya) to retire the side.

Bottom 3rd
Kawano going exclusively to the slow curve to start and that allows Yamamoto to line it up for a one out single to left.

Minobe follows that up hitting a hanging fastball to right for a base hit, Yamamoto was running on the play and easily takes 3rd.

Ogawa not having much luck.  He goes down swinging for the 2nd time and there's 2 down.

Kawano gets out of the inning after rallying from down 3-0 to Sasaji, getting him to sky a ball to center to retire the side.

Top 4th
Mori finally breaks up the streak of out with a 2-out single through the right side. But Kawano flies out to end the inning.

Bottom 4th
Kawano perhaps putting himself in trouble again, gives up a leadoff walk to Horiguchi.  He's bailed out when he gets Kaito to hit a double play.

Ueda meanwhile tries to make havoc on the base paths as he hits his 2nd single, and then steals 2nd!!  Hibi pops out to 2nd and the inning is over.

Top 5th
Naruto continuing to struggle, and is giving Ogawa an easy time of things.  He retires the side in just 3 pitches with none of the balls leaving the infield!

Bottom 5th
After that 2nd inning, Kawano hasn't had an easy time of things, but has at least kept Oumi off the board.

The same thing happens here in the 5th, though it's self-inflicted.  2 outs, he hits Minobe, and then walks Ogawa.

But with two outs, Sasaji goes after the first pitch and fouls out to Mori to end the inning.  Oumi's only been able to score in one inning, but it was a big inning as they try to put the game out of reach.

Top 6th
Narukawa gets his 2nd hit of the game with a clean single to right.

And now Ogawa hits Kitao and he's put his team in a jam!

Which he gets out of! Hashikawa grounds into the 6-4-3 double play!  Naruto still can string anything together as Ogawa gets Mukai to fly out to center to end the inning.

Bottom 6th
Oumi just running circles around Mukai.  After Kaito draws a 1-out walk, he takes 2nd with little difficulty.

Ueda then lines a ball the other way!  Hashikawa runs it down, but not before Kaito scores to make it 6-0.

Hibi grounder to left side, but Kitao can't make the pick! It goes to left for a base hit and we could be seeing a repeat of the 2nd if Moriwaki-kantoku isn't careful.

Nakaya with an excuse me swing, puts the bat on the ball and the momentum takes it to left for a base hit! Ueda scores to make it 7-0.

Yamamoto with a ball to shallow right...  Hashikawa charging in, slides... he's got it, no!  It leakes out of his glove and Hibi scores to make it 8-0!  Moriwaki-kantoku calls time, but doesn't pull Kawano?

And Yamamoto steals 2nd with nothing Mukai can do about it.

Minobe shot right at 1st, Mori charges in and makes the tag for the 2nd out.

Ogawa grounds to 3rd to end the inning, but the game seems all but over though I don't know why Kawano is still in the game...

Top 7th
The decision makes even less sense when with one out #17 Tezuka comes and hits for Kawano.

Tezuka manages to work the count full, but bites on the slider for the K.

Matsushita with a base hit through the left side, and that's their 5th hit with 2 outs so far.  In fact only one has has not been with 2 outs.

And that helps mitigate any damage.

Hori drive to left!  Sasaji running back, makes the backpedaling catch for the 3rd out.

Bottom 7th
#11 Nakayama comes in the game and takes the hill.

After wondering why they didn't put him in sooner (he gets Sasaji and Horiguchi to sky balls into the stratosphere), he then walks Kaito by pounding the ground about 55 feet from the mound.

As he throws 2 more low, you can at least say he doesn't miss high.

Oh and Kaito steals 2nd, but you'd probably figured that would have happened.

And another ball about 55 feet and Kaito takes 3rd.

Nakayama manages to leave Kaito on 3rd as Ueda grounds to Kitao to end the inning.

Top 8th
Naruto waving the white flag it seems.  They're really just letting the bats fly.  Kitao has the best of it, driving it to the fence, but Ogawa needs just 5 pitches to retire the side.

Bottom 8th
#15 Kamata comes in for Hori to take over at 2B.

#3 Yamashita comes in to hit for Hibi, and goes down in just 3 pitches.

Oumi quickly goes down in order as they'd like to wrap up the game.

Top 9th
#14 Kihara comes in for PH Yamashita and goes to 2B, Nakaya goes to 3B.

Hashikawa and Mori get base hits to hopefully try to prevent the shutout, but PH #13 Yamamoto lines into the game-ending 6-3 double play to end the game

Oumi behind 2 big innings dispatch Naruto 8-0.

This game gave me the feeling that Naruto was rebuilding.  Almost all the bench players were kouhai's and He refused to pull Kawano both times he could have.  It could be that despite rebuilding they still managed to win the tournament and return to Koushien.  That's scary for the rest of the teams in Tokushima for the upcoming year.

But this is now and Oumi is the beneficiaries of the game as Ogawa shuts down the Naruto offense, scattering the majority of hits with 2 outs.  The offense was about as expected, with them able to string together hits in 2 innings to score their runs.

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