Today we'll be starting to see teams hit the field for the 2nd time, starting with our 3rd game in Kanzei v. Toyama Shougyou.
But first we need to get the rest of the teams on the field, and starting action today will be the last Kanto squad in Sakushin Gakuin, versus the apparent underachievers Okinawa Shougaku.
Sakushin Gakuin did not have to play any big name opponent out of the prefecture. Even in the final against Sano Nichidai, they are not considered one of the top tiered schools. And the only game that was close was their 5-4 quarterfinal win over Seiran Taito.
Despite the lack of competition, the Sakushin offensive numbers are not spectacular. An average of just 0.337, though they did average 1.5 doubles and triples per game. Plus they did steal 23 bases in their 6 games, so maybe they're playing the small ball game.
Okinawa Shougaku continues to be dominant with their pitching, giving up just 3 runs in their 5 games. Yamashiro continues to be an effective pitcher in prefecture. But like Sakushin Gakuin, their problems are on offense where they hit just 0.324, with less XBH on average. The bottom of the lineup especially is a black hole, and you just cannot afford to give up outs.
So it's highly likely we're going to see a very low scoring game to start Day 7.
Sakushin Gakuin (Tochigi)
SS Soeda Manami
3B Yoshizawa Yuuma
LF Asayama Hirokazu
1B Tanaka Takuma
CF Nakamura Kouichirou
RF Akaki Rikuya
2B Satou Ryoumu
C Yokoo Norimitsu
P Fujinuma Takumi
Okinawa Shougaku (Okinawa)
CF Akamine Ken
2B Nakamura Masaki (#13)
LF Nishihira Daiki
3B Asato Takeru
RF Kubo Shuuto
1B Uehara Kouta
SS Sunagawa Osamu
P Yamashiro Daichi
C Irabu Shouta
08:00 - First Pitch!
So they say it's SS Sunagawa's birthday today. Soeda congratulates him by hitting the first ball in play to him for the out.
Yoshizawa a stubborn batter for Yamashiro at the plate, but on the 9th pitch he gets him twisted up on a fastball inside for the K.
Asayama with a drive to center! Ken running back to the wall, back still!
So much for lack of offense to start. Asayama with a HR to center no less and Sakushin takes the 1-0 lead!
Tanaka flies out to left, but it looks like we might be headed for a melee rather than a siege.
It may be early, but the whistles are out in the Okinawa ouen-dan.
Ken tries to drive the ball, but Nakamura is there in left center to make the catch. Nakamura gets ahead 3-1, but his hit goes right to 2nd.
Nishihira with a ball to left. Asayama going back to the wall.. HE LOOKS UP!
Um, did I say low scoring game? *ahem*
Nishihira hits his own HR, telling Asayama anything you can do I can do! We're all tied at 1-1!
Asato goes down looking to end the inning but it looks like we might have an interesting game on our hands!
Yamashiro taking things into his own hands early. He strikes out Nakamura looking on the outer edge, the Akaki swinging on yet another 140 kph fastball.
It's not a clean inning though, as Satou's routine grounder gets booted by Sunagawa.
He doesn't make the same error twice as he takes Yokoo's grounder to 2nd for the 3rd out.
Fujinuma certainly not blowing batters away by any means, but it looks like the Okishou batters are not timing themselves very well to his speed.
Kubo and Sunagawa just roll over the ball to the left side of the infield, while Kouta swings over the slider.
Yamashiro meanwhile is throwing a bit of gas (I say a bit because he's hitting 140).
Yet another K, Fujinuma the victim this time as he swings on a fastball outside. After a groundout, Yoshizawa becomes Yamashiro's 5th K frozen on a slider over the plate.
Yamashiro gives, and apparently receives Ks. Fujinuma throws the change and he swings over it for the 1st out.
Fujinuma trying to catch up, hangs his 4th K when Irabu fails to check his swing and the 1st base ump rings him up.
Ken with a weak grounder to short, Soeda charges, makes throw and the side is retired.
More and more K's for Yamashiro. Tanaka fails to even swing at the fastball down the middle. And Nakamura goes down for the 2nd time on a two-seamer down the zone. 7 Ks already.
Ah, Fujinuma issues his first walk as he want's little to do with Nishihira.
Asato though follows it up with a singles through right side! Nishihira takes 3rd on the play and Okishou is threatening!
Kubo up as Haisai Oji-san plays and the whistles fill the stadium.
Grounder to 2nd! Satou to 2nd for one, throw to 1st... No!
Soeda can't seem to get the ball out of his glove and he can't turn the double play! Nishihira scores and Okishou takes the 2-1 lead!
Higa-kantoku sends Kubo to 2nd, but Yokoo makes a strong throw and he's out by a good margin. 3 outs, but Okishou takes their first lead!
Yet another K for Yamashiro. He paints the outside corner with the fastball to gets Akaki for the 2nd time.
Satou takes a half-hearted swing, and grounds to 2nd.
Yokoo with a liner that hits Yamashiro! He locates and throws to 1st for the out, and he looks ok. But Sakushin is not ok as outside of that HR, the offense has done nothing.
Pitching change for Sakushin Gakuin! #11 Takahashi comes in for Fujinuma and goes to left, and Asayama comes in from LF to take the hill.
Not a great start as he walks Kouta to start the inning. Higa-kantoku tries the hit-and-run, but Sunagawa fouls it off. Sunagawa works the count full, and it's another hit-and-run! He fouls it off again.
And again! But this time the ball is low and Sunagawa gets a walk!
Yamashiro lays down the bunt, but Yokoo up with the ball quickly and fires to 3rd! He guns down Kouta for the 1st out!
Irabu tries it again, but Asayama charges in and fires to 3rd again! They get the lead runner again and Okinawa Shougaku is an out away from spoiling a great opportunity!
Top of the order for Okishou and Ken.
He flies out to right and Okishou is left with nothing as we hit the break! Momentum had been with Okishou and ace Yamashiro, but that has to give Sakushin Gakuin confidence as we hit the break.
Takahashi anticipates the fastball away, and yet still can't make contact as he becomes another K victim.
Soeda with a base hit to center! That's just their 2nd hit of the game!
Kobari-kantoku calling for the bunt, but Yoshizawa can't lay it down! 2 strikes now, and it's a bust-and-run! But really it's a bunt as he grounds weakly to 3rd.
Yamashiro having a harder time of things with a runner on, falls behind Asayama 3-1 before getting a pitch over to fill the count.
SANSHIN!!!!!!!!!!!!! Asayama had walked away and squats down at the delayed strike 3! He can't believe it as he goes down looking to retire the side! That looked outside.
Nakamura leads off the Okishou 2nd half with a single to left center. And then Kobari-kantoku has him moving to 2nd! Throw from Yokoo... in time, but Nakamura's slide dislodges the ball!
Nishihira with a liner to right allows him to move another 90 feet.
Asato grounder to short! Soeda going home! Nakamura slides in and he beats the tag! Gamble doesn't pay off and Okishou leads 3-1!
A K and a great throw from Yokoo to nail Asato trying to steal 2nd and the inning is over. But the game may slowly be getting away from them.
Oh, this isn't the time to look lost at the plate. Yamashiro not only strikes out the side, the 4-5-6 batters are 0-9 with 8 Ks!!
Asayama back on track against the lower half of the lineup, retires them in order tacking on 2 Ks while he's at it.
Yamashiro may be conserving himself, going for contact outs versus K's. He gets 2 quick groundouts, but Takahashi proves to be more stubborn, eventually getting jammed but blooping one to right.
Yamashiro moves to 1st, and pick off Takahashi to end the inning!
Irabu finally checks in with a single to center. Ken appears to be bunting, but never does drawing a walk.
It's at this time that Yokoo fires a pitch back to 2nd and Irabu is way out of position and is picked off.
So with 2nd open, Ken decides to take it back, and gets no throw from Yokoo as he loses his grip on the ball.
And then Asayama walks Nakamura to put everything back where it was before the pickoff. Kobari-kantoku calls for time.
Asayama does himself no favors as his pickoff throw to 2nd is high and into center, allowing the runners to advance.
But he clamps down and gets Nishihira looking for the 2nd out in much the same way he was rung up.
Asato pops up to 2nd to end the inning, but Sakushin is down to their final 3 outs.
Soeda chopper to left side, Sunagawa charges, makes pick off bounce, and his throw to 1st is in time for the 1st out!
#18 Oohashi to hit for Nagasawa, but since we know he's up there to hit, Yamashiro tuns the aggressiveness back on him striking him out on the 2-seamer away.
Last chance in Asayama.
Grounder up middle, Satou runs it down. Throw to 1st... OUT! Asayama lets out his frustration as Okinawa Shougaku defeats Sakushin Gakuin 3-1!
Yamashiro with a dominant performance to start day 7, dispatching the Tochigi champs with little difficulty. The offenses were not great, and so something like this was to be expected, but Yamashiro outside of that HR to Asayama put them in a complete blackout.
And so it's yet another Kanto school that is eliminated. As for Okinawa Shougaku, it's a good start, but as we figured, the offense will constantly be under siege to support their ace.