More teams from the central regions here in Game 2 as Nihon Bunri and Touhou do battle.
Nihon Bunri got a gift of a game from Oita in the first round. Despite having multiple scoring chances, miscommunication on the basepaths led to key outs that kept them off the scoreboard. When Nihon Bunri scored 3 in the 7th, that just broke Oita.
Ace Iidzuka may have had a clever game plan as well, though we'll need to see if it was truly the case. He walked 6, but 4 of those came with 1 out. And in all but the last case, Oita bunted. So every time it was 2 outs, runner on 2nd. Perhaps they did it intentionally so they would get an easy out. But like I said, it will depend on how he pitches today.
Touhou meanwhile, just ran roughshot over Nichinan Gakuen, amassing 20 hits and 11 runs with every starter getting on base. So in that respect, it wasn't much of a game.
But there are concerns. Two of the players at the top of the lineup, Okada and Miyazawa went hitless. #5 hitter Mine only got 1 hit. That has to be concerning considering the offensive output.
The other was bench starter Fujishima. He went 8 strong innings, scattering 9 hits. But he walked 3 and struck out just 2. That is a lot of pressure to potentially put on a defense. We saw a little of this last year in Nobeoka Gakuen, but it can't the main calling card of the pitching staff. Well, it can, but it's very, very tough.
Nihon Bunri (Niigata)
RF Hoshi Kenta
SS Kurodai Naito
CF Kodachi Otowa
3B Ikeda Takamasa
1B Kawaguchi Tatsurou (#13)
2B Arai Makoto
LF Yamaguchi Naoki (#17)
C Kamakura Wataru
P Iidzuka Satoshi
SS Suzuki Daisuke
1B Kodama Daiki
CF Kudou Shun
LF Mizoguchi Yoshichika
3B Miyazawa Kazushige
C Mine Kouhei
P Fujishima Kento (#10)
2B Matsubara Matsunori
RF Okada Satoshi
10:23 - First Pitch!
Good start for Fujishima. After filling up the count, he blows a 143 fastball by Hoshi for the first out.
Kurodai though sends a ball back up the middle past a diving Matsubara for a base hit.
Clothing malfunction as Matsubara needs to have his belt replaced.
Fujishima gets contact, and good one at that.
For him. Kodachi grounds into the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning!
Iidzuka seeming better with his control. Suzuki with a weak comebacker to 1st. Kodama tries to sell the walk, but has to double back after being rung up.
And Kudou skies a ball in foul territory, Kamakura makes the catch for the out.
Nihon Bunri trying to make Fujishima throw strikes, and he's happily obliging.
Ikeda strikes out looking on a fastball outside...
Kawaguchi strikes out looking on a fastball outside...
Arai avoids the same fate, but grounds to short. When I said that he only struck out 2 it means there are pitches to hit. The operative word being hit.
One down, and Miyazawa gets Touhou in the hit column with a solid single through the left side. Ooi-kantoku goes for the hit-and-run, but all Mine can do is advance the runner to 2nd.
Fujishima can't help his own cause, hitting a grounder to the left side that Ikeda takes and throws for the out.
Yamaguchi springs the safety bunt! Miyazawa charges in, but by the time he gets it he has to eat it! Leadoff single for Nihon Bunri!
It's a pitchout and Yamaguchi was taking off! Throw to 2nd and he's caught in no-man's land! He's rundown for the 1st out!
After that the bottom of the lineup can't make solid contact, and Kamakura and Iidzuka are retired with little trouble.
Touhou's offense having a much harder time as Matsubara goes swinging on a forkball.
Okada with a routine grounder to 1st and Kawaguchi takes that himself.
And it's not until the 3rd that we see a walk from Iidzuka as Suzuki walks on 4 straight.
Kodama with a rip to the right side, but it's right at Arai who makes the pick and throw to 1st for the 3rd out.
Hoshi making better contact the 2nd time around though he lines out to Suzuki.
2 down, and Kodachi lines one to the left side! Miyazawa leaps, but it's off his glove and into left! Kodachi sees the slowed down ball and takes off for 2nd! Throw from Mizoguchi not in time!
But Ikeda can't pull the trigger again! Fujishima puts a ball down the middle for strike 3 and the side is retired!
Kudou with a ball to keft. Kobayashi coming in, now starts dashing in! But he's too late and the ball falls in! Kudou running all the way reaches 2nd on the blooper!
And now he walks Mizoguchi on 4 straight! If he wanted to set up the force, it doesn't work because Miyazawa lays down the bunt.
Huh, I have a hunch about the next batter. Iidzuka might unintentionally intentionally walk him.
Mine didn't get anything to hit at that AB, and yet, he swings away and strikes out!
Fujishima not getting anything in the zone, he ends up with a walk...AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!
The ball gets under Kamakura and to the backfence! The plan backfires as Kudou comes in to score! 1-0 Touhou!
Matsubara goes down on 3 straight, but the mistake by Kamakura fouls their strategy!
Kawaguchi not seeing the ball at all. He watches another ball paint the outside edge for strike 3. Ikeda and Kawaguchi are 0-4 with 4 K's looking.
Arai first pitch singles past the infield into left.
Yamaguchi swings and grounds into a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Okada tries the safety bunt, but Arai charges in, and undertosses to Kawaguchi to just get Okada.
Suzuki gets his first hit with a liner over Kurodai.
And he takes off for 2nd! Kamakura loses the ball and there's no throw!
Kodama with a liner to left, Kobayashi there, AHHH!!!
The ball bounces over Kobayashi and he has to scramble back! Suzuki scores and Kodama slides into 3rd! 2-0 Touhou on the error!
Kudou grounder to 3rd, it's a contact play! Ikeda goes home and they get Kodama for the out.
But now Kudou goes for 2nd! Throw from Kamakura not in time!
Iidzuka strikes out Mizoguchi to end the inning, but Touhou adds a key run as we hit the break! Fujishima is in full control right now while his offense is putting pressure on Iidzuka and the defense!
Kamakura with a ball to right center! The outfield is drawn in and Kudou has to chase it to the wall! He's in with a leadoff double!
Iidzuka not bunting! He inside-outs a ball to the left side and that's in for a base hit! Runners at the corners with no down!
Hoshi a ball the other way!! That's through the left side and Kamkura scores! It's now just a 2-1 lead!
Ooi-kantoku calls for the sac bunt and Kurodai obliges. Gyakuten runner in scoring position!
Kodachi playing the waiting game, and Fujishima can't put the ball in the zone! He walks him to load the bases! Morita-kantoku calling for time, but though the 4-5 batters for Nihon Bunri are coming up, both of them have done nothing but strike out looking.
Base hit through the left side!!!
Ikeda attacks the first pitch and singles past the drawn in infield! And the relay throw goes to no one and the runners advance another base! 3-2 Nihon Bunri!
And that's it for Fujishima. Ace Ooi comes into the game as Ooi-kantoku sent in #18 Araki to hit for Kawaguchi.
Araki with a grounder to 3rd. It's a contact play and Miyazawa goes home! Mine makes the tag and there's 2 down.
Arai fouls out to end the inning but damage has been done. 3 runs after the break and Nihon Bunri has the lead!
Araki stays in to play LF. Yamaguchi goes to CF and Kodachi goes to 1B.
One down for Touhou and Mine hits a ball just out of the reach of Kurodai into center.
Hit-and-run for Touhou, Ooi grounds to short, advancing the runner. But Matsubara grounds to 3rd, Ikeda makes the play and Mine is left stranded.
One down, Kamakura lightly plunked by a changeup.
Iidzuka not bunting, but goes down looking on the fastball outside.
Hoshi, though showing they can hit the other way gets his 2nd single through the gap.
Kurodai though can't quite get to the ball on the outside edge and goes down swinging. Not everyone apparently is quite able to yet.
Okada ball back up middle. Kurodai there to field and throw to 1st, 1 down.
Suzuki another grounder to Kurodai. He handles the scooting ball and throws to 1st, 2 dow.
Kodama ball into the gap in left! Kurodai springs and males the pick! Throw from the outfield grass.. not in time! Couldn't quite make the 3rd plat as Kodama dives into the bag.
Kodama takes off for 2nd! Kamakura's throw not nearly in time!
But Kudou hits a grounder back to Iidzuka! He fields it, tosses to 1st and the side is retired!
With Ooi in the game, Nihon Bunri's offense goes silent again. Iidzuka will have to make the 3 runs hold.
Touhou's offense appears to be pressing now. Ahead 2-0 Mizoguchi swings away and lines out right to Yamaguchi. Miyazawa ahead 2-1, skies a popup that Kodachi catches for the 2nd out.
Mine tries to work the count, at 2-2 he hits a routine fly to center and ends the inning!
Outside of a hit batter, the Bunri offense lies dormant.
#16 Hosoya to hit for Ooi. But he goes down swinging on a forkball. One down.
Matsubara hacking away, chases a slider outside and they're doing to their final out.
#15 Morishita the final chance for Touhou.
Trying to find a way on, he tries to work the count, but the count runs full...
Iidzuka blows a 143 fastball by him and Nihon Bunri holds on!