Monday, August 18, 2014

Day 8, Game 4 - Rifu (Miyagi) v. Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

Last up is one of the last Kanto representative in Kendai Takasaki facing Tohoku representative Rifu out of Miyagi.

Kendai Takasaki went back to their calling card that worked so well for them a couple of years ago.  Speed.

They would be aggressive on the basepaths and at the plate, continuously putting pressure on Iwakuni until they finally took the lead for good in the 5th.

What helps is ace Takahashi who came in relief and fired 7 strong innings striking out 9 while giving up just 2 hits and walking 1.

Rifu for most of the game was struggling against Saga Kita, scoring runs thanks to some defensive errors in the 5th, and then a timely hit by Manjyoume in the 6th.  But otherwise, the offense was ineffective, and the pitching behind ace Nasuno was average at best.  And against this Kendai squad, that might be a problem.

Rifu (Miyagi)
LF Manjyoume Kouta
CF Ueno Mikio
2B Hamada Keita
1B Seto Miki
C Ono Keita
RF Takeuchi Mikiya
3B Suzuki Yuuto
P Nasuno Seiya
SS Katsuramaki Kouta

Takasaki Kenkoudai Fukushi (Gunma)
CF Hirayama Takayuki
2B Hoshino Yuusuke
RF Wakimoto Naoto
1B Nagashima Ryouhei
C Tsuge Sena
LF Yamagami Takashi
3B Shibahiki Ryousuke (#15)
SS Yokomizo Takuto
P Kawai Tomoya (#11)


15:20 - First Pitch

Top 1st
Rifu's offensive struggles continue as Manjyoume and Ueno hit weak grounders for the first two outs. Hamada puts a 2-out single to left, but Seto flies out to right to end the inning.

Bottom 1st
Nasuno will have to his best to prevent runners from reaching base as that's when Kendai does their work.

Of course, with one down he walks Hoshino...

And so it begins... Hoshino takes off for 2nd, ball in dirt, no throw.

Wakimoto does his best to get on base by any means, works the count full and fouls off any close pitches.

He is completely jammed, but he hits a small looper over Nasuno! Hamada charges to the ball, but his only play is to try and fire to 3rd!

Kokuta-kantoku calling for time as it's like they didn't see this coming.

Wakimoto takes off for 2nd, throw cut off in case of double steal.

Nagashima fly to left, easily scores Hoshino. 1-0 Kendai Takasaki.

And guess what... Wakimoto steals 3rd without a throw.

Tsuge liner over Seto's outstretched glove! Wakimoto can stroll home as Tsuge has a double! 2-0 Kendai!

Tsuge steals 3rd and the throw is late.  That's 4 stolen bases, and 2 steals of 3rd!

Yamagami with a drive over Manjyoume to the wall in left! Tsuge scores and it's 3-0! I'm laughing my ass off right now at how they're running circles around Rifu.

Shibahiki grounds to short to end the inning, but I think Rifu's learned the lesson that they needed to have kept the runners off the bases.

Top 2nd
Takeuchi hits a single to left with one down, and having to manufacture it the normal way, Kokuta-kantoku has Suzuki bunt the runner along.

Nasuno with a base hit back up the middle!  Takeuchi being waved home!  Throw from Hirayama cut off by Kawai, relay home...

OUT!!!! Tsuge with the block of the plate and the swipe tag and Rifu is denied at home!

Bottom 2nd
Even the outs are close. Yokomizo makes Suzuki rush his throw, though they make the play.

Two down, Hirayama hits a ball up the middle.  Yokomizo has to rush his throw and it short hops Nagashima! It's a hustle single!

Hirayama takes off for 2nd, throw late!

He takes off for 3rd, throw... not in time!  That's 6 steals now for Kendai!

Hoshino though can't get him in as he grounds to 1st for the 3rd out.

Top 3rd
Katsuramaki with a single back up the middle to leadoff the frame.

Manjyoume not bunting, and works the count full.

But he grounds to 2nd and Hoshino can go to 2nd to cut down the lead runner.

Ueno unable to bunt with one out winds up watching a slider over the plate for the 2nd out.

And Hamada makes good contact, but it's a liner right to Takeuchi for the 3rd out.

Bottom 3rd
Wakimoto with a drive to right!  Takeuchi having to turn tail, sees it hit the base of the wall!  He's in with a double!

Nagashima bunts him over to 3rd instead of a steal this time around. Perhaps saving energy for the RF?


Aoyaki-kantoku tries the squeeze, but Tsuge hast to lay out just to foul it off.

No matter!  With 2 strikes Tsuge just gets an old fashioned base hit through the left side to score Wakimoto! 4-0!

Yamagami fooled, but just points the bat at the ball!  It's just out of the reach of Hamada and into right! Tsuge might as well just be given 3rd.


But Shibahiki fouls it off!  No go there. (Wait, they're playing Haisai Oji-san in the ouen-dan?!!)

Groudner to short! Goes to 2nd for one, NO! He's off the bag!  Throw to 1st... NO! The throw pulls Seto off the bag!

Oh wow, Rifu is all messed up.

Yokomizo grounder to 2nd, throw home... Yamagami slides... but he misses the base!  Ono tags him and he's out! Not sure, and I don't have an angle for it.

Kawai grounds out to 3rd to end the inning, but Rifu should be fortunate to have given up only 2 that frame.

Top 4th
Well, that's a concern.  Kawai walks Seto on 4 straight, and then after a sac bunt, he walks Takeuchi on 4 straight!  Ace Takahashi warming up in the bullpen.

But Kawai gets Suzuki to hit a lazy fly to left.  And then Yamauchi grounds to 1st.  Nagashima makes the tag and the side is retired!

Bottom 4th
One down, Hoshino gets hit by Yamauchi.

Rifu still affected by the speed of Kendai. Wakimoto grounds to 1st, Seto want to turn 2, but rushes and bobbles the ball!  He has to go to 1st for the out.

Nagashima almost pokes a ball down the left field line, but it falls just foul.

Instead, it's a clean single to right and Hoshino can waltz home to a 6-0 lead!

Tsuge grounds to 3rd, and it's better for Suzuki to go the short way to 2nd for the out.  3 out, change!

Top 5th
And the more pressure Kendai puts on Rifu on defense, they have to somehow score runs on offense that they're just don't appear capable of doing.

Katsuramaki hits a chopper that Kawai snags and goes to 1st for the 1st out.

Manjyoume meanwhile gets fooled on a slider up and in for the 2nd out.

And though Ueno draws a walk, Hamada merely grounds into a fielder's choice at short to end the inning.

Bottom 5th
One down, Shibahiki grounder to left side.  Katsuramaki makes diving catch, rushes throw to 1st but Shibahiki not even close to the bag! The throw is offline and he's on safely!  Haha, the speed is totally in RIfu's heads!

Yokomizo with the sac bunt, but Seto and Hamada are near 1st and neither knows who's taking the bag! Hamada does, but the throw pulls him off!

#5 Nakasuji comes in to hit for Kawai but grounds into a 6-4-3 double play.  That's rare.

So, needless to say Rifu is totally in stun mode and has no idea how to combat Kendai.

Top 6th
Rifu goes down in order. The offense that struggled last game is having less luck today.

Bottom 6th
Defensive change as #13 Inomata in for Seto to play 1B.

Hirayama grounder to right side, Inomata can't get it, Hamada does in the outfield grass, fires to Yamauchi for the out, just.

Hoshino tries to take 2nd, but with a lefty, can't get the same jump.  Ono fires to 2nd and they just get him for the out.

They're showing the record for steals at 13 by Tosa. With a lefty on the mound and a big lead, I don't know how much they'll be trying it.

Wakimoto walks, so we'll find out.

He finally takes off on the 1-1 pitch and the throw is offline! 10 total.

A pitch goes off Ono's glove and Wakimoto takes 3rd.

And after Yamauchi walks Nagashima, Kokuta-kantoku makes a change.  #11 Watanabe enters for Inomata and takes the hill. Yamauchi goes to 1B.

Tsuge with about as free a swing as you'll see splits the defense in left center.  Wakimoto and Nagashima score easily and it's 8-0

Seriously, Rifu needs a white flag.

Yamagami gives it to them with a flyout to center to end the inning.

Top 7th
Suzuki with a liner to left for a leadoff single.  #15 Takahashi comes in to run for him.

AH! And he gets picked off!  That just adds insult to injury.

The side gets retired in order after that and Rifu can't even buy a run at this point.

Bottom 7th
Shibahiki drive to center, Ueno running back, running back... makes the catch!  Nice scramble there by Ueno!

Ah, but Watanabe hits Yokomizo.

Kendai will go to their next pitcher as #17 Kinjyou will hit for Takahashi.

Liner to center, Ueno charges... makes the shoestring catch!  Yokomizo running on play and he's doubled off easily to end the inning!

Top 8th
#18 Ishige enters the game for PH Kinjyou and takes the hill.  He retires the first 2 batters before Watanabe bloops one into right for a base hit.

But just 1 pitch later Ono grounds into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Bottom 8th
#14 Oyama comes in for Takahashi to get work in at 3B.

Wakimoto collects his 3rd base hit with 2 down, lining a ball past Watanabe into center.

Wakimoto steals his 4th base, and 11th for the team.

Nagashima goes down on a ball away and drive it to deep left center.  What?!  They have power too?  He's in with a triple!  9-0 Kendai!

And now there's a full battery change.  #17 Kikuchi in for Watanabe, and #12 Gotou in for Ono.

Tsuge with one last indignity singles the first pitch into center to score the 10th run.  10-0.

Tsuge gets thrown out and for Rifu, the nightmare game is almost over.

Top 9th
#16 Mochida comes in for Yamagami to play LF, #14 Hayashi comes in for Shibahiki to play 3B, and #10 Matsuno comes in for Ishige to finish the game.

Kokuta-kantoku finished emptying the bench for Rifu.  Hayashi hits for Takeuchi and grounds out to 2nd.  And with 2 down #16 Abe hits for Yamauchi and grounds to short to end the game.

This was an utter dismantling of a team if I've ever seen one.  It's one thing to just be dominant like say Seiryou over Kanoya Chuo.  It's another to get into a team's head, break their spirit, and then crush it even more.

That's what Kendai did. They had Rifu paranoid about every play on defense.  And that carried over to their already ineffective offense. Does it hurt? Of course it does. To be dominated on offense, you just shrug your shoulders and say what can you do. But when it is made so apparent, so raw... when it questions your ability as a team. That's what hurts. Kokuta-kantoku will have some work to do with some of his starters who will return for next year.

For Kendai Takasaki this is probably a statement game because back in 2011, they strayed from this strategy for 1 game and that was the game they lost. They're out to show they've learned from their mistakes and will not give in next time.


JH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JH said...

Wow wow (from Kendai Takasaki anthem) Although I am rooting for Rifu, I am also fascinated by Kendai Takasaki's speed baseball.

Double steal, fake bunt, double steal again, steal, on and on..... This may be called the apex of kokoyakyu blitzkrieg.