Well, two games, two blowouts so far. The third game does not necessarily have promise either as Yonago Kita looks up against it versus Jyousou Gakuin. Let's see if the underdog can pull one out before the end of opening day.
15:43 - First Pitch!
Ace Takahashi takes the mound for Yonago Kita, this despite only having 8.1 innings of work during the super-regionals.
Takahashi having trouble with his control early, falls behind Ugusa 3-0 before finally throwing a strike. He throws another one and Ugusa shoots it past a lunging Nakagawa into left.
Takahashi's pickoff move is so slow, they try the hit and run 3 times. Takeuchi strikes out, but Ugusa has no trouble reaching 2nd.
Takahashi has no trouble though getting Ishii to fly out to right, and the leadoff runner doesn't hurt the team.
Ida with a solid liner to right to give the kids from Tottori a leadoff runner.
Kodera goes for the hit and run! It's right to short, but he airmails the throw to 2nd! All safe!
Now with 2 runners on, Mishima lays down a beauty of a bunt. Almost beats it out, but still does the job and brings up cleanup batter Yasuba.
But perhaps nerves set in because he goes after a ball way outside and is down swinging for the 2nd out.
Nakagawa, on the other hand, is patient on the balls inside, and draw a walk to load the bases.
But as quickly as they went from impatient to patient, they went impatient again. Sakaguchi swings on the first pitch and grounds right to 1st. Ishii flips to Suzuki and he gets himself out of the pinch.
Takahashi puts one right on a platter and Arahara just takes it straight out to right for a leadoff HR. 1-0 Jyousou Gakuin.
Uh oh. 1 down and Suzuki singles to right.
And now Takahashi with control issues walks Minagami and he risks losing it here in the 2nd.
Shimizu a liner to right. Yasuba runs it down, but Suzuki advances to 3rd.
Ugusa though swings and misses on a changeup to end the inning. Just the HR hurts Yonago Kita here early on.
Meanwhile there isn't much to say about Yonago at bat. Suzuki needs just 7 pitches to retire the bottom of the order.
Takeuchi with a routine grounder to short, but Nakagawa airmails the throw into the camera well! Takeuchi takes 2nd and Jyousou threatens again.
Wada is issued a walk, perhaps to at least create the force, but that's wiped out when Ishii puts down the three bunt successfully.
With first base open and Arahara up to bat they can walk him if they need to, but Takahashi almost leaves one in the zone again. After that, it's a high and tight one to load the bases for Takase.
Takahashi trying to weave around the edges of the zone to get Takase out, but Takase patiently runs the count full.
Takahashi perhaps getting some help from Hayashi on the frame, but he strikes out Takase looking!
And right when you thought they might get out with no damage, Takahashi spikes a changeup and Hayashi can't block it! Takeuchi comes home and it's 2-0 Jyousou!
Suzuki looks really silly so far in front of a changeup, but for now it's okay as Yonago Kita has given them another run.
Ida the only one getting hits for Yonago so far, he takes one off the end of the bat into center for base hit.
...and then gets caught flat-footed on a pickoff move. Oy.
Meanwhile, the next two batters look pretty lost at the plate, perhaps just swinging hoping to make contact. Kodera grounds to short, while Mishima just waves at pitch after pitch. 3 up, 3 down.
This is just bizarre, Minakami goes down swinging for Takahashi's 6th K, yet he's given up 3 hits, 3 walks and 2 runs.
2 down in the inning, and Ugusa is fooled on a changeup, but keeps the bat in the zone just long enough to poke it into center for a base hit... and then promptly steals 2nd.
Takeuchi grounder to 2nd, AHHHHHH!!!
It goes 5-hole on Kodera and into right! Ugusa scores and it's 3-0 now in favor of Jyousou Gakuin.
Now Takeuchi steals 2nd, and this time without a throw!
And he takes off for 3rd on the next pitch! Hayashi fires over, but Takeuchi just beats out the throw. They're just running roughshot over Takahashi's delivery.
And after he walks Wada for the 2nd time, time is called as they scramble the bullpen.
Ishii plans to do damage while they can and hits a clean single to left to score Takeuchi and make it a 4-0 game.
And now both runners take off and Hayashi has no throw. They're just giving up free bases like candy, much to their detriment. About the only good thing is that with first open, walking Arahara isn't a bad thing.
Thankfully, Takase is just as lost at the plate as the rest of the Yonago team. He strikes out looking for the 2nd time, and it's his 3rd overall. The bases are left loaded, but the lead is doubled for Jyousou Gakuin.
Very little to report. Suzuki racks up 2 more cheap Ks in his 3rd consecutive 1-2-3 inning.
Takahashi perhaps nibbled a bit too much after getting ahead of Suzuki and winds up losing him to a leadoff walk.
Takahashi throws a 54 foot changeup that Hayashi can't block and Suzuki takes 2nd. After a Minakami bunt, Takahashi's K of Shimizu hinted perhaps the inning would go without a run scored, but control issues returned and another wild pitch plates another run to make it 5-0 before he finally got Takeuchi to pop out.
Hayashi is finally the first batter not named Ida who has a base hit as he singles to right. With a runner on 1st and now out, They elect to play for 1. Yagura bunts him over to get 2 cracks at scoring a run.
Takahashi can't do anything as he grounds out to short.
But Ida hits a ball to right, and that's in for a single! Hayashi is being waved home, and the relay comes in... and Hayashi is out at home to end the inning.
Right out of the break and Jyousou greets Takahashi the same way they did to start the game. This time it's Wada who booms a ball to left for a solo HR and a 6-0 lead.
After he yields a triple to Ishii, Takahashi is finally put ouf of his misery. #11 Fukumoto comes in to take the hill.
And perhaps it's just a new pitcher, but Fukumoto records the final 3 outs.
Mishima checks in with a 1-out base hit of his own, but like the other innings, the offense cannot string together hits to create a run.Yasuba pops out and Nakagawa stirkes out.
I'm running into technical difficulties again. will have a summary out when I can.
So the top of the 7th went without much fanfare, much to the relief of Yonago's pitching staff.
Unfortunately, with the exception of a 2-out single by Yagura, their side was just as quiet.
This is where I got back my connection, and right in the middle when things were getting out of hand. There's really no need to get into the gory details, but after 5 of the first 6 batters reached via base hit and 2 came in to score, Fukumoto was replaced by #11 Uegai.
Which didn't really help because he would give up 2 more base hits and a double steal of home would tack on several more runs. By the time the carnage was over, it was 12-0.
With the game well in hand, Jyousou would go to their bullpen and get #11 Sugawara. Also #15 Ara would take over for Shimizu at 3B.
Perhaps it was mercy they were showing them by doing so because Ida would slice a liner down the left field line for a double. After that Kodera would drive a ball to left center, splitting the defense and allowing Ida to score, breaking the shutout at 12-1.
Sadly however, the 3-4-5 batters would remain hitless as they would go down in order.
Jyousou Gakuin would continue to pour on the runs, forcing out Uegai and putting #18 Kogano into service. He'd give up a double which would score the 2 inherited runners and make it a 14-1 game before he shut the door on their scoring.
Jyousou almost empties their bench for the final 3 outs, leaving just 2 in reserve.
New P #10 Kashimura after recording the first two outs, went awry walking one and hitting 2 to load the bases.Mishima though would strike out to end the game.
And so the first day ends, much to chalk really, but in rather unfulfilling ways because yes, the teams that lost were not as good, but it still sucks to lose that way. And all 3 teams today had some form of that. While I need to finally get some shut eye, here's to hoping tomorrow's games are better than today's.