Sunday, March 22, 2015

Day 2, Game 3 - Okayama Ridai Fuzoku (Okayama) vs. Kisaradzu Sougou (Chiba)

And now to the final game of the 2nd day. There is a chance that this game too goes the way of all the other before it, but Hayakawa is on the hill and he has not given up a run since the fall. If that form is accurate, this could be another sleeper of a game.

Okayama Ridai Fuzoku (Okayama)
2B Ishihara Yoshiti
SS Morita Masahiro
CF Tachibana Kaito
1B Kangai Yuusuke
3B Tokuda Yukiya
RF Koga Tomoaki
LF Aoki Shunpei
C Fujii Yuugo
P Nishiyama Masaki

Kisaradzu Sougou (Chiba)
LF Kido Ryou
3B Ishii Ryou
CF Obara Naoki
SS Himura Atsushi
2B Koike Kazuki
1B Isogai Tomoya
RF Sasaki Shun
C Oosawa Shou
P Hawakawa Takahisa (#10)


14:45 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Well, Hayakawa doesn't throw any harder than the other pitchers we've seen, as Ishihara pokes a ball between Ishii and Himura for a base hit. Morita lays down a perfect bunt that Oosawa waits on in case it goes foul (it doesn't) before going to 1st with it.

Ridaifu appears to be on the verge of scoring when Tachibana moves him over to 3rd on a grounder to 1st, but Kangai quickly grounds to short. Himura bobbles it for a second, but still has plenty of time to make the throw for the 3rd out.

Bottom 1st
Nishiyama an average hurler speed wise, gets Kido to roll over a ball to short. Morita short hops the throw, but Kangai makes the dig for the out.

Sasaki exhibiting decent control so far, but is getting some help as Ishii chases a slider out of the zone. Obara gets jammed and he pops out to Morita to retire the side.

Top 2nd
It's hit and miss for the 2nd year ace as ahead of Tokui 0-2, he plunks him in the back. Koga successfully lays down the bunt to move him to 2nd.

Hey, the Ridaifu band is playing the cheer from Komadai Tomakomai I remember from 2006!

Anyways, like the first inning Aoki moves the runner to 3rd with a groundball to 1st.

And there it is! Fujii attacks the first pitch and lines one to left for a base hit! It's 1-0 Okayama Ridai Fuzoku and that's Hayakawa's first run given up in tournament competition since at least the fall!

Hayakawa gets out of the inning by jamming Nishiyama on a changeup inside, but Ridaifu takes the early advantage.

Bottom 2nd
One down for Kisaradzu, and Nishiyama leaves a ball over for Koike who lines it to left for their first hit of the game. Isogai is not bunting, instead Gojima-kantoku elects for the hit-and-run, which Isogai obliges with a ball just under Morita's glove to center! Runners at the corners with one down, and Kisaradzu threatends to tie the game.

Gojima-kantoku calls for another hit-and-run! But this time Sasaki strikes out swinging! Fujii fires to 2nd... and Morita makes the tag for the out! It's a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play to end the inning! Like the aggressiveness, but perhaps not needed there.

Top 3rd
Still haven't figured out what makes Hayakawa so special that he didn't give up a run in the fall. Only thing I can think of is that not only is he not afraid to throw inside, his motion from the left side of the rubber to the right means that he can get inside for a strike.

That proves to be perhaps the case as after a flyout from Ishihara, Morita goes down looking on a pitch inside, and Tachibana goes down swinging on the same.

Bottom 3rd
Nishiyama isn't bad on the mound either. He generally around the strike zone, and mixed in his 2-seam and 4-seam fastballs to mix things up.Oosawa and Hayakawa both are retired quickly.

But Nishiyama leaves one up and Kido hits it to right. Koga comes charging in, dives... but it bounces in front of him and goes behind! Tachibana goes to cover, but not before Kido is in with a triple!


Well, that's the second time that's happened as Nishiyama's pitch goes off of Ishii's helmet. Thankfully, it's a glancing blow and he seems fine, but the home plate umpire insists on a injury pinch runner.

Obara hits a ball to center! Tachibana charging in, but can't get to it! The sellout from Koga costs them as Kido scores to tie the game at 1-1!


Himura connects on a frisbee thrown by Nishiyama and drills it to left! Aoki starts to chase, but he gives up!


That was an absolute no-doubter of a HR. Himura drives in 3 with that blast and blows open the game at 4-1!

Things perhaps may be getting out of control for Nishiyama as he walks Koike, but he comes back to paint the outside corner on Isogai to end the inning. But the Kanto runner-up looks a lot more healthier now.

Top 4th
But Hayakawa goes a bit too inside again, and hits Kangai to start the inning. And then with one down, he winds up walking Koga and Gojima-kantoku scrambles the bullpen.

And that might need to come faster as Aoki zooms a ball past a diving Isogai into right! Kangai has to stop at 3rd, but it's manrui for Ridaifu!

Fujii hits a ball to the left side, Kido runs over, and makes a difficult catch in foul territory! That allows Kangai to come in to score making it a 4-2 game.

Nishiyama golfs a ball into the air and Himura secures it for the 3rd out. Ridaifu at least got 1, but had an opportunity for more.

Bottom 4th
Now that I notice it though I wonder if Nishiyama is all decent. He almost threw at Sasaki twice to start the inning, and in both cases he was practicing his throwing motion. He eventually strikes out Sasaki looking on a slider away.

Again he leaves a ball up in the zone, but this time Oosawa hits it to center where Tachibana can run it down.

Hayakawa grounds out to short to end the inning, and Nishiyama records a most needed donut.

Top 5th
Ishihara looking to get things started for Ridafu drops a liner in front of Kido for a base hit. Hayakawa-kantoku elects to have Ishihara steal 2nd instead of a bunt, but Oosawa gets the throw in to 2nd and they gun him down!

And that's a shame because after Morita lines out to deep left, Tachibana singles to center. Might not have scored Ishihara, but they'd at least have a runner on 3rd.

Kangai grounds out to short and that quickly ends things.

Bottom 5th
Meanwhile Nishiyama seems to be back in the swing of things. He sandwiches a strikeout within two groundouts, and it's an 8 pitch inning against the top of the Kisaradzu order. Kisaradzu Sougou holds a 4-2 lead that looks safe for now, but the Ridaifu offense are making good contact on the junior pitcher.

Top 6th
Hayakawa certainly having some trouble with his control at times, as he issues a 1-out walk to Koga.

And now he hangs one to Aoki! He drives it to right center., but Obara makes a sliding catch on his knees!  Now that's a great play.

But once again, the bugaboo of the walk reveals itself again. Hayakawa goes full on Fujii and walks him too. That gets ace Sasaki warming up on the sidelines.

Nishiyama with a ball to the right side, and that's through for a base hit! Koga is going home and the throw is cutoff! Nishiyama helps his own cause and it's a 4-3 ballgame!!

Ishihara with a ripper right to 3rd! Ishii blocks it, scrambles... throws to 2nd.... OUT!!!!

Ishii just gets the throw to 2nd in time for the force and the side is retired! But now we actually have a ballgame!!

Bottom 6th
Just when you think that maybe Ridaifu is back in it, Nishiyama walks Himura on 4 straight. Koike bunts him along to try and tack on an insurance run.

Nishiyama fights back, twisting Isogai around on a fastball inside... and then hits Sasaki on the next pitch.

But just as quickly, the inning ends as Oosawa grounds out to 3rd on the next pitch.

Top 7th
Not sure if some desperation is setting in because the Ridaifu batters are taking their hacks. Morita hits a fly to right, Tachibana goes after the first pitch and grounds to short. And Kangai swings on a pitch in the dirt for the 3rd out. They're going to have to look better than that at the plate to have a chance to tie the game.

Bottom 7th
Hayakawa checks in with his first base hit to the left side. Gojima-kantoku figures it's a good time to pull him and #15 Yashiro enters the game to run for him.

Kido tries to lay down the bunt, and it's not a bad one, but Nishiyama gets on the ball quickly and fires to 2nd getting the force! They can't turn the double play, but they cut down the lead runner.

Gojima-kantoku isn't fazed! He starts the hit-and-run, and Ishii goes down and pokes a ball through the left side! And unfortunately for Ridaifu, the ball hits the lip of the outfield and takes a high bounce! That allows Kido to take 3rd ahead of the throw! Hayakawa-kantoku calls for time.

With Himura on deck, Nishiyama would  like a double play, but Ishii times his jump on the right pitch and takes 2nd without a throw! Worse yet, he loses Koike to a walk and there's nowhere to put Himura!!

After a ball, Oosawa goes out to the mound. Hayakawa-kantoku decides to make a conference out of it.

It's another ball to Himura. Are they considering walking him? Well, they continue to go after the outside corner, and it doesn't work! He walks Himura and it's 5-3 Kisaradzu Sougou!

Hayakawa-kantoku mercifully pulls the plug. #11 Ookuma comes in to relieve Nishiyama who I think got too spooked to face Himura and it cost his team at least a run.

And now it's more. Koike with a clean single to center scores 2 and it's a 7-3 advantage. Isogai chimes in with a single of his own, scoring another to make it 8-3.

Ookuma eventually gets out of the inning thereafter, but the damage has been more than done.

Top 8th
PH Yashiro actually stays in the game at RF, and ace Suzuki comes in for RF Sasaki.

Suzuki is a side-armer who throws about the same as everyone else, it would appear. He climbs the ladder on Tokuda for the 1st out, but then winds up walking Koga (his 3rd time). Then after inducing a popup, he hangs one over for Fujii and he singles through the right side.

That would bring up Ookuma, but instead Hayakawa-kantoku sends in #17 Fukumoto to hit, and he draws a walk, and suddenly it's manrui for Ridaifu! Fortunately all they need is 1 out, but the top of the order is up.

Suzuki falls behind Ishihara 2-0, but quickly gets the count level.

And he jams him! Ishihara dribbles a ball back to the mound and Suzuki records the out at 1st to retire the side! Certainly some hiccups there, but no damage done in the end.

Bottom 8th
So Tokui comes in from 3B to take over on the mound with #16 Munemitsu coming in for PH Fukumoto to take over at 3B.

Yashiro immediately tests the new 3B with a safety bunt, and Munemitsu finds himself too far away. He still makes the attempt to throw at 1B, but it's much too late. Fortunately, while the runner would eventually advance to 3rd, he would be left stranded.

Top 9th
And so once again it seems more like a formality than something competitive. Okayama Ridai Fuzoku feels that too and quickly records their 3 outs to end the game.

And what seemed like a promising game ends up like all the others. But it wasn't like Kisaradzu Sougyou was the better team throughout, Okayama Ridai Fuzoku was able to chip at the lead. But then they allowed a second big inning, and that was that. As for a verdict on Hayakawa, he seems more than serviceable enough. He's not an ace by any stretch of the imagination, but he's not terrible either. His delivery will help quite a bit in being effective, but the walks and HBP are going to be a problem.

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