Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day 4, Game 1 - Eimei (Kagawa) vs. Oomagari Kougyou (Akita)

All right, Day 3 ended with a great game, and maybe things are rounding into form. Unlike yesterday's games, today we have schools that may be considered in the middle of the pack or well... less. That doesn't mean we'll have non-competitive games though. Just know that these schools probably will have a hard time making a deep run.

First up today is the Shikoku champions Eimei versus the Tohoku runner-ups Oomagari Kougyou. While schools from both regions have already taken the field (and won), it still doesn't quite project to these schools. For Eimei, Imabari Nishi faced a 21st century team and was a blowout. For Oomagari Kougyou, while they got blown out by Sendai Ikuei, it was against their secondary pitchers and they managed 4 runs on 11 hits.

So really, we don't know anything more than we knew coming in. What we do know right now is that:

  1. Akita is generally weak, and while Oomagari Kougyou is here, they still need to overcome that, and
  2. Shikoku profiled as really weak this year and Eimei's numbers don't help their case.
This puts the game a bit in the air as to who is favored. Given the region's performances so far the advantage goes to Oomagari Kougyou, but there would be no confidence in that.

Eimei (Kagawa)
CF Sakai Yuushi
RF Euhara Kai
SS Moriyama Kaiki
3B Minato Akinobu
1B Tomida Shouki
C Yamagami Kazunobu
LF Zushi Yuuto
2B Hashimoto Shunsuke
P Tanaka Kanta

Oomagari Kougyou (Akita)
RF Sasaki Shunichi
SS Akagawa Shun
2B Nakano Seiya
P Takeda Ryuusei
RF Nakamura Kazuki
LF Morisawa Kouyou (#17)
1B Okamoto Shuuma
3B Horie Jyou (#14)
C Suzuki Tairi


09:00 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Sakai chases after a low curve and hits a dribbler back to Takeda.

In fact, Eimei's batters seem to be not reading the balls well as Uehara kind of does the same grounding to 1st for the 2nd out.

Moriyama chases a high fastball and hits it to left. Morisawa goes towards the foul line.. and it drops in! Moriyama takes note and books it to 2nd! Throw from Morisawa is not in time! 2 out double for Eimei.

Minato with a ball to the left side... it's through Akagawa for a base hit! Moriyama stumbles on his way home, but the throw is offline! Moriyama scores and Eimei has the 1-0 lead!

Tomida with another grounder to the left side, but Akagawa has this one! Goes to first to retire the side, but Eimei takes the quick lead.

Bottom 1st
Shunichi takes some good hacks at Tanaka's fastball, but goes down on the slider. Akagawa too makes decent contact (foul), but Tanaka wins that battle with a changeup that Akagawa grimaces over as he realizes he's way too early.

Nakano finally puts the ball in play, but it's a slow dribbler to 3rd. Minato waits there and throws to 1st for the 3rd out.

Top 2nd
There's nothing special about Takeda really, he's just able to hit his spots. Yamagami golfs an offering to left and Morisawa can mozy over for the catch.

Zushi can't seem to get his timing down, though he does make good contact. Takeda puts him away with a forkball for his 1st K of the game.

And Hashimoto is jammed, popping out to Nakano behind 2nd for the 3rd out.

Bottom 2nd
Takeda trying to help his own cause, gets ahead 3-1, but winds up grounding out to Horie.

Eimei's Tanaka is about the same way too. Nothing really special about him either, as he gets Nakamura to chase the high cheese.

Morisawa fares no better, getting jammed himself. Tanaka moves to his right to jab and field the ball, and makes the play at 1st to end the inning.

Top 3rd
Takeda gets a quick K from his counterpart as he chases the high fastball.

Sakai makes a long AB against Takeda, fouling off several pitches. But he leaves one in the park and Morisawa is there to make the catch near the bullpen.

Uehara grounds out to 3rd and this game feels like it's whizzing by.

Bottom 3rd
Meanwhile on Oomagari's side, they're having a hard time dealing with Tanaka. The decent contact they're putting foul they can't do in fair territory. Okamoto hits a routine grounder, Horie can't make contact on a fastball outside, and Suzuki gets a ball right in the zone, but flies out to right.

Top 4th
Takeda hangs a curve to Moriyama! Shunichi running back, leaps, but it's over his head! Moriyama hustles into 2nd with a leadoff double and Eimei looks to play add on.Minato lays down the bunt and while Okamoto crashed in he goes to 1st.

Tomida can't bring the run home! He hits a grounder to the left side and that allows Horie to check the runner.

Ah, and now Takeda hits Yamagami! He's almost out of the jam, but now has 2 runners on.

And now Zushi works a walk! It's manrui for Eimei and they can open the game up with one swing!

Hashimoto takes that swing and hits it to left! But Morisawa is right there to make the catch to retire the side!

Bottom 4th
And there's Oomagari's first hit! Shunichi take the first pitch and singles to left!

Akagawa looks to bunt him along, but Tanaka keeps the pitches low and Akagawa strikes out when he tries to three bunt! That's poor execution on their part as they desperately try to muster any offense.

And now Yamagami has Shunichi cought in no-mans land! He's run down 2-3-4-3 and now Oomagari has nothing! That's a shame because Nakano soon after singles through the left side. The inning ends thereafter as Takeda grounds to 3rd. Oomagari gets some baserunners, but they make a mess of it on the basepaths.

Top 5th
Tanaka with a fly to shallow center, Shunichi coming over, and they let that one drop! Tanaka is in with a base hit! It looks like the fielders have orders to not sell out for a ball. Kagawa-kantoku has Sakai bunt him over.

Uehara is jammed by Takeda and he pops it up. Nakano camps under it for the 2nd out.

And Takeda gets out of the jam! Moriyama gets under a ball and hits a fly to left for the 3rd out. Eimei easily having the better of it offensively, but can't muster any runs.

Bottom 5th
Nakamura can't get the offense going as he hits a soft liner to Moriyama at short.

Morisawa chases the slider away for out number 2, and Okamoto is way out in front of a changeup, and grounds to 1st to end the inning. We hit the break with Eimei leading 1-0, but it really feels like more than that because of Oomagari Kougyou's struggles at the plate.

Top 6th
Takeda still hitting his spots for the most part, but Eimei is putting the ball into play. Minato flies out to center, Tomida hits the ball hard, but right at Okamoto for the 2nd out.

And Yamagami swings on the first pitch and hits a routine fly to center, and it's a welcome quick inning for Oomagari Kougyou.

Bottom 6th
Horie right off the bat hits a liner to left for a base hit! Taira immediately bunts the runner over into scoring position.

Shunichi with a ball to left... that's in for a base hit! Zushi has to run it down, and Horie is being waved around! Douten!! Oomagari Kougyou with as many hits this inning as in the first 5 and we're tied at 1-1!!

Abe-kantoku calls for another bunt, but Akagawa puts it right back to Tanaka! He goes to 2nd for one, throw to 1st... safe!! Akagawa hustles down the line to prevent the double play.

Nakano with a single to center! Where is this barrage coming from??!!

Takeda with a ball to center.. that's in for a base hit! They're waving Akagawa home! Throw from Sakai is over everything!!! Oomagari Kougyou takes the 2-1 lead and now there's runners on 2nd and 3rd!!

Abe-kantoku has some instructions for Nakamura as he steps in.

But he ends up going on a ball way outside (even the catcher wasn't even behind home plate anymore!), and the side is retired. Out of nowhere though Oomagari Kougyou pounds out 4 hits and takes the lead!!

Top 7th
Eimei will  need something here in the lucky 7, but all they can seem to do is uppercut Takeda's pitches. Zushi and Hashimoto both fly out to center.

Tanaka skies a ball too, but neither Akagawa or Morisawa can get to it and it's another blooper for Tanaka.

And Sakai makes better contact, but he's still under it and Shunichi makes all 3 putouts! Eimei has the timing right, but just can't make solid contact. If they can righten that part of the ship Oomagari could be in trouble.

Bottom 7th
Tanaka is really buckling down now. He sends Morisawa down on a changeup, and Okamoto on a well placed fastball.

Horie with a grounder to 3rd, Minato fires to 1st - and Tomida can't make the pick on the short hop! Its' a base hit and the inning keeps going!


Abe-kantoku sends Horie in motion and Taira hits a ball to left for a basehit! Zushi throws the ball to no one in particular and Tairo takes 2nd!! Runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 down for the man of the hour Shunichi!

Grounder to 3rd.. it's off Minato's glove and takes a high bounce into left! Zushi rushes in as Taira is being waved around! There will be no throw home! Both runners score and it's 4-1 Oomagari Kougyou!

Tanaka finally ends the inning striking out Akagawa on an outside fastball, but Oomagari Kougyou extends their lead!

Top 8th
Eimei pressing big time now. Takeda throwing strikes and Eimei has to swing away. Uehara chases a slider in the dirt for the 1st out. Moriyama goes after a forkball in the dirt and that's back-to-back strikeouts.

And now #13 Nakano comes in to hit for cleanup batter Minato! Things must be dire. And all he can do is hit a comebacker to Takeda! 3 outs!

Bottom 8th
Nakano stays in the game to play 3B.

Oomagari Kougyou more than happy to get their hacks in now that they're up. Nakano and Takeda are both retired before Nakamura hits a ball to deep left. Zushi, who has had problems all game, can't run it down! Nakamura's in with a double!

And now Tanaka walks his first batter in Morisawa! Are the wheels falling off?

Okamoto swith a swinging bunt! Tanaka scrambles to throw to 1st.. and Tomida can't secure the ball! Manrui for Oomagari Kougyou!
Tanaka falls behind 3-1 to Horie with nowhere to put him! Horie give the ball a rip, but hits it foul! It's zero-hour now!


Tanaka sells out with the cutball and Horie bites! Tanaka prevents more damage, but they're down 3 with just 3 outs to go!

Top 9th
Tomida working the count, faces Takeda who refuses to give in! He goes inside yet again and Tomida flies out to left!

And Yamagami with a regretful swing, goes after the curve low and strikes out for the 2nd out! Oomagari Kougyou just 1 out away!

And despite Rookies playing in the background PH Takahashi hits it back to Takeda! He goes to 1st and the Tohoku runners-up and first timers defeat the Shikoku champs 4-1!!

Well, that was refreshing! Akita has never really been known as a powerhouse for baseball, and yet here's Oomagari Kougyou who got all the way to the Tohoku finals, and now have defeated a super-regional champion! It took until the 2nd half of the game, but whatever switch got turned on, they just attacked Eimei's Tanaka over and over again. I am impressed with their performance, no matter how weak the Shikoku region is. Their chances against Urawa Gakuin will still be slim, but there is hope!

Eimei played well for 6 innings, but for whatever reason, Tanaka just became hittable right after the break. They didn't seem like a terrible squad by any means, but the lack of offense was evident after the 1st inning. It'll be a hard climb back to Koushien, but it might be possible.

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