We're onto our final game of the day, and it may be an even matchup, though perhaps it won't be a palatable game.
Oumi backed their way into senbatsu when compared to the other quartefinalists. The offense sputtered at the end when facing tougher competition. On the mound, their ace throws harder than the average, but his peripherals look worse than average.
For Kyushu Sangyoudai Kyushu, their loss to Kyushu Gakuin looks really bad given their performance, the offense has voids at the bottom, and the pitching peripherals given said competition make it look even worse.
So it's going to possibly be an ugly game where the team that can overcome more of their deficiencies can advance, if even for just 1 game.
Kyushu Sangyoudai Kyushu (Fukuoka)
3B Kage Naoki
CF Hamada Ryouta
LF Ozaki Seiya
1B Katakura Eiji
2B Oono Ryuuji
RF Satou Ryuusuke
P Iwata Masaki
SS Kanno Hayato
C Nakahama Hidetoshi
SS Oka Katsuki
2B Okuda Riku
LF Sugino Shougo
1B Tamamoto Daichi
CF Sasaji Kenta
RF Fujiwara Koutarou
3B Hibi Ryousuke
C Nakaya Jyunpei
P Ogawa Ryouken
13:45 - First Pitch!
Ogawa not off to a good start as he hits Kage.
Hamada showing bunt.. No! It a bust-and-run! He chops the ball to the left side. Hibi is up with it, fires to 2nd! They get the first out, throw to 1st... double play! Oh, I like the call, but the result is disastrous.
Ozaki grounds out to 1st and just like that the side is retired.
Iwata also starts off with a free pass. He walks Oka to start the opening frame. I have a feeling we'll see a bit of those.
Iwata is another sidearmer who has a screwball and a 2-seamer along with the usual selection of pitches.
He's trying to use the sidearm action to get the outside corner, but the home plate umpire isn't giving him extra room. Iwata ends up walking Okuda as well. Sugino lays down a hard bunt, but it still does the job.
Outside of that bunt though, Iwata can't find the zone at all. He walks Yamamoto and it's manrui! Morisaki-kantoku calls time as the bullpen is quickly assembled.
Liner! Oono makes a leaping stop to block the ball! He goes to 2nd for the force, but they only let the one cross. It could have been a double play, but at the same time it could have been much worse. Oumi takes the 1-0 lead.
And Iwata gets out of the jam! Fujiwara hits a fly ball to center that Hamada backs up to, but the side is retired with minimal damage.
Well, there's another walk as Ogawa walks the leadoff batter.Morisaki-kantoku has Oono bunt the runner along.
But in a rare display, Ogawa goes to his sinker and strikes out Satou.
And again! This time it's Iwata and Ogawa has back-to-back Ks!
Oh man, Neither offense looks particularly good. Batters off balance, flailing at pitches. The bottom of Oumi's order can't get the ball out of the infield as Hibi and Nakaya pop out. Ogawa goes down swinging and it's a clean inning.
As expected, the bottom of Kyusandai's order is empty. Kanno looks all sorts of wrong swinging at a ball outside for Ogawa's 3rd K. Nakahama grounds out to 1st.
Hey! we have our first hit! Kage hits one back up the middle past a late reacting Ogawa into center!
And another base hit! Hamada with a single past a chasing Okada puts a runner in scoring position.
Ozaki hits a liner, but right to Sasaji for the 3rd out. A tean finally shows some life at the plate. Will they be able to take that into next inning?
Oumi meanwhile, appears to still be having problems with the sidearm action. Iwata retires the side in order, and Oumi is still without a hit.
Kyusandai's batters trying anything to get on base. Katakura goes after the first pitch, but flies out to left. Oono works the count in his favor, but grounds out to 1st.
Satou with a hot shot to 3rd, Hibi smothers it and quick fires to 1st. It takes several hops... SAFE! It is just a hair late, but it was a great try by the Oumi 3B.
The inning ends soon enough when Iwata chops one back to Ogawa.
Yamamoto goes for the path of least reaction time and hits it back at Iwata. Unfortunately for him, Iwata is able to stop the ball and make the throw to 1st.
Sasaji with a bounding ball up the right side, Katakura blocks it and runs it himself for the 2nd out.
Fujiwara gets a hold of one and sends it to dead center. Hamada running back, still going, still going... makes the catch near the wall! 3 out!
Well, that's the first solid big hit I've seen in a while.
Kanno does the right thing and works the count on Ogawa, making him throw pitches. And he earns a walk! That lets Morisaki-kantoku have Nakahama bunt him along.
But Kage can't get the timely hit as he grounds to short.Oka looks the runner back.
Ogawa uncorks one! Nakaya can't block it and now the douten run is 90 feet away!
Hamada hot shot to the right side! Okada knocks it down! Throw to 1st... In time and the side is retired!
Hibi grounder to 3rd, Kage quick with the throw, and it short hops Katakura! The ball takes a high bounce into foul territory and Hibi takes 2nd!
And what's this? Hibi takes a delayed steal and catches the Kyusandai battery off guard! That's a miss by the battery.
And Nakaya makes them pay! He lines one over a leaping Oono into center for a base hit! Hibi scores and it's 2-0!
Looking for more, Taga-kantoku has Ogawa bunt the runner along.
Oka then hits a comebacker to Iwata, and he turns to find Nakaya in no-mans land! He's run down, but not before Oka replaces him at 2nd.
Okada up, and Iwata continues to try and work the crossfire as it were. He winds up walking him though.
Fortunately Sugino grounds a ball right to Katakura who takes it to the bag for the 3rd out. And so we're at the break with Oumi up 2-0, but the game really isn't clean by any sense.
Post-break and Kyusandai just cannot seem to square up Ogawa's pitches. Their 3-4-5 batters were due up, but none of them could even make the defense sweat a little. Ozaki and Oono both ground out to 2nd while Katakura flied out to center.
Oumi gets their 2nd base hit as Fujiwara delivers a 2-out single through to left. But that's all the offense they can muster this inning. Note that despite them leading 2-0, this was their 2nd hit.
I think what's getting the Kyusandai batters is the 2-seamer. Satou swings short of one such pitch and strikes out.
2 down now and Kanno hits a hanging curve to left. Sugino running back... it's over his head! Kanno heading to 2nd and Sugino's relay throw is terrible! That allows Kanno to advance to 3rd.
Nakazawa the chance for Kyusandai, fights off pitch after pitch looking for a way to continue the inning. But Ogawa gets him to hit one in play! It's hit right to Okada, who goes to 1st for the 3rd out! It's a bit of a scare in the lucky 7, but no damage done. to the lead.
Hey it's the Sailor Moon theme!
Nakaya doesn't seem to mind it as he lines a ball back up the middle for a leadoff hit! Ogawa fails in his first 2 bunt attempts, but Taga-kantoku calls for another one, and Ogawa can't lay it down! One out.
Oka look like he's hit into a double play, but there's some confusion as to who takes the ball at 2nd. Kanno makes the short toss for the out, but that costs them too much time and they can't turn it. It's ok as Okuda floes out to end the inning.
Ogawa continues to do whatever it is he's doing as Kyusandai continues to scuffles at the plate. Nothing squared up and all of them fairly routine outs.
Sugino with a ball to the right side, Oono flubs the grab, throw to 1st, not in time! E4 and Oumi has a runner on.
And now Taga-kantoku sends him! Throw to 2nd, also not in time! Oumi with a runner in scoring position for another insurance run.
Yamamoto with a ball back up the middle. Kanno runs it down! Throw to first.. in time! Nice stop up the middle by Kanno!
Sasaji with another grounder to the left side, Kanno makes another great stop, but he drops it! Gathers it back, fires.. and that's in time for the out. Good recovery there.
And Fujiwara pops out to 2nd to end the inning. No insurance run, but the game seems in hand.
Katakura swings on the first pitch and hits it back to Ogawa, throw to 1st, dropped by Yamamoto! He picks it up, but there's a collision at 1st! Katakura is called outl
But both players are on the ground. In the scramble, Katakura ran into Yamamoto's left leg and both take a pretty good knock. Taga-kantoku checks on his 1B while a bench player is sent to check on Katakura. Both players eventually get back on their feet and both seem to be ok, which his always good.
Oono with a chopper up the 3rd base line, Hibi charges, picks and throws to 1st for the 2nd out.
#16 Yamada sent in to be the last hope, but he hits it back to Ogawa and the game is over.
The game was about as good as I though it would be. Neither pitcher was dominating per se more than the batting wasn't very good. Oumi got very fortunate with their draw for the first game, but facing Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou next up won't be very fun. But that's for another day.
For Kyushu Sangyoudai Kyushu, kudos should be given for getting here, but they were simply outclassed today. Fortunately, they always stand a chance in Fukuoka so perhaps we'll see them again.