And now out final game of the first round, the Hokkaido champs Toukai Dai-yon versus the last 21 century squad Toyohashi Kougyou.
For Toyohashi Kougyou, seeing Matsuyama Higashi pull off the upset had to be heartening as perhaps they can take something from that to their own performance today. While they are facing the Hokkaido champions, they are facing the Hokkaido champions, and not say a team from the Kanto or Kinki area, et al.
Toukai Dai-yon (Hokkaido)
SS Tomita Yuuki
2B Kanemura Kousei
RF Yamamoto Kouhei
1B Sou Kangi (#7)
LF Shiota Gen
C Ogawa Kouhei
3B Tachibana Susumu (#3)
P Oosawa Shiiya
CF Watase Taiki
Toyohashi Kougyou (Aichi)
1B Chuubachi Takahiro
2B Suzuki Kyouma
SS Egawa Seitarou
P Mori Keima
C Hikosaka Takuma
RF Oka Ryuuki
LF Enomoto Shougo
3B Kawai Tomoya
CF Araki Yuugo (#18)
09:00 - First pitch!
I swear, we have the worst internet connection in the city.
I will have to rewatch the 1st inning. I did watch the first strikeout of Tomita. But somewhere along the way in the top of the 1st, Yamamoto hits a triple to right.
Keima in turn replies with striking out Sou, and in turn the side!
Again, not really able to watch the inning as carefully as I'd like as I'm trying to catch up, but it would appear that Oosawa is getting ahead of batters and thus able to retire them on less than ideal pitches.
Keima still cruising along, though he allows Ogawa to get on base with a wild pitch on a strikeout (that's his 3rd already).
Even with one out, Oowaki-kantoku calls for the bunt and Tachibana moves him along.
Oosawa with a base hit to right! Ogawa holds at 3rd.
What's this? The umpires converge and Ogawa is called out at 3rd! The umpires claim that the runner made contact with the 3B coach and as a result is out! Replays show he did touch him and by the letter of the law they're right. But that call seems a bit ticky-tack to me.
With that, the inning is over.
Keima with a blooper to the left side. Sou and Tachibana converge on the ball, but neither of them catch it! Keima on his horse, gets to 2nd and Toyohashi Kougyou is in business! Hikosaka lays down the bunt and now a sac fly can give them the lead.
Oka line shot! But it's right at Tomita! He goest to 3rd, but the runner is back. 2 out!
Oosawa pulls out the curve and Enomoto strikes out to end the inning!
Watase looking to regain the momentum of the 2nd inning, singles through the left side. Tomita bunts him along.
But Keima comes back and strikes out Kanemura on an outside fastball. He's almost out of the jam again!
Yamamoto though won't go away easily, and perhaps with a base open Keima errors on the side of caution and walks him as it would create a force.
But a pitch from Keima goes off Hikosaka's glove and to the backstop! Hikosaka recovers, but the throw to 3rd is late! Runners at 2nd and 3rd now for Toukai!
And perhaps again with a base open, Keima is more apt to walk the batter to create a force at any base.
It works to perfection! Shiota grounds to 3rd and Kawai takes it to the bag for the 3rd out!
Kawai leads off the inning with a single to left. Araki to bunt, no!
He pulls it back and swings away! It's a grounder through the drawn in infield and now Toyohashi has runners on 1st and 2nd with no out!
Chuubachi is not bunting as well. Instead, Hayashi-kantoku calls for a hit-and-run! He strikes out, but the throw to 3rd is not in time!! Runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 down!
Suzuki with a chance to drive in 2, but he hits one right back to Oosawa! He looks to 3rd and has Kawai in no-man's land! He runs him back to 3rd where Araki is already, but it's Araki who is out (Kawai had rights to return to the bag). Suzuki goes to 2nd.
Oosawa gets out of the jam! Egawa grounds out to 2nd and the runners are stranded!
Ogawa with a line single to right to get another leadoff runner on. Tachibana bunts him along.
Oosawa can only move the runner to 3rd with a groundout.
Watase is jammed! It's a fly ball to left and Enomoto is there for the catch! Another runner left stranded!
One down and Hikosaka gets on base when Tachibana airmails a throw. Oka not bunting, but Oosawa catches him trying to leave early! He's run down and that's a baserunning error by the team from Aichi.
Ah, but Oosawa hits Oka, and the runner is right back on base.
Uh oh, a pitch from Oosawa goes off Ogawa's glove! Oka takes off for 2nd, Ogawa with the throw...
OUT!!! Ogawa recovers just in time to get the out at 2nd and Toyohashi has run themselves out of the inning!
Tomita with a liner up the middle, but Keima snipes it for the out.
I never got a chance to mention it before, but ace Keima can throw in the upper 130s, which isn't bad.
He also apparently throws a heavy fastball, because I swear when Kanemura swings over a ball for his 6th K, it looks like it has a late dip.
And now he strikes out Yamamoto on a fastball inside! That's 7 K's already!
Oosawa would like an easy inning. It's been rather busy the last couple.
He gets that as he retires the bottom of the Toyohashi order to send us to the break. And much like the last game of yesterday, it's the 21st century team that has the advantage halfway through!
Make that 8 Ks! He paints the outside corner on Sou and he goes down looking!
Shoita grounds to 3rd, but Kawai airmails the throw into the camera well! Shiota is awarded 2nd.
Ogawa can't get the base hit, but moves the runner along.
But 3rd's as far as they'll go again! Tachibana flies out to center and another runner is stranded in scoring position!
Oosawa, maybe needing the break, comes back with vigor to start the 2nd half.
Chuubachi does down swinging on a well placed fastball. After a groundout by Suzuki, he climbs the ladder on Egawa to end the inning.
Oosawa needing something for his team, does it himself as he singles to the right side. Watase bunts him along.
Tomita grounder to 2nd, Suzuki with it, but doesn't throw to 1st! All safe!
Suzuki didn't throw to 1st because Chuubachi had overrun the bag and needed to get back! But now there's 2 runners on instead of 1 and 2 out!
Kanemura asked to bunt, but he's unable to lay it down. Down 0-2, he goes for the three bunt! But it goes back foul and he's out! 2 down!
Yamamoto up, and Keima is being awfully careful with him again.
Oowaki-kantoku then decided to send the runners! Throw to 3rd, but not time!! Everyone's safe!
Again, with 1st open and Yamamoto up, they given him the free pass to hopefully get the double play.
Sou pops it up! Suzuki goes out to shallow right as Oka comes in.
Perhaps concerned with running into Oka, the ball goes off Suzuki's glove and falls down! Everyone scores as Sou eases into 3rd and Toukai Dai-yon has a 3-0 lead! Toyohashi had been doing so well until that point, you'd think they have a chance and then something like this happens!
Shiota strikes out making to for Keima, but the more important number is the 3 that Toukai Dai-yon has put on here in the 7th!
Toyohasi Kougyou continues to fight though, but have failed to get the opportunities they did early on. The best shot they had was a liner back to Oosawa by Hikosaka.
Despite the 3 runs, Toukai continues to struggle against Keima. In fact he racks up 2 more strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning.
There's some hope for Toyohashi Kougyou as PH #10 Nakamura (in for Kawai), draws a walk. He's replaced by #16 Ukai.
Araki with a liner up the middle, but Tomita makes the leaping catch as Ukai has to scramble back.
Ukai then takes off for 2nd, and doesn't draw a throw! You could argue that that particular run doesn't matter, but it kind of does in that perhaps plating the first run might lead to more.
But Chuubachi can't get the key hit! He pops out to Sou and the inning is over.
#14 Ogiwara comes in to play 3B.
Keima finishes his complete game with a flourish, striking out Kanemura looking to make 13 on the day. But it looks like it'll come in a losing effort.
There's no comeback for the boys from Aichi. Oosawa shuts the door himself with 2 strikeouts, giving him 10 for the game. Toukai Dai-yon advances with a 3-0 win.
You never want to see the game decided by something like an error. But it was a dropped catch in the "lucky" 7 that wound up being the difference. Keima did everything he could to keep his team in the game, stymieing the Hokkaido champs throughout the game. And while their chances of getting back to Koushien in the summer are slim (they know that too, as they go to pick up dirt), they shouldn't be disappointed with their performance.
For Toukai Dai-yon, it perhaps wasn't expected for the game to be this close, but at the same time it's not surprising either. While another 21st century team lies next, it's Matsuyama Higashi, and they do not look like an easy game by any means.