Thursday, March 26, 2015

Day 6, Game 3 - Jyousou Gakuin (Ibaraki) vs. Imabari Nishi (Ehime)

The winner of this gets the reward of facing Osaka Touin. Chances are, given the first games for each squad, it'll be Jyousou Gakuin, and Shikoku will be eliminated. That's about the long, or rather short, of it.

Jyousou Gakuin (Ibaraki)
2B Ugusa Kouki
CF Takeuchi Ryou
RF Wada Shingo
1B Ishii Daiki
LF Arahara Hiroki
P Suzuki Shouta
C Takase Shoutarou
SS Minakami Yuuhei
3B Ara Masahiro (#15)

Imabari Nishi (Ehime)
1B Akigawa Yuushi
SS Nakauchi Atsuya
P Sugiuchi Kouki
CF Fujiwara Yoshiki
LF Yamauchi Atsuya
3B Takao Yousuke
RF Sugino Akihiko
C Andou Yuuto
2B Yoshihara Yuunousuke


13:46 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Grounder to 2nd by Ugusa take a high hop and Yoshihara can't field it. That's rather ominous.

Takuechi not swinging and he draws a walk. I wonder if the batters are under orders to not swing and take pitches until they either find one they really like, or there's 2 strikes.

Sasaki-kantoku figures it's a good time to bunt the runners over and Wada does so.

Ishii draws a walk, and it's manrui for Jyousou Gakuin and this could get ugly real quick.


Arahara with a drive down the right field line, and Sugino's given up on it. That, my friends, is a manrui home run, and game over before it even started. 4-0 Jyousou Gakuin.

There's another hit batter in the inning, but that's of little consequence. Sugiuchi gives up no more runs, but doesn't need to.

Bottom 1st
Akigawa gets a ball down the middle, but pulls it to Ara for the 1st out. After a strikeout to Nakauchi, Sugicuhi gets hit by Suzuki.

Fujiwara though grounds out to Ishii, who walks it to the bag for the 3rd out.

Top 2nd
One down, and it's Sugiuchi's 4th free pass when he walks Ugusa. He steals 2nd with ease and then moves to 3rd when Takeuchi decides last minute to hit the ball the other way.

Sugiuchi gets out of the inning  by getting Wada to chase a high fastball and pop it up. He secures it, with some difficulty, to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Already under pressure, Imabari's batters are like many other teams swinging to get things going.

As a result in 9 pitches, Suzuki has the side retired.

Top 3rd
Sugiuchi retires the 1st two batters, then realizes he hadn't given a free pass yet, so he walks Suzuki and Takase before getting the 3rd out.

Bottom 3rd
Is it really over that Kuroki-kantoku is going to his bench? Yuuto is replaced before his first AB with #10 Yoshimoto.

And the team goes down in order.

Top 4th
Now follow me on this, because there will be 2 huge shifts int he inning.

First to start the inning:
  • Yoshimoto stays in to play RF,
  • who shifts Sugino to CF,
  • who shifts Fujiwara to 1B,
  • who shifts Akigawa to 3B,
  • who shifts Takao to C.
But after a single, out, another hit batter, a double to the LF wall, a RBI groundout and a wild pitch that scores one more (now 7-0) , Kuroki-kantoku moves everyone around again:
  • Yoshimoto comes in to P,
  • who shifts Sugiuchi to 3B,
  • who shifts Akagawa back to CF,
  • who shifts Sugino back to RF.
 After all that, it's a groundout to 2nd to end the inning.

Bottom 4th
It's another 3 up, 3 down inning. But it's not really impressive. A lot of Suzuki's off speed pitches are buried in the dirt and the batters are going after them. A discerning eye might hold off on these, so I wonder what would happen then for Suzuki.

Top 5th
To be honest, when it's a blowout there isn't a point in detailing what they're doing. In fact, if I were Jyousou Gakuin, I'd rest my players for the upcoming match.

That's not how the Japanese work though. So Suzuki and Minakami get doubles and tack on another run to make it 8-0.

Bottom 5th
Also, if I could, I'd be sitting Suzuki. He's only going to get 2 full days of rest.

He would have retired the side in order, but one of those buried balls gets away from Takase and allows Sugino to reach base.

So he does the same to Yoshimoto, but without the wildness.

Top 6th
Takeuchi checks in with a gapper to right center for a base hit. He manages to get to 3rd, but is left stranded after 2 groundouts and a pop up.

Bottom 6th
I had been focused on what Suzuki was doing on the mound, I forgot as Akigawa hits a one out single past a diving Minakami - that that was their first hit!

Well, the rest of the batters don't really do a whole lot afterwards, but hey, no no-no!

Top 7th
I suppose if there is something that I can comment with Jyousou Gakuin's ABs, its that their hits aren't really all that solid. Yes, they boom the ball today, but a well-positioned outfield can turn those into outs.

I say that and Takase sends a ball back up the middle for a 1-out single. But for the most part it's sill routine grounders and fly balls.

Bottom 7th
More of the same, balls in the dirt being swung at for strike 3. Suzuki picks up 2 more Ks.

Top 8th
Ugusa working on a bunt single gets thrown out, but not by much. Otherwise, their contact on the ball is still not very good with balls in the infield.

Bottom 8th
After a groundout, Suzuki is finally pulled. #10 Kashimuira is placed in the game. They finally relieve Suzuki about a couple inning late if you ask me.

I say that and then he walks the first batter on 4 straight. Then with 2 down Akigawa gets a hold of one and sends it into the left center field gap for a double, and the shutout is gone as well. There's some consolation in that though it's 8-1.

Top 9th
#11 Andou Itsuki, who hit for Yoshihara causes another shift:
  • Itsuki stays in to play 1B, 
  • which moves Akigawa back to 3B,
  • which moves Sugiuchi to SS,
  • and Nakauchi across the keystone to 2B.
#13 Masayoshi comes in to hit for Kashimura and hits a hard single back up the middle. That's a good base hit. He's replaced with #16 Sanbonmatsu on the basepaths.

Bottom 9th
Sanbonmatsu stays in to play LF, and #11 Sugiwara comes in to for Arahara to take the mound.

He strikes out Sugiura, and then is replaced by #18 Inoue. He comes out with a 140+ fastball, well more like around 140 and finishes the job.

I'd make more of the last couple of innings, but we've had so many of these games, it's unfortunate.

Imabari Nishi had the fortune of facing a 21st century team and got away with a lot of things. All of that was demolished in the very 1st inning this game and there really wasn't much else to say. Imabari Nishi will probably contend in prefecture to head back to Koushien, but their prospects here are dim unless hey get a favorable matchup or improve significantly.

With Imabari Nishi's loss Chuugoku's official representatives are eliminated. All that's left is the 21st century team Matsuyama Higashi.

As for Jyousou Gakuin, they face Osaka Touin, and there are enough gaps that their prospects aren't good. Not as bad as Imabari Nishi's today, but not good either. They knocked out only 8 hits for those 8 runs, and a lot of their hits can be countered. On the pitching side, Suzuki isn't a terrible pitcher, but a lot of his K's were on pitches that took a bounce before reaching Takase. I really don't think that Osaka Touin's batters will bite, but I could be wrong. Also, it could be that Inoue starts the game instead. We'll know in 2 days time.

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