Saturday, March 28, 2015

Day 8, Game 1 - Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou (Gifu) vs. Oumi (Shiga)

It's the last day of Round 2 action, and it is entirely possible that there will be no school west of Osaka Touin, and only one school north of Kanto remaining. Given the schools that qualified it is entirely possible that this will not change come the summer. It's not something to be alarmed about per se, but this would be an extreme form of what we generally see at Koushien.

The first matchup is between teams that are not too far apart from one another. They also performed about the same in their first round games - not well. They played inferior teams, and wound up winning fairly close games. Oumi probably had the worse of it, winning 2-0, but batting a whopping 0.111.

Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou (Gifu)
LF Murai Shouma
RF Hirose Masaru
3B Takegoshi Hiroyuki
LF Yamada Youta
C Katou Jyunya
1B Murahashi Kazuaki
SS Oono Rikuo
P Takahashi Shunpei
2B Sakashita Reon

Oumi (Shiga)
SS Oka Katsuki
2B Okuda Riku
LF Sugino Shougo
1B Yamamoto Daichi
CF Sasaji Kenta
RF Fujiwara Koutarou
3B Hibi Ryousuke
C Nakaya Jyunpei
P Ogawa Ryouken


09:00 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Murai already getting things going for Kengifushou as he hits a slider down the right field side and to the wall for a leadoff double. Hirose moves him along.

Takegoshi takes a slider to the opposite way. Fujiwara has to scramble back and it's over his head! He's in with a triple and it's 1-0 Kengifushou.

Yamada another ball the other way, Sugino chases towards the foul pole, and it falls in fair! Heads into 2nd as Takaegoshi scores to make it 2-0. 3 extra base hits in 4 batters (the other being a sac bunt) do not look good.

Neither does hitting Katou. Oy.

But, Ogawa does get himself out of the inning thanks to a well played 4-6-3 double play. Okada had to deal with a higher hop.

Bottom 1st
Well, that's some promise. After Oka and Okuda are quickly retired, Sugino with a rather easy swing singles to left.

Yamamoto booms a ball to deep right, but Hirose only has to back up a bit to make the catch.

Top 2nd
Ogawa seems to be getting the better of it here in the 2nd. Oono hits a routine fly, while Takahashi last minute goes after a 2-seamer running back towards the plate.

He almost gets the 1-2-3 inning, but winds up walking Sakashita. Ogawa-kantoku not afraid to send runners and Sakashita steals 2nd with little difficulty.

Murai hits one hard, but back at Ogawa. He snags it and goes to 1st to finish the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Ogawa's counterpart Takahashi is not having those issues.

After Sasaji flies out to center, he goes back-to-back K's to retire the side in order.

Top 3rd
Hirose with a ball off his bat, powers it to left for a leadoff single. Ogawa-kantoku gives the green light again and he steals 2nd with little issue.

While Takegoshi ends up striking out on a slider, Yamada takes a pitch just outside for ball 4.

Katou hits a ball to the left side, but it goes under Oka's glove and to left! Hirose scores and it's now 3-0 Kengifushou.

Murahashi strikes out on another slider and he jams Oono into a fielder's choice to end the inning. But while he recording K's, when he's not missing bats, the results can be bad.

Bottom 3rd
How bad is it for Oumi? Takahashi is just throwing fastballs and daring the batters to hit them.

And they're not.

Nakaya and Ogawa go down on 3 fastballs each. Oka makes contact, but pops out to Okada.

Top 4th
If I were Kengifushou, I would be shortening this game as much as possible. You will have to play the next day against Urawa Gakuin on no rest.

And while there's a hit batter in the sequence, the inning lasts just 9 pitches.

Bottom 4th
Also, when I felt the timing was good, I'd relieve Takahashi and get him some rest. I'd also tell him to get the batters to make contact to not use too many pitches.

But, I'm not the kantoku, and this is Japan. So he strikes out 2 more batters while ticking his fastball up to 150.

The worst part is that some of these batters are just watching a fastball go right down the middle.

Top 5th
Oka turns in a nice play when he stops a grounder in the gap and makes a quick throw to get Takagoshi at 1st.

After another walk to Yamada, Katou get practice on a sac bunt in to move Yamada along.

Murahashi flies out to left and the inning is over.

Bottom 5th
Perhaps they're reading my post (no, not really). While it takes 4 pitches to get Sasaji to fly out to left, He gets Fujiwara and Hibi out in just 3.

As we hit the break, it's yet another team on early cruise control.

Top 6th
While I wholly advocate shortening the game by taking swings, I would hope that they would at least make solid contact.

And they are for the most part, though they are still being retired in order.

Bottom 6th
Ogawa's day is over. #16 Dan hits for him, and draws the first walk for Oumi.

But they try and steal 2nd and Katou makes the perfect throw to get him out. Oka goes down swinging for Takahashi's 7th K.

Top 7th
#18 Arimoto comes in for Dan to take the hill.

Hirose gets his 2nd hit, and then steals his 2nd base of the game, but otherwise Dan has an uneventful inning.

Bottom 7th
One down and Sugino takes a ball the other way for the team's 2nd single.

Yamamoto with another single to left! Sugino takes 3rd and they have a chance to avoid the shutout.

But Sasaji pops out to 3rd, and Fujiwara emphatically slams the bat after he can't catch up to the fastball and the side is retired.

Top 8th
Fairly routine outs from Katou and Murahashi, but Arimoto issues his first walk to Oono. Then proceeds to pick him off for the 3rd out.

Bottom 8th
Oumi gets a runner after Oono drops the ball on the transfer. Then after a sac bunt by PH #17 Itou, Oka's grounder to 1st 5-holes Murahashi! Kengifushou playing sloppy to end this game.

Okuda liner! Oono dives!  Holds up the glove and he makes the catch!!!

Top 9th
Itou stays in to play RF, #11 Kyouyama comes in for Fujiwara to take the mound.

#16 Kariya comes in to take some swings against Kyouyama, but otherwise it's a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 9th
No drama here. Takahashi gets his 9th and 10th Ks to end the game.

Oumi's batting struggles in their first game were present yet again. And while Ogawa gave up just 3 runs, the gap felt like 30. Still, they're generally in the mix in Shiga, so we may see those powder blue uniforms yet again.

Takahashi had about as easy of a game you could have. Gave up just 3 hits and walked 1. It probably would have been nice to get someone in to relieve him, but at least he barely went over 100 pitches (112), so while he'll have no turnaround time, he wasn't stressed (other than perhaps to hit 150 on the gun). They did get some solid swings in, but it would have been nice to get a couple more hits, especially with Urawa Gakuin on the horizon.

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