Saturday, March 28, 2015

Day 8, Game 2 - Tenri (Nara) vs. Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

I'd ask for a closer game next, but there's a hint of me that doesn't want it. Mostly because if that happens, chances are Tenri will find a way to screw something up. They always do. It generally involves a squeeze bunt that goes awry.

Not helping Tenri at all is that they're facing Kendai Takasaki. I wouldn't call them a giant killer per se, but they certainly make games annoying for the opposing team. That shouldn't change today.

Tenri (Nara)
CF Funabiki Wataru
P Saitou Yuu
SS Sadamitsu Hiroto
1B Sakaguchi Hiroya
RF Tomiki Ryouga
3B Kawasaki Koudai
2B Maekubo Tomoya
LF Mori Shunsuke (#15)
C Tsutsumida Reo

Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)
CF Kasuga Yuuma
SS Hayashi Kenya
C Tsuge Sena
3B Shibahiki Ryousuke
2B Souma Yuuto
1B Ooshima Kyouhei
RF Satou Nozomu
LF Chinen Kazuma
P Kawai Tomoya


11:20 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Funabiki get a bit of a break when Souma doesn't field a ball cleanly. Saitou bunts right to Kawai and he goes to 2nd to get the lead runner.

Sadamitsu with a chopper to 1st and Ooshima steps on 1st for the 2nd out.

Hashimoto-kantoku goes for the hit-and-run, but Sakaguchi meekly swings at a ball out of the zone and the side is retired.

Bottom 1st
Well, Tenri might just save us the trouble. Saitou hits Kasuga, then throws a wild pitch so now Kendai Takasaki has a runner in scoring position with no out.

Hayashi makes a chop swing on a ball inside and punches it to the right side, moving Kasuga to 3rd.

Tsutsumida snap throw to 3rd... They got him! Wow, a rare baserunning mistake from Kendai Takasaki.

Shibahiki flies out to center, and it's a clean, though not without it's moments, inning.

Top 2nd
Tomoki in a long AB versus Kawai, but flies out to left.

Kawasaki and Maekubo go after pitches early in the count, but ground out for a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 2nd
2 down after consecutive groundouts, and Satou hits a single to right. An inexplicable passed ball on a ball down the middle allows him to go to 2nd.

Saitou though pops up in foul territory. Tsutsumida makes the catch near the steps to the umpires area for the 3rd out.

Top 3rd
Kawai issues his first free pass to Mori leading off the inning. Tsutsumida bunts him along.

Funabiki though bites on a high slider for the 2nd out, and Saitou grounds to short. Tenri unable to bring the runner home despite a good start to the inning.

Bottom 3rd
Well, Saitou seems to have settled down. Kawai pops up to Saitou at the mound, Kasuga with a lazy fly to right.

Hayashi then hits one right to Sakaguchi and he takes it himself for the out.

Top 4th
Tenri batters uppercutting everything and popping it up. Sadamitsu to left, Sakaguchi to right.

Tomoki hits it on the ground, but it isn't hard at all. Shibahiki throws to 1st and the side is retired.

Bottom 4th
Tsuge with a single up the middle for Kendai Takasaki.

It's another wild pitch from Saitou and Tsuge goes to 2nd. Shibahiki correctly moves the runner to 3rd with a ball to the right side.

Souma brings him in!! It's a single through the drawn in infield into right! Kendai Takasaki leads 1-0!

Aoyagi-kantoku sends Souma, but Tsutsumida makes a great throw to gun him down!

Ooshima goes down looking and the leadoff runner doesn't come back to haunt them.

Top 5th
Boy, Tenri's batters are having a devil of a time against Kawai. Kawasaki and Maekubo can't improve on their first ABs and both ground out again.

Mori chases a changeup down and away and Tenri has not hit anything well against ace Kawai.

Bottom 5th
Kendai Takasaki is making better contact, and barely has the results to show for it. The bottom of the order though is retired in just 8 pitches and we hit the break.

Kendai Takasaki is having the better of it both on the mound and at the plate. They're hitting the balls more square, and Kawai has Tenri's batters baffled. 4 more innings, and Kinki will be down to just 1 team.

Top 6th
It is looking godawful for Tenri at the plate. No timing, and it looks like they're just guessing up there.

Funabiki gets the best AB against Kawai, as he runs the count full. But it's all wasted when he swings on a high fastball.

Otherwise, it's a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 6th
Saitou down his best to hold down the fort. He's certainly laboring more than Kawai, but he's getting the job done. He gets Kasuga to fly out to left.

Mori really makes him work as he fills up the count before grounding out to Kawasaki.

Tsuge goes down swinging and the margin stays at 1.

Top 7th
Sadamitsu with a ball down the left field line. Chinen is sprinting over from left center! He slides... and can't get there!! The ball goes off the padding and Sadamitsu is in with a standing triple! Tenri finally has a scoring chance.

Sakaguchi not bunting (THANK GOD). But he does pop it up. Tsuge running over to the Tenri on-deck circle... makes the catch for the 1st out.

Tomoki not bunting either.

Instead it's a liner over a leaping Hayashi for a base hit! Sadamitsu scores to make it 1-1!

However, they can't do more than that as Kawasaki grounds into a fielder's choice and Maekubo pops out. Still, they have a new ballgame.

Bottom 7th
Shibahiki lines a single to right in their lucky 7.

And now Saitou hits Souma! They check for a swing, but he doesn't go! Runners at 1st and 2nd for Kendai Takasaki.

#10 Kotani to hit for Ooshima, and he lays down a push bunt. Kawasaki quick throws to 1st and barely gets him. Big chance with even a deep fly establishing the lead.

Satou though hits a grounder to 1st! Sakaguchi checks the runner, but can't tag Satou! Tosses to 1st, and Shibahiki breaks for home! Throw back home is not in time! There's the speed of Kendai Takasaki! It's 2-1!

Saitou picks off Souma at 3rd, another odd baserunning mistake, but they have the lead back!

Top 8th
So Tenri is back where they started and with only 2 innings left to go.

One down and Tsutsumida with a clean single to center. No bunt from Funabiki, but he can't make contact on a changeup down the middle.

Saitou grounds to 1st and the inning is over.

Bottom 8th
Another walk from Saitou, as Chinen takes 1st. After #17 Miyamoto comes in to run, Kawai's pops up his bunt! Saitou is there for the catch and there's 1 down.

But Aoyagi-kantoku goes for the hit and run! Kasuga with a ball to left center... and no one will get to it! Miyamoto scores all the way from 1st and Kendai Takasaki leads 3-1!

That's it for Saitou as #11 Moriura comes in for Mori and takes the hill. Saitou will goes to LF.

Just to show how fast Kendai Takasaki is, Hayashi grounds to 3rd. Kawasaki makes a hard check of the runner, but he still takes off for - and reaches, 3rd.

Tsuge flies out to center., but the insurance run looks like the game is in hand.

Top 9th
#14 Higa comes in for Miyamoto to play LF.

The beat goes on for Kawai. Sadamitsu grounds to short.

Sakaguchi manages to work a walk, but it's quickly 2 down when Tomiki flies out to left.

Kawasaki makes some solid contact, but it's never fair. He flies out to left and the game is over.

Tenri continues to live up to their underperforming ways. They didn't embarrass themselves in prior years with some stupid play. But in this case they were simply outplayed - both on the mound where Saitou struggled with walks, and at the plate where they couldn't hit anything solid. Neither could Kendai Takasaki, but the walks proved to be fatal.

And so the story goes. Kendai Takasaki has become smarter as to when to use their speed, and their pitching has caught up in Kawai. Where they were gritty before, they have become a contender with grittiness.

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