Saturday, March 28, 2015

Day 8, Game 3 - Matsuyama Higashi (Ehime) vs. Toukai Dai-yon (Hokkaido)

And now the conclusion of the first round. These are the final teams left in their regions (yes, I know Hokkaido only had one, but they're the only ones north of Kanto remaining).

Matsuyama Higashi looked really good against Nishougakushadai Fuzoku, and stand a chance against Toukai Dai-yon who themselves had to face a 21st century team to start. This one however will appear to test them.

Matsuyama Higashi (Ehime)
LF Shimizu Tomoki
SS Ishiyama Tarou
CF Sakai Yuusuke
C Yoneda Keisuke
P Kameoka Yuuki
1B Yamada Kai
RF Yamada Taisei
3B Arita Toranosuke
2B Matsushita Kouki

Toukai Dai-yon (Hokkaido)
SS Tomita Yuuki
2B Kanemura Kousei
RF Yamamoto Kouhei
1B Sou Kangi (#7)
LF Shiota Gen (#13)
C Ogawa Kouhei
3B Tachibana Susumu
P Oosawa Shiiya
CF Watase Taiki


13:45 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Shimizu singles through the left side for a leadoff hit! Horiuchi-kantoku has Ishiyama bunt him along.

Sakai though cant pull the trigger on a fastball inside and he's sent packing!

What's this? Yoneda with a drive to left! Shiota going back to the fence... looking up! NO WAY!!!


Yoneda takes care of the scoring early! He hits a 2-run HR to left and the 21st century team is up 2-0!!

Now Kameoka draws a walk! Oosawa struggling right off the bat.

But while he goes full on Kai, he strikes him out to retire the side. Already the Hokkaido champ will have work to do.

Bottom 1st
Kameoka on a mission from the start it would seem. He puts a fastball by Tomita, then Kanemura chases a shuuto on the outside corner.

Yamamoto flies out to center, and it's an easy 1st inning for Kameoka.

Top 2nd
One down and Arita lays down a bunt! Toukai's defense isn't prepared and he's in with a single!

Matsushita tries to bunt him along, but fouls his three bunt and is retired.

Shimizu flies out to left and Oosawa can put up a 0.

Bottom 2nd
Kameoka puts that shuuto on the border that Sou goes after it and becomes Kameoka's 3rd K.

Shiota and Ogawa can fare little better, hitting routine ground balls and Kameoka's making it look easy!

Top 3rd
Oosawa getting into his groove striking out Ishiyama and Sakai to start the inning.

However Yoneda gets his 2nd hit, a single to left.

And then he walks Kameoka for the 2nd time. Horiuchi-kantoku calls for time.

But he still can't find the zone! He winds up walking Kai and it's manrui for Matsuyama Higashi!

With nowhere to put Taisei, Oosawa finally starts throwing strikes. Gets ahead 1-2...


Taisei swings and misses on the high fastball and Oosawa gets out of his own jam.

Bottom 3rd
Oosawa with a liner forcing Kameoka to duck and Toukai Dai-yon has their first base hit!

Watase with a bunt, Arita throw to 1st... not enough! Now runners on 1st and 2nd with one down.

But Toukai Dai-yon is looking for the big hit. Tomita under the ball, flies out to right.

Kanemura with a fly ball to center! Sakai is there and secures it for the 3rd out!

Top 4th
Oosawa getting another reprieve against the bottom of Matsuyama Higashi's order. It's a quick 8 pitch inning as the sides change once again.

Bottom 4th
Toukai Dai-yon finally making some headway at the plate as Sou hits a single to center.

But Shiota hits it up the middle right to Ishiyama! Flips to Matsushita for one, throw to first... double play! And just like that the inning is over!

Top 5th
Ishiyama with no luck agaist Oosawa, goes down swinging for his 2nd time.

After that it's 1 pitch outs for both Sakai and Yoneda, and Matsuyama Higashi perhaps looking to speed up this game.

Bottom 5th
Ogawa with a ball back up the middle, but Kameoka is able to snatch it and go to 1st for the first out.

Tachibana can't catch up to the high fastball and goes down for Kameoka's 4th K.

Oosawa continues to hit at the bottom of the order, sneaking a ball by a diving Kai into right,

Watase thought that was a good idea, so he does the same to Matsushita!

Tomita scorcher up the 1st base line, smothered by Kai! Goes to 1st, and he saves a run with that great play! And with that we're at the break with Matsuyama Higashi in control, but Toukai Dai-yon pounding on the door.

Top 6th
If you blinked you missed the top of the 6th.

First pitch Kameoka drives to center. Watase backpedaling, turning around, leaps and makes the desperation catch.

After that it's a first pitch popup to left and hen a flyout to right. 4 pitches, 3 outs.

Bottom 6th
Kanemura with a leadoff hit! That's their first leadoff runner on. Yamamoto moves him along to 2nd.

And Kameoka throws the ball away to 2nd! Now the runner is at 3rd with Sou up!


Once again Kameoka goes high and Sou can't make contact! 2 outs!

#3 Saitou to hit for Shiota to try and drive the run in.


Kameoka continues to climb the ladder and the batters are obliging! Saitou gets all twisted up and the runner is stranded at 3rd!

Top 7th
Saitou stays in to play 1B, Sou returns to his numbered position in LF.

Nothing new here, each inning going as non-descript as the last with Matsuyama Higashi willing to stake their game on this 2-run lead if necessary.

Bottom 7th
Ogawa with a ball in foul territory and Ishiyama from his position to make the catch.'

Tachibana finally gets a base hit with a single back up the middle. Now, can Oosawa and Watase do something with it?

No! Oosawa grounds to 2nd! Matsushita to 2nd for 1, throw to 1st.. Double play!!!

Top 8th
Ishiyama singles to left to start the inning, but once again they can't lay down the bunt! Sakai pops it up and Oosawa makes the catch for the out.

And now Ishiyama is caught napping on the basepaths! He's run down and there's 2 outs!

Yoneda with a ball to left, Sou is there and AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He sells out for the ball and misses! Watase has to chase it back to the wall as Yoneda is in with a triple!

Kameoka with a grounder to the left side. Tomita runs it down, stops, throws to 1st... in time for the 3rd out! What a great play to prevent another run from scoring!

Bottom 8th
Watase slow grounder to the left side, Ishiyama has it, throws to first, but it's short and gets by Kai! Watase ends up at 2nd!

Tomita with a ball to left, but the outfield is in! Shimizu has to chase after it! They get the ball in but not before Tomita has a double and a run scores! It's 2-1!

Kanemura with a ball to shallow right center! Sakai coming in, Matsushita coming out, but neither can get there! Tomita had to hold in case for a catch so he can only get to 3rd. But now a base hit can give them the lead!

Yamamoto grounder to the right side... through for a base hit! One run will score! They're sending home Kanemura! Relay home.. not in time!! In their final moments Toukai Dai-yon has found a way to take the lead! It's 3-2!

2 down now after a popup and Saitou singles to center! Yamamoto heading to 3rd, but Sakai's throw is on a line and they gun him down!

But more importantly, Matsuyama Higashi just has 3 outs to try and make a final rally!

Top 9th
But after struggling for so long, can they really re-rally?

#13 Kuwahara comes in to hit for Kai. But he goes down on a slider cold.

Taisei pops out to short, and there's quickly 2 outs.

Arita the last chance...

Grounder to the right side... past Kanemura for a base hit! Douten runner on, but still some work to do.

#12 Takenaka in to hit for Matsushita...

Down quickly 1-2, he fights off pitch after pitch.


But perhaps turning the tables, he climbs the ladder himself on Takenaka and Matsuyama Higashi and strikes him out on a high fastball to end the game!

Well, that game turned around in a hurry. Though Toukai Dai-yon were seemingly on the verge of doing something like this with their chances in the prior couple of innings. It's just too bad that Matsuyama Higashi had the lead for so long before it would all melt away.

There is something to be said for a pitcher who actually lives up in the zone. It's the complete opposite of what you normally see, but at the same time it can still produce the same results. But only if you can consistently do that. Just 6 outs away from a Best 8 performance, and instead they're picking up dirt from Koushien to take home as in all likelihood they won't be returning in the summer. But they do rightfully get a round of applause from their huge ouen-dan.

Toukai Dai-yon got lucky. If not for the first error, the rest of the sequence may never have happened because the outfield may not have played as far in as they did. Before that they were getting hits here and there, but they were with outs already on the board and less room for error.

But, a win is a win and they're into the Best 8. No time to rest because Kendai Takasaki is next up. It'll be their first major competitor, and it could get ugly to round out the quarterfinals.

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