And now to our 2nd quarterfinal. one of the main dangers in the field is still alive in Tsuruga Kehi. Hiranuma had supposedly been injured in the fall, and I had questions coming into Koushien, but he allayed them first up. Their last game though brought back some other concens.
Mainly, is his stamina at 100%? He started cracking late against the Meiji Jingu champs, though once you're facing a lineup for the 3rd or 4th time, the batter might start having the advantage in the matchup. So perhaps it's that, but seeing Sendai Ikuei with chances late is concerning, and he's only got 1 full day's rest.
The question for Shizuoka is can Muraki continue to walk the tightrope. He gave up 14 hits to Kisaradzu Sougou, but just 2 runs. I can't see that happening today and getting a win.
RF Suzuki Shouhei
2B Ooshi Tomoki
CF Uchiyama Shun
C Horiuchi Kengo
SS Yasumoto Ryuuji
1B Hirano Hidemaru
LF Hirose Shun
P Muraki Fumiya
3B Sanpei Shinya (#13)
Tsuruga Kehi (Fukui)
3B Shinohara Ryou
2B Nakai Kidzuku
SS Hayashinaka Yuuki
P Hiranuma Shouta
CF Yamamoto Kouta
LF Kinoshita Shougo (#9)
1B Ueda Ryouya
C Kamon Yuusuke
RF Mori Shigeki (#7)
11:15 - First Pitch!
Hiranuma with a uncharacteristic walk to start the game. But that gets wiped out by a 5-4-3 double play. A popout later and it's perhaps business as usual.
Shinohara grounder to short and Yasumoto flubs on the ball. E6 to start the game.
As usual, a bunt, but then there's 2 out for Hiranuma.
And there you go.
Hiranuma with a rare drive to right for a 2-run HR and Tsuruga Kehi quickly leads 2-0.
Well, whatever ailed Hiranuma in the 1st is gone. Tack on 2 Ks in a clean inning,
More errors from Shizuoka. Sanpei makes a great diving stop then throws the ball pretty much into the stands. Sac bunt and then a base hit from Kamon makes it 3-0.
And I have no idea what Muraki was thinking trying to let a ball roll foul when it's been raining. It of course stops in fair territory.
Single loads the bases, but somehow Muraki strikes out Nakai and Muranaka to get out without further damage.
Hiranuma still having some control issues, but I think this is more due to the rain than fatigue as he's not leaving anything dead center.
That and nothing's leaving the infield. At this point I'll assume he's on cruise control until I see otherwise.
Pitching change already as #10 Muramatsu comes in for Muraki.
Gets a dribbler from Hiranuma (that's a win), and then strikes out Yamamoto. Not a bad start.
But now here the gapper from Kinoshita to right center. The good feeling might be over.
Ueda with a similar ball to left. Hirose running, sliding, and makes the catch. That's a save if they ever needed one.
Suzuki gets the first hit for Shizuoka, but after a sac bunt, nothing doing.
For Tsuruga Keh. switching to the southpaw muramatsu seems to have muted their offense. Kamon gets his 2nd hit, but they too can't do anything after a sac bunt.
Horiuchi with a single through the left side. And now another walk.
Hirano with a buntto the right side and there's miscomunication. Ueda and Hiranuma bump into each other and there's no play. Manrui with no down!
But Hirose's attempt at a sac fly fails as it's too short.
And so Kuribayashi-kantoku goes for a squeeze?! It somehow works and it's 3-1, but there's 2 outs.
Hiranuma strikes out Sanpei to end the inning.
No, wait. There's an appeal and it was a foul instead of just a swing? So they call him back.
And now he hits a ball to center. Yamamoto going back, and it's off his glove and falls in! So somehow a strikeout that wasn't leads to a tie game?! 3-3.
Tsuruga Kehi gets retired in order and suddenly we're back to where we started. Yikes if you're for Tsuruga Kehi.
But now the rain is coming down harder and the teams will have to wait it out as the groundscrew try to put some type of diamond dry on the field. I think we're in a delay.
After about 30 minutes or so, the teams retake the field. After about an inning, my ultaportable laptop decided to not be frozen anymore.
But the inning was uneventful anyways. Any momentum Shizuoka had had disappeared so I think it's just like a 4 inning,(well, now 3) sprint to the finish.
Yasumoto with a ball to left center. Yamamoto tries to make a sliding catch, but can't make it and Shizuoka has a double. The usual sac bunt moved him to 3rd.
And the squeeze bunt fails, and the runner is out. And soon enough the inning is over.
The squeeze bunt still lives in 高校野球. Maybe not as much, but it's still there.
Shinohara with a one out soft single to center. At this point, Tsuruga Kehi will take anything.
Boy, they are really pressing. A failed bunt and then a caught stealing? If you weren't convinced their offense perhaps wasn't as good as you thought, this might cement it.
Leadoff walk for Muramatsu. This was about the time Hiranuma became hittable - though that was Sendai Ikuei.
He gets a break when Sanpei hits it back to him for a 1-6-3 double play. Toss in a K, and Shizuoka's chance is gone.
Hayashinaka with a base hit, and Hiranuma bunts. That basehit might have been the best thing to happen to Shizuoka.
Tomoki saves a run as he climbs the ladder and high points Yamamoto's liner! That would have easily scored 1.
Kuribayashi-kantoku calls for time.
Looks like the message was, if you fall behind, 1st base is open. And indeed there is a walk.
Ueda pops out! He's left hitless as Tomoki makes the catch to end the inning!
Shizuoka is back to being ineffective against Hiranuma. Not that when they were scoring the runs on solid hits anyways.
Uh oh, Muramatsu walks Mori with 1 down. Will they bunt?
Nope! First pitch flyout to right and we're about to head to enchousen!
I think though that Muramatus wants to make it interesting. 3-0 to Nakai becomes 3-2... and now a walk.
Kuribayashi-kantoku calls for time.
Oh, that sucks. Muramatsu misses on one pitch and Hayashinaka drives it to right. The infield is in, and that will fall in for a sayonara hit. Tsuruga Kehi wins at the death 4-3.
Well, I suppose it was going to suck at this point no matter when Shizuoka lost, but just 1 out from enchousen and things just fall apart.
But from the last couple of innings you had the feeling that while both teams were pressing, Tsuruga Kehi was having better success. And so I guess the ending could have been expected.
Muramatsu really did his best after being pressed into service early. I think he perhaps was reaching his limit, especially facing a team like Tsuruga Kehi. They were fortunate in scoring the runs they did because otherwise the offense struggled - as one would expect. I'm not sure if the break did benefit Hiranuma or not because he certainly didn't give in near the end.
But the offensive woes continue. It was a slog after Hiranuma's early HR, and it's like the rest of the team plays like a rural qualifer. That just won't do, and facing Osaka Touin next means that Hiranuma will be pressed hard to keep the score low.