Sunday, March 29, 2015

Day 9, Quarterfinal 3 - Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou (Gifu) vs. Urawa Gakuin (Saitama)

Onto our matinee games on the other half of the bracket.

Urawa Gakuin has played Ryuukokudai Heian close and took an opening volley from Oomagari Kougyou. For the Meiji Jingu runners-up, it's not very impressive. The one positive you can take is that they seem to be rounding into form. It's still not as dominant as you'd like, but they could still make the run you'd be expecting.

Kengifushou has had an easier time of things, easily handling both Matsushou Gakuen and Oumi. The games were close on the scoreboard, but they were anything but on the field. It also means that they have not been tested on the field yet. Urawa Gakuin will be by far their biggest challenge. Ace Takahashi could be up to the challenge, and with Urawa Gakuin's offensive production the way it is, we could be poised for another interesting game.

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

Urawa Gakuin (Saitama)
3B Suwa Tadayoshi
2B Dai Kouta
SS Tsuda Shouki
1B Yamazaki Kouta
CF Kouki Yuushi
RF Takahashi Tsukasa
LF Araki Yuuya
C Nishino Shinya
P Eguchi Shouri


14:05 - First Pitch

1st Inning
Eguchi cannot throw a strike! 4 pitch walk to Murai, and after a sac bunt, another 4 pitch walk to Takegoshi!

But ahead 3-1 Yamada swings away! WHY? Make him throw the 2nd strike! He pops up to 3rd.

And with Katou striking out, Eguchi gets away with a lot.

Dai gets a base hit for Urawa Gakuin, but Mori-kantoku's hit-and-run backfires when it turns into a strike em out, throw em out double play.

2nd-3rd Inning
And now we seem to enter the pitcher's duel. Eguchi has settled down after his very shaky 1st inning striking out 2 at the bottom of the order.

It continues to the 3rd inning where Eguichi racks up 2 more K's. And while batter are making contact off of Takahashi, he's probably having the better of it for Kengifushou because he's using less pitches.

4th Inning+
I'm just putting a plus in because this will just be running thoughts. Or a whole lot of nothing.

Which is what both teams are doing right now. Kengifushou can't hit the broad side of a barn against Eguchi, and while Takahashi is giving up the occasional free pass, it's nothing that isn't handled.

Sure, Kouki got a booming foul that ended up in the ouen-dan section, but it was still foul. And he still struck out.

Now, Urawa finally has something in the 5th when Takahashi gets a leadoff single. But weirdly, they don't bunt with the bottom of the order. See, I mind when teams over-bunt. This would not be such a situation because you know this is going to be a close game.

But Araki doesn't pull the trigger on a ball on the outside corner.

Nishino has a liner to right, but Sakashita makes a great leaping catch. And Eguchi can't help his own cause either.

So, at the break we're deadlocked at 0. Urawa Gakuin is having the better of it at the plate, as they're at least getting opportunities.

Urawa has another chance in the 6th. Suwa drops the safety bunt and though Takahashi barehands it, he still can't make the throw to 1st in time.

But after a sac bunt, Urawa Gakuin can't get that 2nd hit. Tsuda grounds to short, and Yamazaki just hits one back to Takahashi.

Huh, I was focused on the fact that neither team was really doing anything that I finally paid attention to the fact the announcers were saying Eguchi had a no-hitter.

And then Yamada drops one just inches in front of Kouki for a base hit. Heh.

Nishino snap throw to 1st... OUT!!!

Heh. The umpire takes his sweet time, but the call is emphatic. Yamada can only drop his head as he's picked off.

And then it becomes a 1-2-3 Lucky 7.

Uh oh. Takahashi might be cracking in Urawa's Lucky 7.

Back-to-back line shots to the outfield put runners at the corners and a timeout from Ogawa-kantoku.

Oh, Katou wanted that pitch. 0-2 to Araki gets no call.

And wouldn't you know it Araki takes the next pitch back up the middle past a diving Sakashita for a base hit. 1-0 Urawa Gakuin.,

Urawa tries the squeeze, but Nishino has to do all that he can just to foul off the pitch. He eventually strikes out, but it's a hit and run, so Araki takes 2nd with no throw (Takahashi is standing on 3rd).

Eguchi manages to hit a ball to left center that Murai runs down for a catch, but is in no position to throw home. Takahashi tags up, and it's 2-0.

Ace Takahashi has had it. Suwa singles to center and it's 3-0. Ogawa-kantoku calls time, but I Kengifushou might be on their last legs now.

Dai would have had a base hit had not Murahashi stopped the ball in front of him. Makes the tag and the side is retired. But 3 runs? Good luck with that.

8th Inning
Oh, and did I mention that they have 6 outs to make the comeback?

Takahashi gets the team's 2nd hit with a ball to right center.

And contrary to the official scorer, that wasn't an error on Kariya's ball to short. It was an irregular hop and should be a single.

And for the 2nd time, down multiple runs and 2 runners on base, with 1 out - they bunt. Oy.

Hirose hits a ball into the triangle in left center, but Tsuda makes the running catch. Down to their final 3 outs now. Still don't understand that strategy.

Back-to-back doubles for Urawa Gakuin just add to the sign that Takahashi should be humanely relieved. Yes, there's only 3 outs to go, but there's no character building in this.

Takahashi gives up 1 more run, but gets the 3 outs. Guess that's not too bad.

9th Inning
That's just not right. After a leadoff single by Takegoshi, Yamada lines out to Yamazaki who just moves his foot to the bag to double up Takegoshi.

Katou gets a base hit, but PH Makimura hits one back to Eguchi to end the game.

Takahashi did well to hold off Urawa Gakuin for 6 innings, but eventually the deluge came and he couldn't stop it. With just 5 hits they have a lot of work to do. But if Takahashi can improve his stamina, they'll stand a better chance.

Meanwhile, I have no clue what Mori-kantoku is doing over there at Urawa Gakuin, but he's making pitchers who throw average into staff aces - except for perhaps the 1st inning... and that Sendai Ikuei game. Still don't understand that crazy game.

Anyways, Eguchi will need that day off because in all likelihood it's Kendai Takasaki in the semifinals. Which coincidentally was when they played in the Kanto super-regionals. You know they've been circling this possible matchup as a revenge match.

1 comment:

Mike DeJong said...

Thanks for the update! Awesome. Go Saitama!
That bunt strategy boggles my mind too. Do some managers not understand percentages?