The next game will be hard for me to handicap because one team I only saw halfway.
Hanasaki Tokuharu I could only watch half of because the prior game (Iwamichisuikan v Kounan) ran so long due to the numerous P changes. Of course, by the time I had to shut it down, they were well on their way to annihilating Misawa Shougyou 15-3. Because of said annihilation though, there isn't a whole lot you can take from the game. About the only thing is that ace Kamakura still only struck out 5, so the dominance wasn't complete per se.
As for Tsuruoka Higashi, the big issue is if ace Fukutani is feeling comfortable on the mound. He had been hit by a liner later in the game and them proceeded to give up several runs thereafter. The only issue is that the pitching of Tottori Jyouhoku wasn't all that spectacular.
(Well, that answers my question. #10 Matsuzaki is taking the hill)
Tsuruoka Higashi (Yamagata)
2B Tanabe Kazu
1B Fujii Shunsuke
CF Kakizaki Kou
LF Abe Hiroshi
SS Ajiki Kanta
RF Maruyama Hiroshi
3B Kurokawa Hiroto
C Takemoto Daiki
P Matsuzaki Yoshihiro (#10)
Hanasaki Tokuharu (Saitama)
LF Kuguu Ryuuya
2B Oota Kousei
SS Okazaki Daisuke
CF Ootaki Aito
RF Satomi Haruki
3B Kusumoto Kouki (#15)
C Sasaya Takumi
P Kamakura Tomoya
1B Kamimura Kouta
10:55 - First pitch!
Leadoff walk by Kamakura to start the game isn't a good sign, but gets some help as Fujii bunts into the 1-6-3 double play.
And that double play is a shame because Kakizaki and Abe ring base hits to center and left respectively.
Ajiki flies out to left, and despite 3 baserunners, Tsuruoka Higashi gets 0 runs.
Well, Tanabe being kept busy in the 1st as all three groundballs go to him. He makes a great play for the last one as the side is retired.
Once again Tsuruoka Higashi gets baserunners thanks to Kamakura. He walks Kurokawa and then hits Takemoto with one down.
But quickly thereafter Matsuzaki pops out and Tanabe flies out to left.
Ootaki gets a leadoff single and after a bunt Hanasaki Tokuharu is on the verge of opening the scoring.
But Matsuzaki gets Kusumoto to chase a slider for the 2nd out.
Sasaya a hard shot to short, but Ajiki makes the pick! It puts on the seat of his pants, but he gets up and makes the throw to 1st for the 3rd out!
Fujii a rip shot that bounces off Kusumoto and deflects all the way behind 2nd base for a single. He's bunted over, but Abe strikes out.
Sasaya though makes an error trying to pick him off, and ends up hitting Fujii! The ball goes to the outfield and Fujii takes 3rd!
But Ajiki weakly grounds to 2nd and another runner is left on base.
Matsuzaki issues his first walk to Kamakura, but when they go for the hit-and run Kamimura strikes out and Kamakura gets thrown out.
Kuguu gets on base via an error on the throw by Tanabe, but a fly to right makes it a non-issue.
Maruyama with a drive to deep right center and he's in with a double!
Kurokawa lays down the bunt, but Maruyama doesn't advance! Maybe he thought he might be thrown out at 3rd, but either way the bunt fails!
Takemoto flies out to left so it's up to Matsuzaki.
Matsuzaki hard shot at Kusumoto! He blocks it, picks it up, and make the throw to 1st for the 3rd out!
Okazaki gets a leadoff 4-pitch walk. Ootaki not bunting, but succumbs to Matsuzaki's slider.
It's a bunt and run as Kuguu lays it down! Matsuzaki still tries to go to 2nd, but the runner is safe. They still get Kuguu at 1st, so all is not lost.
Kusumoto hits one right to Maruyama, and the side is retired.
Another walk! Kamakura walks Tanabe to start the inning.
AH!!! But he strays too far from the base on the bunt attempt and Sasaya guns him down!
And with that momentum is lost for the inning. Fujii and Kakizaki are retired soon after and the side is retired.
Sasaya wiht a single to center and Hanasaki Tokuharu has their 4th leadoff runner on.
But Kamkura can't lay down the bunt and three bunts his way to an out!
Kamimura grounds into a fielder's choice and there's quickly 2 down.
AH!!! Matsuzaki throws to 1st and they pick off Kamimura for the 3rd out!
We hit the break deadlocked at 0, but both sides have had opportunities they couldn't take advantage of, and not to mention that there has been baserunning errors everywhere. Can't tell if it's pressure or what, but whomever can put it together first will probably win this game.
Kamakura perhaps settling down post-break. He does not give up a leadoff runner, striking out Abe looking. And while Maruyama singles through the right side, with 2 outs they can do little with it.
Same can be said for Matsuzaki as he strikes out Kuguu on a tough fastball inside. After that it's 2 groundouts and the inning is over.
One down, Matsuzaki singles back up the middle.
And now Tanabe with a single through the left side! Best chance for Tsuruoka Higashi in a while!
Hanasaki Tokuharu changing pitchers! #18 Takahashi comes in relief.
And now Tsuruoka Higashi makes a change! Brings in righty #13 Sakamoto to face him!
But he strikes out on 3 straight!
Takahashi strikes out Kakizaki on an outside fastball and the side is retired!!
Ootaki leadoff single to left! He's bunted over and Hanasaki Tokuharu threatening again as Tsuruoka Higashi calls time.
Kusumoto grounder to left side, Ajiki makes another great stop! But is throw to 1st is not in time and everyone's safe!!
2-1 and Kusumoto takes off for 2nd, but the throw from Takemoto is in time! But as they run him down Ootaki edges towards home! And they give up on the out!
And Sasaya back up the middle... Ajiki can't get it! It'ts through to center and Ootaki comes home! 1-0 Hanasaki Tokuharu in the Lucky 7!!!
Takahashi ends up grounding into the 1-6-3 double play, but he now has a lead to work with!
Tsuruoka Higashi playing against the clock now as Abe pops out.
Ajiki without a hit still, but draws a 4-pitch walk.
Maruyama grounder up the 1st base line... past Kamimura and into right! Ajiki takes 3rd and a big chance for Tsuruoka Higashi to tie!
Hanasaki Tokuharu meanwhile calls time.
Kurokawa up the 3rd base line, but Kusumoto has it! It's a contact play and Ajiki's hung out to dry! 2 outs and Tsuruoka Higashi continues to struggle!
#16 Kosunagawa(?) enters to run for Maruyama (who was 3-4 on the day)! They're going for broke.
And they busted out!
Takemoto flies out to center and I think that's going to be it for Tsuruoka Higashi!
Hanasaki Tokuharu looking for that insurance run!
After a walk and a single by Okazaki, ace Fukutani finally enters.
Ootaki with a rip shot to 3rd! Kurokawa with it! Throw to 2nd.. in time! 3 out!
But now they're down to their final 3 outs.
Fukutani grounds to 1st for the first out.
Tanabe is frozen for strike 3.
And Sakamoto strikes out on the high fastball for the final out.
It was a hard fought game, with both sides making mistakes. However Hanasaki Tokuharu is able to push through a run, and that's all they needed.
I can't tell if it was just the teams were pressing, or they just couldn't find that timely hit, but for the team from Yamagata, it's another exit before the Best 8...