Our matinee game is a headliner for sure, and a regional affair to boot.
Sendai Ikuei has certainly put the offense on full as usual, racking up 19 runs in their first 2 games most recently defeating Takigawa Dai-ni. However, the team is susceptible to long stretches without scoring opportunities, and ace Satou Sena is not a power pitcher - though I'm not sure if any of the aces here are.
Hanamaki Higashi may have finally gotten the formula right. At first they were a plucky squad that grinded out games, putting pressure with running bases and the like. They're still doing it here, but it's more planned than just turning the dial to 11.
This should be a great way to start the afternoon session.
Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi)
3B Satou Shouta
CF Aoki Reima
SS Hirasawa Taiga
C Gunji Yuuya
1B Sasaki Ryousuke
LF Kii Kaishuu
RF Sasaki Tooya
2B Yatsu Koudai
P Doumeki Yuuki (#10)
Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate)
SS Tarou Akira
C Fukushima Keito
LF Chida Kyouhei
2B Kumagai Sena
CF Sasaki Yuuya
1B Satou Yuito
RF Chiba Kouta (#11)
3B Kikuchi Shinya
P Katou Mitsunori (#17)
13:15 - First pitch!
The siren isn't even done blaring and Shouta is at first with a single. Aoki quickly bunts him over.
Hirasawa draws a 4-pitch walk, and are they already in trouble?
Gunji base hit the other way! Shouta coming home and it's already 1-0 Sendai Ikuei!
Ryousuke with another single the other way! Hirasawa comes home and it's 2-0!
Kii hot shot to 3rd! Kikuchi has it! Goes to the bag for 1, throw to first gets the double play! But before that though Sendai Ikuei strikes first in the opening frame for a pair of runs!
Hanamaki Higashi, looking to immediately cut into that deficit gets a walk from Tarou, who is bunted over.
Chida gets under a pitch and hits a blooper to left. Kii and Hirasawa converge, but it falls in! Tarou gambles and goes for it and thus is able to score! 2-1!
Yuuya singles through the right side and it's runners at the corners with 2 outs for Yuito!
But they try the double steal! Hirasawa fires back home and they get Chida for the 3rd out! That's a a really questionable call there, especially with 2 down.
And now Hanamaki Higashi is sending in ace Takahashi!
Tooya grounder to short! Tarou is able to run it down, but the throw is late and wide!
And now Takahashi hits Yatsu! Hanamaki Higashi back in hot water again!
Doumeki helping his own cause slicing ball down the left field line and all the way to the wall for a double! Tooya scores and it's 3-1.
Shouta walks on 4 straight and it's manrui for Sendai Ikuei!
Aoki liner up the middle, Tarou with the diving catch! Can't quite double off Doumeki, but that's a key out.
Takahashi then strikes out Hirasawa and Hanamaki Higashi is a pitch away from getting out of it,
Grounder to short and Tarou can flip to 2nd to end the inning.
Yuito lines a ball right at Shouta's head! He ducks, but can't get the glove quite on the ball as it goes to left for a base hit.
Chiba tries to bunt, but it's too short and Gunji fires to 2nd to cut down the lead runner.
Unfortunately, Kikuchi does ground into the 5-4-3 double play and the side is retired.
After the first 2 innings, Takahashi is glad to get a clean, short inning to get some rest.
One down and Tarou gets plunked.. Sasaki-kantoku goes for the hit-and-run, but Chida grounds to short. Tarou beats Hirasawa to 2nd, but Hirasawa is still able to go to 1st for the out.
Grounder to short, and it's still a relatively quiet inning.
One down and Doumeki showing at least he is the better batter as he singles back up the middle. But two grounders to short later and the side is retired.
Kumagai hits a ball to left. Kii back to the wall. He looks up!
Kumagai hits a HR to left and brings Hanamaki Higashi within 1!
And after Yuito gets a base hit off of Doumeki, that'll be it for Doumeki.. for now anyways.
Satou Sena comes in for Sasaki Tooya and takes the hill. Doumeki goes to RF.
Pulls the string on Chiba with the forkball for the 2nd out, and then on the next pitch gets Kikuchi to ground to 3rd. Still Hanamaki Higashi is hanging in there!
2 down for Sendai Ikuei and Ryousuke singles to left, then Kii singles to right and there's runners at the corners.
Sena liner, but right to Tarou for the 3rd out!
There literally wasn't a bottom of the 5th. Sena needed just 4 pitches and we're at the break.
After a shaky start by both relief starters on the mound, the aces have taken over. But unfortinately for Hanamaki Higashi they find themselves down a run at the break.
One out and there's a reason Doumeki was left in. He gets his 3rd single of the game. And Sendai Ikuei will play for a run? Shouta bunts the runner over.
Takahashi leaves a ball up! Aoki drives it to left... and over Chida's head!! That's to the wall!
Doumeki scores from 1st, Aoki going for 3rd! Relay throw in.... OUT!!!
Aoki tries to take one base too many and the side is retired, but he does reestablish the 2-run lead at 4-2!
Chida with a ball to the left side. It's past a diving Shouta, but not Hirasawa! Fires to first and they nail him!
After that, it's 1-2-3 and perhaps Hanamaki Higashi is in trouble!
Yuito grounder to 3rd, throw from Shouta, short hops 1st and it's into foul territory! Yuito takes 2nd (just) on the error!
And they'll play for the run as Chiba bunts him over.
Kikuchi gets the run in as he flies out to right. 4-3.
That winds up being all they get, but they're within a run.
Two down and Yatsu gets hit preventing the clean inning.
Doumeki ball up the middle, Kumagai sliders over... but it's off him and into center! It's runners at the corners!
But Shouta grounds to short and the inning is over!
Hanamaki Higashi though goes down quickly in order. They still need 1 run, and now they have just 3 outs to go.
Hanamaki Higashi in trouble again! With 1 out, after Hirasawa walks, Gunji's bunt gets fielded by Fukushima, but the ball slips out of the glove! All safe!
Ryouta with a liner to left! Chida coming in, dives.. makes the catch!
And Kii strikes out to retire the side! They're able to hold serve, but...
It's the zero hour.
Kumagai grounds to 2nd and there's already 1 down.
But Yuuya lines a ball just over third for a base hit!
But then they try to steal 2nd??? Gunji fires... and they get him! 2 out!!!
Yuito with a ball to right, and Doumeki plays it safe and lets it drop in front of him. They're still alive as #9 Fukuchi runs for Yuito.
And after a strike, #14 Komatsu comes in for Chiba?
Grounder to 2nd, throw to 1st, and that's the ball game! Sendai Ikuei advances to the Best 8!