So who will play X in the finals?
Will it be Toukaidai Sagami who had their biggest test last time out against Hanasaki Tokuharu? Or will it be Kanto Dai-ichi who has survived 3 close, and yet vastly different, ballgames?
In that game for Toukaidai Sagami, it wasn't until late, and with some help from the defense of Hanasaki Tokuharu that they were able to win. Outside of that 9th inning, they had 5 times when they had runners in scoring position, and converted twice and the on e in the 8th wouldn't have scored if the pitcher wasn't called for a balk.
Their offense literally lives and dies by the middle of the lineup, which was 19/33 in the last 2 games. The 8-9-1-2 batters were 2/30.
Kanto Dai-ichi lives at the top of the lineup. And from their games so far, can play any type of game that is needed and hang in there.
Kanto Dai-ichi (Higashi Tokyo)
CF Okoye Rui
3B Ihashi Toshiki
SS Itou Masato
1B Igarashi Yuuki
RF Nagashima Ryouma
2B Kuroda Shunta
C Suzuki Daichi
P Abe Takeshi (#10)
Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa)
2B Chino Keijirou
CF Miyaji Kyouhei
SS Sugisaki Shigeki
RF Toyoda Hiroshi
1B Isoami Eito
C Nagakura Ren
LF Takeuchi Daiki
3B Kawaji Seitarou
P Yoshida Ryou (#11)
13:22 - First Pitch!
Well, much like last game, Okoye struggles in his first AB, succumbing to the slider in front of the plate.
Ihashi also goes down swinging.
But Itou draws a full count walk to keep the inning going...
That is, until he's caught stealing 2nd.
Chino first pitch swings, and lines a single to left.
Miyaji not bunting, lines a ball over Ihashi down the left field line! Chino given the green light around 3rd, and there's no throw! 1-0 Sagami just like that!
Make that 2-0! Sugisaki lines a ball down the right field line this time for another double!
Toyoda hits a ball to deep left, that's going... going...
Tokaidai Sagami off to a dream start! It's now 4-0!
Isoami down the right field line again!! He's in with a double!
Now Abe is broken. He walks Nagakura, and Yonezawa-kantoku's seen enough. #16 Kaneko enters the game.
Nagashima tries to start the long road back with a one out single back up the middle. They go for the hit-and-run, which saves Nagashima as he beats out Yoshida's throw to 2nd.
Moriyama gets plunked in the inner arm and is down for a little while. Seems ok now.
Suzuki flies out to center and the inning is over.
While Chino gets his 2nd base hit of the game, and in as many innings, they go for the bunt.
With 2 down, it looks like Kanto Dai-ichi is going to get out of it, until Itou's pickof the ball goes off his glove and up his arm instead. It goes in the air and Chino can score making it 5-0.
The inning ends when Moriyama makes a leaping catch sprinting back to the wall on a ball hit by Isoami.
Kaneko gets a base hit to lead off the 3rd, bit while there is no bunting, none of the top 3 of Kanto's lineup can do anything.
Kaneko is shutting things down on his end, but the offense needs to get going and quick.
Igarashi leads off with another base hit, and is moved over to 3rd with 2 outs.
Moriyama draws a walk, but Suzuki grounds out to 3rd to end the inning.
Meanwhile, Chino gets his 3rd hit of the game - all singles. 2 down and Sugisaki gets his 2nd double, somehow getting it past Sugisaki and again down the right field line.
Kuroda though is fooled and has to reach out to make contact. Flyball to center and Okoye has it for the 3rd out.
Kaneko gets a base hit to start the inning. But after he's moved to 2nd, Kanto Dai-ichi looks to hve gotten a break when Yoshida-Isoami-Chino all converge on a bunt by Isoami. With no play, Isoami fires to 3rd and they get Kaneko out at 3rd.
Isoami gets thrown out trying to steal 2nd, and Kanto Dai-ichi looks done.
Isoami got a single back up the middle. Nagakura bunts, and Ihashi throws the ball high. E5, runners at corners.
Another sac bunt, Yoshida gets to it, sees the runner isn't coming home, tries to fire to 1st, but that's off line too.
Kawaji singles through the right side, 7-0 and Yoshida hands the ball off to #11 Komatsubara. He quickly gets 2 outs, including Chino for the first time this game.
But now Miyaji gets his 2nd hit, and scores 2 more. 9-0.
Kanto Dai-ichi gets a chance to break the shutout, but with runners on 1st and 2nd, Moriyama can't pull the trigger on a slider and the side is retired.
Moriyama guesses wrong on a fly ball by Sugisaki an it falls just fair for a double. 2 flyballs later and it's 10-0.
Rest of game
In the 7th Kanto Dai-ichi as a 2-out single by Okoye comes around to score on a double by Itou. 10-1.
With Yoshida at 130+ pitches, ace Ogasawara takes the hill in the 8th.
And things aren't going as planned. Despite hitting 147, he gives up singles to Nagashima and Kuroda. After a K, Suzuki hits a ball back up the middle. Sugisaki makes the diving stop, finds no play at 1st, goes to 3rd. Kuroda is hung up, so he goes for home. The rundown breaks down immediately as Kuroda passes Nagakura and scores! 10-3.
Ogasawara does get the final 2 outs, but the performance this inning is concerning. I think Toukaidai Sagami's pitching is in trouble tomorrow.
Kanto Dai-ichi continues to get solid contact against Ogasawara, but
it's more than too late for Kanto Dai-ichi as the game ends at that
score. Still, for Kanto Dai-ichi it's an impressive run given the games they had to play - even though in the end they fell short.