Saturday, August 8, 2015

Day 3, Game 1 - Imabari Nishi (Ehime) v Waseda Jitsugyou (Nishi Tokyo)

As is the case generally when it comes to the Koushien tournament, rarely if ever does the entire tournament feel compelling from start to finish. I was fortunate to be part of one back in 2006 which included another late-inning loss by Kanzei (to Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku), the elation and debacle that was the Teikyou-Chiben Wakayama game, and the 1st ever draw in a final and the subsequent replay between Waseda Jitsygyou (Saitou Yuuki) and Komadai Tomakomai (Tanaka Masahiro). The last game of the day, while long in duration, was compelling even if my body was about to just force quit into sleep mode.

Anyways, we move onto Day 3 where quite a few powerhouse teams will take the stage. First up is the aforementioned Waseda Jitsugyou (aka Soujitsu) who hasn't really been the same since that title run.

However, they appear to have rounded into form. As part of their 6 wins to the title, they had to get through Toritsu Hino (which they almost didn't), Nichidai-san, and Toukaidai Sugao. Compare that to Imabari Nishi, whose only key win might be in the final against Komatsu where they eked out a 4-3 win.

While Imabari Nishi has been a regular competitor at Koushien, it's advantage Tokyo in this matchup.

Oh, and do you notice the name playing at 1B for Waseda Jitsugyou? He said he wanted to play for them when his team won the LLWS. Yep, it's Kiyomiya Koutarou.

Imabari Nishi (Ehime)
SS Sugiuchi Kouki
2B Nakauchi Riki
C Takao Yousuke
P Fujiwara Yoshiki
CF Yamauchi Jyunya
1B Akigawa Atsushi
LF Kikugawa Tomoki
RF Sugino Akihiko
3B Yoshiwara Yuunosuke

Waseda Jitsugyou (Nishi Tokyo)
3B Yamada Jyunpei
RF Tamagawa Ryou
1B Kiyomiya Koutarou
C Katou Masaki
SS Kaneko Ginyu(?)
2B Tomita Naoki
LF Taguchi Kinomasa
P Matsumoto Kou
CF Watanabe Daichi


08:02 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Sugiuchi drives a ball to right, Tamagawa goes back, then has to leap up and makes the catch. Almost got fooled there.

Matsumoto gets a 1-2-3 inning, but early on Imabari Nishi's batters are taking their pitches.

Bottom 1st
Yamaguchi base hit up the middle. Bunt over and Kiyomiya already has a scoring opporunity.

Fujiwara goes after him, pitching inside and getting a popout to 1st.

There's always a danger of going inside, and Fujiwara hits Katou. Oono-kantoku calls for time.

Fujiwara leaves one right over the plate and Kaneko drives it to right center. That'll bounce all the way to the wall for a 2-run triple. Soujitsu already up 2-0.

Uh oh. Grouner to 1st was to end the ining, but Fujiwara whiffs receiving the ball and the error scores another run. 3-0. Imabari Nishi quickly with their back to the wall.

2nd Inning
Imabari Nishi is able to get their first hit when Akigawa doubles off the wall in left center. It's with 2 down though and he's left stranded.

It winds up being a quick inning all around as Fujiwara retires the 8-9-1 of the Waseda lineup in order.

3rd Inning
Imabari Nishi gets 2 base hits, but they're again with 2 outs. Takao hits a grounder to 2nd, and that's that for the chance.

Fujiwara was given a mandate to pitch inside, but he hits Kiyomiya. And then Katou.

And the Oono-kantoku plays musical chairs. Fujiwara to 1B, Akigawa to 3B, Yoshiwara to 2B, Nakauchi to SS, and Sugiuchi to P.

After a 4 pitch walk, more changes.

#12 Katou comes in for Kikugawa and takes over at C, Takao goes to 1B, Fujiwara to CF, and Yamauchi to LF.

After a K, Sugiuchi falls behind 3-0 to Tagouchi, but finds a way to fill up the count.

Sugiuchi jams him and gets a flyout to left! They get out of the jam with no damage!

Bottom 4th
Situation developing for Waseda as Watanabe and Yamaguchi get back-to-back singles to right. Oono-kantoku has to call time again when the count goes to 3-0 on Tamagawa... and Kiyomiya on deck.

They fight, and get fortunate when Tamagawa check swings a popup to 1st.  And then Kiyomiya goes after the 1st pitch and flies out to center! Imabari Nishi out of another jam, but still trailing.

5th Inning
It's another 2 out hit for Imabari Nishi as Sugiuchi goes to the wall in center. Nakuchi draws a walk, but they still need a base hit.

And they can't get it. Takao pops up to Kiyomiya, and that's 2 more stranded.

It's 1-2-3 for Waseda and we're at the break. Imabari Nishi has prevented it from becoming a blowout, but the offense needs those base hits they're getting earlier in the inning instead of with 2 outs.

Top 6th
Seems like they listened?

Yamauchi singles to center, Akigawa singles to left.

But Katou right to Yamaguchi, steps on bag and throw to 1st for the double play.

Bottom 7th
Tamagawa with a 1-out double to left center, Kiyomiya finally pays it off with a solid through ball on the right side, plating the runner and making it 4-0.

Katou follows that up with another base hit, and it finally feels like Imabari Nishi has finally cracked.  2 batters later, Tomita doubles down the right field line and it's 6-0.

Rest of game
Imabari Nishi rolls over after that, retired in order in the 8th and 9th to close out the game. They had chances, but they weren't of the optimal variety and could never deliver the timely hit.

Waseda Jitsugyou advances, but doesn't look all that impressive doing so. They'll need to especially get the pitching straightened out unles they're of the bend, but not break variety.

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