When Meitoku Gijyuku showed their draw, a gasp came upon the entire hall. That was because they had just drawn Tsuruga Kehi, the spring champions. Now, Kishi isn't part of that team, but a matchup such as this early on means one less team to worry about.
Hiranuma is back, though they almost weren't as Fukui Koudai Fukui pushed him to the limit, though they eventually won in 11. The offense wasn't as strong in that game either pushing through 4 runs. Doesn't mean that they can't pull off the haru-natsu renzoku yuushou, but perhaps there will be questions about how the long run might wear them down.
As for Meitoku Gijyuku, they also had a close final against Kochi - blowing a 5-run lead in the bottom of the 8th, and then somehow finding a way to rally in the 9th for a 7-6 win. I don't have the details about how Kochi came back in that game, but a big inning like that late in a championship raises a yellow flag of sorts.
Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi)
LF Shichihyou Ryuuya
CF Sanada Kazuto
3B Shindou Ren
1B Furukawa Takuto
RF Sada Ryousuke
C Koga Yuudai
SS Takamura Kazuyuki
P Hida Toshiki
2B Fujimoto Hyouga
Tsuruga Kehi (Fukui)
3B Shinohara Ryou
1B Kurisu Kazuma
SS Hayashinaka Yuuki
P Hiranuma Shouta
CF Yamamoto Kouta
RF Matsumoto Teppei (#7)
LF Kinoshita Shougo (#9)
C Kamon Yuusuke
2B Nakai Kidzuku
10:30 - First pitch!
Shichihyou a chopper up the 3rd base line, takes a right turn and goes fair past Shinohara who can only watch. That was weird.
And now Hiranuma uncorks one after a bunt? Shichihyou at 3rd.
Shindou with a check swing, and the ball goes over Nakai for a single! In one of the strangest manners, Meitoku Gijyuku scores the first run.
Meanwhile, Hida off to a great start. Some slight issues defensively, but as easy as a 1-2-3 inning as you can get.
Hiranuma trying to get that run back, singles to right to start the frame. After a sac bunt, Hida issues a 4-pitch walk, bringing up Kinoshita.
And now a dead ball? Mabuchi-kantoku quickly calls time.
Kamon hits a comebacker to Hida! Goes home for 1, Koga goes to 1st, and that is the easiest double play you'll ever see. Inning over!!
This doesn't feel like the same Hiranuma. He's giving up solid base hits and issuing walks.
Such is the case here when Sanada singles to right, and then Shindou waits on a borderline pitch and gets the walk.
And now Furukawa with a single throught he right side and Sanada scores to make it 2-0.
Hiranuma leaves one up and Sada singles to left! Shindou comes around, and he scores! 3-0!
Hiranuma not hitting bombs, but at least getting on base. I'm sure Meitoku Gijyuku is fine with singles.
But Tsuruga Kehi can't seem to string them together. A single after a fielder's choice (that could have just as easily been a double play) still gives them a chance, but Kinoshita grounds out to end the inning.
Shinohara desperately gets something started, lines a 2-out double down the right field line.
Kurisu with a single to center, but Sanada fires home! The throw is on a line and is on target! Shinohara is meat at the plate!! We go to the break as the spring champs are denied!
Hayashinaka drive to left! Shichihyou gives up on it!
That was a big one! Going off the outfield wall separating them from the ouen-dan!
Hiranuma with another single! Yoshimoto too! Oh.... Kehi is pissed off at the 5th inning.
That's it for Hida, Shichihyou comes in from LF to take the hill.
Matsumoto single to center! Hiranuma held at 3rd and Meitoku is at a big risk of losing this lead!
Kinoshita fly to left center, Hiranuma being sent home... SAFE! It's 3-2!
Shichihyou does manage to keep the 8/9 batters hitless, but what was ever more seemingly like a safe lead is not one anymore!
Hiranuma doing his part on the mound, has delivered his 4th straight clean inning to turn it back to his offense.
Shinohara leadoff single through the right side! After a bunt, Mabuchi-kantoku makes a P change?
Shichihyou goes back to LF and now Sada comes in from RF!
He gets Hayashinaka to ground to 1st! Shinohara has to hold at 3rd!
But it's the dangerous Hiranuma!
Hiranuma strikes out swinging on a slider away and the side is retired!!
Yamamoto with a drive to deep right center! That's off the eall, and he's in with a triple!
Matsumoto a blooper to left, Sonoda charging in, charging in... Can't get there! Yamamoto comes in and we're all tied at 3-3!
Mori to hit for Kinoshita, can't lay down the bunt.
Liner to 2nd! And Matsumoto is doubled off 1st! 2 out!
But now Kamon an Nakai's bats come to life! They each get a single and more importantly turn the lineup over!
Sada strikes out Shinohara swinging and the inning is over! But the game is tied and all the momentum is with the champs!
Furukawa with a leadoff single! He's quickly bunted over.
Koga chopper to the right side, Shinohara flubs the ball! Everyone's safe! Can Meitoku really rebound?
Takamura grounds right to Shinohara already standing on the bag, throw to 1st... double play!
Kurisu screaming liner to center! Sanada charging, makes another fine play! Hayashinaka down on 3 sraight, bringing up Hiranuma.
Sada not intimidated goes after him and gets ahead in the count!
Hiranuma hits it to 2nd! Fujimoto to 1st. and we're headed to enchousen!
The bats for Meitoku slowly waking up again. Shichihyou gets a 2-out single, but that's all.
Matsumoto doing even better this game as he gets on base for the 5th time with one down, and the 2nd via a walk. I'm not sure Sada wanted anything to do with him. And yet he went after Hiranuma.
Mabuchi-kantoku calls for time after Mori bunts the runner over.
Wild pitch from Sada!! Matsumoto advances to 3rd!!
And with the account already at 2-0, they go ad walk Kamon to bring up last batter Nakai.
And they end up walking him too! It creates a force, but it also turns the lineup over!
Shinohara puts the final dagger in with a clean single back up the middle! Tsuruga Kehi comes back to win 4-3 in 10 innings!
That was a shame really. Meitoku played a great game and seemed to have the tiger caged up. But once they let even a small crack upen, Tsuruga Kehi blew right through it. They almost put them back in the cage in the 9th, but it was not to be.
And you can only play with fire so many times. Getting that 3rd out before the lineup turned over was imperative, and they didn't do it, and it cost them the game.
Tsuruga Kehi has to be counting their blessings they came back here. Hiranuma shut it down after a shaky start, and certainly it'll get slightly easier, but they also have work to do.