I've been looking forward to this game, if nothing else because I'm curious as to how this team will do.
That team is Osaka Kaisei.
They were considered as an unknown team to me, but yet had improved over the last several years. What made this run impressive is that their recent losses included Osaka Touin, Ookanmuri and Osaka Taiikudai Namishou.
Who did they beat in the final 3 games to claim the title?
Osaka Touin, Ookanmuri and Osaka Taiikudai Namishou.
As the saying goes, "How 'bout them apples?"
As for Hieizan, they defeated both Kita-Ootsu and Oumi to win the title. Can't get much better than that in-prefecture for form. The question is if that is enough against these upstarts.
Osaka Kaisei (Osaka)
CF Himeno Yuuya
3B Toshima Hiroyoshi
2B Nishioka Yamato
C Tabata Takumi
1B Kishi Raidai
RF Hamaguchi Naoya
LF Fukuda Takeshi
P Mitsuda Yuuya
SS Matoba Yuuto
SS Hayashi Akito
CF Andachi Noritaka
C Nishikawa Naoki
1B Nakashima Shougo (#1)
2B Yokoe Rio (#14)
LF Harada Ryoutarou
3B Yamamoto Shuuhei (#15)
P Yamazaki Ryouta (#18)
RF Maeda Daichi
13:20 - First pitch!
Yamazaki almost gets a clean inning but Yokoe boots a ball from Nishoka.
Tabata punishes that immediately with a screamer down the 3rd base line just fair and past Yamamoto! Runners at the corners and Osaka Kaisei has something small brewing.
Not small anymore! Kishi rips a shor back up the middle and both runners score! It's 2-0 just like that!!
Mitsuda paints the inside corner to get Hayashi to start his game.
But Andachi singles to center, and then steals 2nd thereafter! Definitely not going to be easy.
No problem for Mitsuda though. retires Nishikawa and Nakashima harmlessly to end the inning.
A hit batter for Mitsuda comes back to bite him as starter Yamazaki lines a ball over Matoba for a base hit making it a 2-1 game.
2 down again and Osaka Kaisei starts things up. Tabata singles to right, and then Kishi draws a walk.
Hamaguchi makes the at bat long and drawn out, but gets rung up on a borderline pitch to end the inning.
The action is coming out of nowhere!
Andachi with a bunt base hit, and he steals 2nd again! This time it pays off as Nishikawa on the next pitch singles to right, and Andachi makes it home easily to tie the game!
And just as quickly as that run is scored, Nakashima lines out to 2nd and Nishikawa is doubled off to end the inning!
Osaka Kaisei gets leadoff hits in each inning, lays down the bunt, but can't do anything with it. Meanwhile, Hieizan gest runners on base, but then gets themselves run out of the inning, thrown out at 2nd each time. It would appear we are at an impasse.
Yet another leadoff hit for Osaka Kaisei. This time though Fukuda's bunt isn't good at all, but he's fast enough to avoid the double play.
Which is fortunate because he goes and steals second!
And that hustle is paid off! Last batter Matoba, with 2 down, squeezes one past a diving Yamamoto down the line! Fukuda comes around to score and Osaka Kaisei retakes the 3-2 lead!
Nishikawa leads of with a single of his own for Hieizan and too is bunted over. Yokoe fouls pitch after pitch off, but eventually succumbs. The ball is in the dirt though and when Tabata has to throw to 1st, Nishikawa takes 3rd! They still need a hit, but the cushion is greater.
Harada though grounds to 1st and Nishikawa for his effort is left 90 feet short.
Hieizan running out of time, gets a leadoff hit from Yamamoto. Sends in #4 Miyazaki to hit for Yamazaki meaning his day is over. But the PH doesn't work, and things get so bad that Hayashi with 2 down tries to bunt for a hit.
#10 Oohara comes in and created a situation for himself where he hits 2 of the first 3 batters.
Things go almost terribly wrong when a liner by Mitsuda almost gets by the defense if not for a leaping catch by Harada. In the end no damae was done.
Nishikawa with his 3rd hit, a one-out ringing liner to center.
Nakashima a ball down the right field line... FAIR!! Nishikawa goes to 3rd and Hieizan is in business!
But Yokoe screams a ball to 2nd! Nishoka awkwardly tosses to 2nd for 1, throw to 1st... DOUBLE PLAY!!! The terrible dive into 1st wouldn't have changed things, but what a bad break for Hieizan!
Himeno with a ball to deep left center! Andachi back, back to the wall... It's off the wall for and Himeno in with a double!
Toshima bunting, but Nishikawa up with it quickly and fires to 3rd... OUT! They knew the bunt was coming, they crashed on the ball and got the lead runner!
Oohara closes out the frame, but they need to find a run in the last 3 outs.
Harada fighting each pitch with all he's got, but can't catch up to a pitch inside.
But Yamamoto does! He inside outs one past a diving Matoba for a base hit!
#13 Furuhashi hits for Oohara, and tries the drag bunt! The toss is just in time to get the out and Hieizan is down to their final out!
And they'll put it in the hands of their captain. #5 Kawai hits for Maeda.
BASE HIT! Down to his last strike Kawai singles to left! Fukuda fires home as Yamamoto is waved around, but it's not in time! We're tied at 3-3!!!
And now Hayashi singles to center! Could Hieizan actually end it here??
NO! Andachi grounds to 1st and for the consecutive games, we're off to enchousen!
With Oohara out, #11 Nishimura comes in to take the mound. His sidearm motion gets the first two out, but can't stop Fukuda from getting his 2nd hit of the game.
Mitsuda with a ball that sneaks by Yokoe for a base hit! Fukuda goes to 3rd, and Nishimura's got to be careful as time is called.
Matoba drive to right center! That will score Fukuda and Osaka Kaisei has the 4-3 lead!
Nakashima comes in to take the hill finally as the ace number.
But his first pitch is ripped to the left side! Mitsuda and Matoba score and it's 6-3!
Toshima with a ball off of Nakashima and there's no play! One more run in and it's 7-3!!
Nishioka with their 6th consecutive hit! How bad will it get??
Tabata finally grounds to 3rd to end the inning, but 6 straight hits with 2 down crush any hopes Hieizan had.
And while Nishikawa gets his 4th hit of the game, that's all they can muster as they fall by that score.
Got to feel bad for Hieizan having come back like they did only to lose like that. Of course they're understandably upset. But they've got nothing to be ashamed of.
Osaka Kaisei didn't look like a world beater today. but they don't have to be all the time. Just when they need to. Still, it'll be interesting to see how they progress.