Well, that was a very normal and competitive game. Something we've not really had. Hopefully this one will also be competitive.
Chuuetsu comes in after a 12 year hiatus, having defeated Hokuestu and the ever present Nihon Bunri for the title. The team batted 0.357 during their run, though the pitching did give up a couple of runs each time out.
Takigawa Dai-ni comes back after 3 years off. batting just 0.330 while facing none of the major Hyogo teams. Perhaps Akashi Shougyou in the finals or Suma Shoufuu in the quaterfinals, but they appear untested.
Niigata tends to be weak, even with Nihon Bunri, but the form reads an advantage to Chuuetsu.
LF Irisawa Takehiro
SS Nagai Kaito
CF Kobayashi Fumiya
C Namikata Ryou
1B Hatta Takeshi
3B Kobayashi Hiroki (#9)
RF Sekigawa Reo (#15)
P Takai Ryou (#10)
2B Iguchi Shuuichi
Takigawa Dai-ni (Hyogo)
CF Negoro Shouta
LF Ooshima Masato
3B Kawakita Akihiro
1B Tatehata Ryouta
2B Yamana Hiromu
SS Yuuki Takara
RF Aoki Eiji
C Shibamoto Yuuki
P Tomoi Hiroto
13:40 - First pitch!
Irisawa with a blooper just out of the reach of Yamana to start the game. After that Tomoi walks Nagai which allows Fumiya to bunt the runners over.
Namikata grounds to 2nd, and it was another contact play. Yamana goes home and the runner is meat. He stays in rundown until Namikata can reach 2nd.
Hatta comes thtough though! Single back up the middle and it's 1-0 Chuuetsu!
Hiroki flies out to end the inning, but the Niigata champs are on the board!
Negoro with either what was a check swing bunt or a real check swing, beats out the chopper for a base hit. Although a wild pitch sends him to 2nd, Ooshima can't bunt him over and three-bunts his way to a K.
Kawaand Tatehata both grounds to 1st and the threat is neutralized.
The teams were quickly changing sides until Shibamoto doubled past Fumiya. Tomoi's bunt failed when Takai looked the runner back.
But back to the top of the lineup and Negoro gets his 2nd hit, a single that goes off Nagai into center. Since the ball almost was fielded Shibamoto had to hold for an extra second.
Ooshima though completes the round! He singles to center and that scores Shibamoto to make it 1-1!
Kawakita with a hard hit ball back up the middle! It's off Takai and right to Nagai who goes to 2nd for 1, but Kawakita beats out the throw. Inning still alive, but a bad break for Takigawa.
Tatehata grounds to 2nd, but we have a new ballgame!
Takigawa Dai-ni seems to have the momentum now. Yamana doubles down the right field line and is bunted over. Aoki gets some hard luck when his liner goes right to Iguchi, and Shibamoto groudns to short to end the inning.
Takai leads off the inning with a single past Yamana. After a sac bunt, Irisawa gets hit.
Nagai with a comebacker up the middle, but it's too hard and Takai has to hold.
No matter though becasue Fumiya does the exact same thing and plates the run! 2-1!
Despite setting up the middle of the order, neither Namikata or Hatta can dive in more runs. Instead they both pop out.
As for Takigawa, Takai gives up another hit to Negoro, but he runs himself out at 2nd. We hit the break with Chuuetsu leading, but Takigawa within striking distance.
Tatehata with a leadoff single, and they go with the hit-and-run! Yamana singles to right and it's runners at the corners!
Yuuki grounds to 2nd, throw to 2nd for 1, relay... OH NO!
The throw goes off of Yamana and there's immediate time called. Yamana is down and a camera shot of him shows blood dripping down. The stretcher is out and he's going to the hospital for sure.
Good news is that the kantoku comes back pointing to above his eye. Still going to hurt, but hopefully it's not as serious as it could have been.
Back to the game, it's another hit-and-run as Aoki rifles a ball back up the middle, that'll score Tatehata and it's all tied at 2-2!
Shibahata with a ball to center, and there will be no throw home! Yuuki walks in and Takigawa has the 3-2 lead!
After another hit by Tomoi, ace Kamimura enters the game for Chuuetsu. He walks a batter, but gets out of the inning.
Irisawa gets a 1-out hit for Chuuetsu, but they can't do anything with it. The offense can only seem to find it in spurts, but they're running out of time.
Meanwhile although Kawakita gets a leadoff walk, it's wasted with a poor sac bunt. That gets compounded later when Tatehata tries to steal 2nd and is thrown out in spectacular manner as the SS does a twirl reaching down and makes the tag.
2 outs, and Hiroki scorches a bouncer past Kawakita and all the way to the fence for a double.
Sekiguchi with a grounder to the left side, Yuuki runs it down! Throw over as Sekiguchi faceplants his head-sliding!
The throw is wide and goes into foul territory! Hiroki can walk home and we're tied once again!
Now Kamimura walks and could Takigawa be giving up the lead?
Iguchi single to center! They're waving Sekiguchi home! THrow from Negoro to Tatehaha home....
Chuuetsu prolly rightly went for it, but sadly Takigawa made a great play to get the runner out.
Yuuki a grounder up the middle for a leadoff hit! He bunted over.
And they're relieving the ace! #11 Yukino comes in to handle Shibamoto! Will this pay off?
Grounder to 1st, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
It gets by Hatta into right! Yuuki goes to 3rd and will that be the dagger for Chuuetsu?
#13 Yoshii bats for Tomoi looking for the timely hit.
SANSHIN!!!!! Yoshii goes down swinging and there's 2 out!
Another strategy call! With 2nd open, they're going to intentionally walk Negoro to pitch to Ooshima. Will it work?
Liner! Right to Nagai! Inning over!
Nagai one-out single! No bunt and Fumiya, he singles to right! Nagai has to hold at 2nd.
But Namikata grounds to 2nd! Yamane can't get the ball out of the glove and they can only get 1. Will that hurt them?
No! Hatta grounds to 2nd and the inning is over!
Kawakita a liner to right to start the 9th for Takigawa! He's bunted over.
YAMANE single to left! Kawakata holds at 3rd! Well we have our 2nd sayonara game?
Yuuki lines one past a diving Iguchi and that's the ballgame! Chuuetsu fought hard the entire game, but in the end it just wasn't enough as Takigawa Dai-ni pulls it out in the end.