Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Day 6, Game 3 - Iwamichisuikan (Shimane) v Kounan (Okinawa)

This should be another game where a team is up against it. Kounan returns to Koushien having defeated Itoman and Okinawa Shougaku. They're not an offensively powered squad, so it'll be up to the pitching to hold serve. We've heard that story before.

Iwamichisuikan returns after defeating Risshoudai Shounan and Unfortunately no Kaisei to supllant the form.

Also both teams are batting rather poorly compared to other schools. This has the looks of a 1-0 game

Iwamichisuikan (Shimane)
LF Tanaka Masaki
2B Araki Yuusaku
3B Abe Kazuma
1B Izumi Yuutarou
RF Murakami Kouki
SS Kamino Daisuke
CF Suyama Eishi
C Fujiwara Ryouta
P Andou Ibuki (#18)

Kounan (Okinawa)
SS Higa Tatsutoshi
2B Naka Hibiki
LF Gushiken Taiki
1B Kina Chouki
RF Ishikawa Ryou
C Sakumoto Kazuki
CF Sunagawa Kento
3B Ganaha Makoto
P Hiyane Masaya


14:05 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Leadoff runner on for Iwamichisuikan as Tanka singles to center. But Araki almsot grounds into a double play, and Ab actually does.

Bottom 1st
Shaky for Andou as Higa draws a walk. After a bunt, he walks Gushiken.

2 down for Ishikawa and he hits a slow chopper to the right side. Andou misses it and no one is in position to back it up! Higa scores on the defensive gaffe and Kounan leads 1-0!

Bottom 2nd
Sunagawa puts Kounan in position for another run when he bombs a ball off the fence in right for a triple.

Ganaha not squeezing, but strikes out.

SQUEEZE!!! Hiyane tries to lay down the squeeze but misses! Sunagawa is hung out to dry and there's 2 outs! Hiyane Ks and the great chance for Kounan is frittered away!

Bottom 3rd
After 3 straight walks with 2 outs, Tanaka comes in from LF to take the hill. Andou goes to CF, and Suyama to LF. And gets a flyout to right.

Bottom 4th
uh, everyone returns back to their positions. I think I've figured out the pitching changes. Tanaka comes in from LF when there's a pinch.

So when Sunagawa singles, and advances to 3rd on a hit-and-run with Higa, he enters the game, and get a foul fly to Abe.

Top 5th
Murakami with a ball to deep right. Off the wall! He's booking it around 2nd, and just gets into 3rd. Big chance to tie the game.

Kamino does it! Ball to left center and Sunagawa can't get to it!

Murakami scores and it's 1-1!

Unfortunately, Iwamichisuikan can't muster more than that as Fujiwara and Matsumoto fly out.

Bottom 5th
Once again Andou returns to the mound, and gives up 2 singles. And that is the official end of Andou. Tanaka takes over at P while #15 Matsumoto replaces Andou.

Ishikawa flies out to center, and that's deep enough to score Gushiken. Kounan retakes lead at 2-1 as we head to the break.

Rest of game
This game is literally taking forever because there is a pitching change every inning. Tanaka comes in from LF to take the mound, then returns to LF at the start of the next inning.

It works to some extent. Of the 11 inherited runners he has, 2 have scored.

In the top of the 8th, Tanaka is harmlessly hit with 2 out.

Araki follows that up with a single through the left side. Still 2 outs though.

And then out of nowhere. Abe drives a ball off the wall in left center, and what seemed like a game out of reach was not anymore because it is 4-3 with the douten runner in scoring position..

Then a wild pitch puts that run 90 feet away. Then Hiyane walk Izumi.

Then Hiyane releases another wild pitch and Abe walks home to tie the game?! It's 4-4?!

And now Murakami walks. And Ueno walks? Somehow we're manrui??

And #13 Hashi to hit for Suyama.

And he singles to right? One run scores, the second run is cut down at the plate.

So when this game seemed well in hand, it's completely reversed and now Iwamichisuikan leads 5-4?

Bottom 8th
New 3B Seo has the ball find him first up, from PH #16 Ninomiya no less, and it goes off of him for an error. He's natually bunted over.

And then after being warned sever times, Tanaka balks moving the douten runner 90 feet away.

Naka fly to center. Abe, having moved from 3B charges at the ball. PR Toguchi tags up! Throw home... Relay from Araki...

OUT!!! Somehow that throw gets there in time and Kounan is denied the douten run!

Bottom 9th
So will this strategy of Iwamichisuikan's actually work? They just have 3 outs left to go, but with the 3-4-5 batters up.

Gushiken's hard grounder eats up Kamino alive. Leadoff batter on as they're looking to bunt. #14 Takana comes to run for him. And the bunt is completed.

Ishikawa comes through! Base hit to right! Takana coming home... throw in.. SAFE!!! Kounan has tied the game!

And now Sakumoto bunts the sayonara runner into scoring position as #18 Shiroma come in to hit.

SINGLE TO LEFT! Throw home... LATE!!! Kounan has come back to win 6-5 at the very last!

 I really don't know what to make of this game. Iwamichisuikan implemented a strategy I had considered if I ever became a kantoku myself (which is in la la land). And it almost worked. But I think they leaned on Tanaka too much and he fell apart at the end.

Which is a shame. It takes some mental fortitude to continuously be put into high leverage situations and get out of them. Tanaka did that when coming in "relief" during an inning. But pressed into full service it might have been too much.

Hey, I give credit to Suemitsu-kantoku to thinking out of the box. Not often you would see something like that where old traditions are hard to break. Just fell short here.

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