Our last game of round 1 features a first-timer that has been close in recent years versus a team I believe who last appeared in 2012 senbatsu as a 21st century team.
Okayama Gakugeikan has done well in recent years, but continued to run into Kanzei and Kurashiki Shougyou. They advanced without having to face either of those teams which while allowed them to get here, also means their form coming in doesn't look all that good. They did play against Soushi Gakuen and Tamano Kounan, but they like Okayama Gakugeikan are Tier 3 schools. And in both of those games, they came back from behind in the 9th to win those games by just a single run. The team did bat 0.364, but against weaker competition.
Toba's road was not all that easy, having to face Tier 3 school Kyoto Subaru, former Koshien participant Kyoto Shouei, and then Ritsumeikan Uji in the final. Amazingly, the team batted 0.439, and 0.567 in the final 3 games! The team doesn't get many extra base hits though, so that can be a big red flag. But I do always say, there's nothing like being pelted to death slowly.
Okayama Gakugeikan (Okayama)
1B Okamoto Shougo
CF Fujiwara Shingorou
LF Ushiro Daiki
RF Kina Satoshi
SS Ujiwara Kaito (#1)
C Hataguchi Yuuta
2B Mitsunari Daisuke
3B Ueoka Tatsuya
P Ookita Yuusuke (#10)
LF Tabuchi Kouichirou
3B Iwakiri Kaito
CF Ina Kasumi
1B Kozono Shinnosuke
C Umetani Seigo
SS Minami Musashi
2B Nakajima Kouhei
RF Miyanishi Jyunya
P Matsuo Daiki
12:05 - First pitch!
Hit batter to lead off the game advances to 3rd via bunt and groundout, but is stranded when Satoshi pops out to 2nd.
Iwada with a clean single through the right side. Toba goes for the hit and run, and Ueoka does good to give way to Ujiwara who had the better play, and just gets the out at 1st.
So much for being pelted to death! Kozono blasts a ball to left and Ushiro's not moving! It's 2-0 Toba!
And now here are the base hits. Umetani up the middle, Minami clean through the left side. They get no more runs, but the offense early on is there.
Ujiwara single sneakes just past Minami.
Hit and run! Ball right to Nakajima's flip to 2nd pulls Minami off the bag, all safe! Now the bunt to move them over for Ueoka.
Chance for Gakugeikan again. Grounder to short goes off of Minami and Fujiwara is aboard. The middle of the lineup though can't deliver as Fujiwara hits a weak comebacker to Masuo and Ujiwara fouls out.
Ueoka singles to left and there's runners at the corners.
Ookita sells out for the squeeze, but the ball is wide and he has no chance! Umetani runs Hataguchi down for the 2nd out as Ueoka takes 3rd.
But Ookita strikes out and the inning is over.
Some nice defense from Okayama Gakugeikan 1 out, runner on 1st, Nakajima hits a ball to 1st. Okamoto steps on the bag, then throws to 2nd where they get the tag for the double play.
Tobe had a good chance with a runner on 2nd, 1 out but Miyanishi was too quick anticipating the throw to 1st on a grounder to 3rd and was subsequently run down. And that was pretty much the inning.
Ujiwara finally takes the hill with #6 Tanigawa taking SS.
Might not have been the best choice as he gives up a leadoff single to Ina and then after a balk, walks Kosono. Minami bunts the runners over.
And now Toba with the squeeze!! But Ujiwara glove tosses the ball home and it's an easy out! 2- down!
Nakajima delivers for Toba! He dumps a ball in right center for a base hit and that scores Kosono! 3-1 Toba!
Okamoto saves more runs when he smothers a grounder from Miyanishi, but Okayama Gakugeikan is under a lot of pressure right now.
Leadoff single for new S Tanigawa. But Okamoto goes swinging and strikes out instead of a bunt, and Fujiwara grounds back to Matsuo for a 1-6-3 double play. Not sure they can find any answers here.
Toba gets another runner in scoring position via hit and run when Iwada singles with Tabata on base. Iwada though is caught trying to take the extra base on the throw. The very next pitch is a wild one and scores the run for 4-1.
Toba adds on more runs, knocking Ujiwara back to SS and cementing their place in the 2nd round. Final damage sits at 7-1.
That's where the game ends with Toba's plan of hitting singles all over the place works to perfection. It is yet to be seen if it works against stronger competition.