Final game of the day puts one rural team up against another.
Akita Shougyou took their normal run through the relatively weak Akita prefecturals, yielding 6 of their 8 runs in the first game - perhaps when they were just getting some of their weaker players in. Even then they only batted 0.329.
Ryuukoku was challenged in the latter stages of the Saga taikai, having 3 1-run games in their last 4, including wins against Saga Shougyou and Karatsu Shougyou batting 0.335.
Akita Shougyou, having experience might be favored. But Akita's relative weakness may negate any advantage they have. Also, they had multiple good scoring opportunities in the game, but still only managed 3 runs.
RF Ishibashi Yuuki
C Kawazoe Naoto
CF Koga Yuudai
1B Masuoka Hiroaki
SS Ejima Ryouta
3B Matsunaga Jyouji
LF Kitamura Sora
2B Hisano Jyunki
P Ikeda Tomohiro (#10)
Akita Shougyou (Akita)
CF Aida Kaito
SS Kusanagi Teruya
1B Takeda Yoshiki
3B Kominami Akira(?)
P Narita Tsubasa
2B Furuya Ryouhei
LF Narita Kazu
RF Konno Toui
C Kudou Kei
14:35 - First pitch!
Huh, Narita is in the low 140s with the fastball. strikes out Ishibashi, strikes out Kawazoe.
Strikes out Koga, who couldn't check his swing. Strikes out the side...
Lots of K's.
Aida goes down swinging, so does Takeda after Kusanagi singles. Though Kusanagi steals 2nd on the K.
And that pays off! Kominami singles past Masuoka and that scores Kusanagi to make it 1-0!
Finally something not a strikeout when Ejima draws a one-out walk. Even still he has 5 Ks through 2.
Ryuukoku still can't get a hit, have now gotten baserunners via HBP now as well as a walk.
Akita Shougyou isn't faring much better, though they are getting hits. Aida gets a 1-out single, but is picked off. And that kills any momentum.
Hard to get anything going when 9 of your 12 outs are Ks...
Hey, Ryuukoku got their first hit! Matsunaga puts one to the left side, Kusanagi runs it down, but can't get the throw over in time.
Wild pitch from Narita and that advances the runner!
Kitamura swings away! It's a single to right! Kono bobbles it! Matsunaga waved home, and he scores! Just that quickly we're all tied at 1-1!
2 down and Ishibashi with a ball to center! Aida charging in, dives... makes the catch!
Akita Shougyou's 5th goes quietly, and it's an interesting dynamic we have. Akita Shougyou can get hits, but Ikeda isn't breaking. Narita is striking out batters at a rate that is more than we've seen before, but Ryuukoku is making headway, making better and better contact.
One down and Koga gets jammed, but drops it into left for a base hit.
Masuoka is hitting, but right to Kominami, where it goes 5 hole! E5 and now Ryuukoku could take the lead!
Ejima can't do it, but does move the runners along with a grounder to 1st.
And Matsunaga chases a fastball away for the 3rd out!
Takeda gets a 1-out double just fair and out of Ishibashi's reach down the line.
But with 2 outs, Tokuyama-kantoku calls time.
Narita is walked. And Furuya is hit. It's manrui and the other Narita is up!
But after a swing and a miss #13 Takashima comes in to hit, and he's a righty! Was that Tokuyama-kantoku's plan all along? To face a lefty?
SANSHIN! Ikeda strikes him out anyways and the inning is over!
Kitamura with a leadoff walk. They bunt him over, and then try again, but Ikeda's bunt is popped up!
And with Ishibashi grounding to 1st, the leadoff walk is wasted!
Konno with a ball back up the middle! Ejima can't reach it! Gyakuten runner on base as Kudou bunts him over.
Aida chopper in front of the plate! Ikeda with it, throw to first, high! E1 and the inning continues!
And now he steals 2nd! Ryuukoku in trouble again!
Contact play! Kusanagi grounds to 2nd! Hisano goes home and the runner is out! 2 down!
But now Ikeda hits Takeda and it's manrui yet again for Kominami!
Ikeda gets Kominami to swing over a slider and he can just stand there smarting as the game remains tied!
Ryuukoku may be losing momentum fast. 2 Ks to start the inning.
Masaoka grounds to short, double clutches, and the ball is way high off his hand! It goes out of play and the runner goes to 2nd! Is this the break they needed?
Nope! Ejima grounds to 2nd and the side is retired.
Ace Narita with a single up the middle! Furuya' bunt is popped up! Kawazoe chases after it, dives... and the contact with the ground pops the ball out!
And Furuya wastes no time! He lines one down the right field one for a double and once again Ryuuoku in a heap of trouble!
Sanshin! Shibata stumbles and he swings and misses!
SQUEEZE!!!! But Koyanagi can't get it! Narita is run down and there is 2 outs! Can IKKeda give Akita Shougyou the slip again?
NO! Kudou singles back up the middle! Furuya scores and it's 2-1!
Aida with a single past a diving Hisano and that'll score another. 3-1.
That's it for Ikeda. ace Yakabe comes in and he closes out the frame. But Ryuukoku tempted fate one too many times and now must find 2 runs in 3 outs.
Sadly, Ryuukoku goes down with 3 Ks to end the game. Can't really blame them after trying to hang on as long as they did.
Akita Shougyou advances, and the storyline will be Narita's 16Ks. But here's where I will write a bit about Ryuukoku.
Despite all the strikeouts early, they never gave up. They tried to find ways to get to Narita. And they were making progress. They tied up the game in the 5th even and created scoring opportunities thereafter.
Ikeda was certainly struggling in the 2nd half of the game.Akita Shougyou was creating real scoring opportunities and could easily have broken the game open. But each time in the 6th and 7th, he shut the door. But 3 times was one too many and the defense finally broke.
It's not a failure by any means. Ikeda left everything out there until he was finally relieved. There is no need to be disappointed. Sad? Sure, and that what we saw from Ikeda who was really inconsolable. But he should be proud of how he fought today. He went on when I bet a lot of pitchers would have folded.
He should be proud of how he performed today, but unfortunately that's how Koushien works. Hopefully he'll get to know that his efforts won't have gone unappreciated, even in loss.