Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Day 11, Semifinal 2 - Takamatsu Shougyou (Kagawa) vs. Shuugakukan (Kumamoto)

The other semifinal is a shock as well. While Osaka Touin clearly wasn't their usual dominating selves, it seemed that they would at least make a deeper run. Instead they fell at the hands of Kisaradzu Sougou (no less) who had good pitching for sure, but managed to put together one good inning to defeat them.

Tsuruga Kehi was also slated to be here, but in perhaps the biggest upset, the lesser known Kaisei from Nagasaki somehow shutdown the Hokushinetsu champs. I thought the pitching would let them down first, but instead it was the offense.

In both cases, those teams that pulled off the upsets did the rest of the field a solid, but it sadly didn't help their own cases. Kisaradzu Sougou never went to reliever Takeda and perhaps paid for it dearly when Hayakawa couldn't close out the games against Shuugakukan. Kaisei went toe-to-toe with the Meiji Jingu champs, but just ran out of steam in the end.

In the end, this game may be self-explanatory. Shuugakukan has managed their pitching staff very effectively so far, allowing their players to get rest, and therefore be effective. This is opposite of Takamatsu Shougyou, who has a very shallow staff who may already be cracking if last game was any indication. There is a possibility of a Aki-Haru renzoku yuushou (Yes, I know that's isn't a thing, but I just made it one.), but I'm not sure it's possible.

Takamatsu Shougyou (Kagawa)
CF Anzai Tsubasa
RF Arauchi Shunsuke
SS Yonebaku Keizou
C Ueda Kyousuke
2B Mino Kousei
1B Ueda Rikuto
LF Yoshida Keigo (#12)
P Ura Daiki
3B Yamashita Tatsuki

Shuugakukan (Kumamoto)
SS Matsuo Taiga
CF Harada Takumi
1B Kimoto Ryouga
C Kuki Ryuuhei
LF Amamoto Kousuke
3B Hirobe Shuuhei
P Horie Kouhei (#4)
RF Kimura Yuuji
2B Miyahira Yasuta (#14)


13:32 - First Pitch!

Horie once again takes the hill for Shuugakukan and pitches a clean inning. Two lazy popups and a K are about all you can ask to start a game.

I don't remember Ura throwing hard, but he's sure throwing a lot of offspeed stuff to start the game. He's about to get a clean inning, but when Kimoto hits a liner to left, bench starter Miyahira slips, then has to play it off a bounce, then get caught on a high bounce and it gets past him allowing Kimoto to reach 2nd. It doesn't hurt him in the end as Kuki grounds to 2nd to end the inning.

Really though both pitchers are off to goods start, as both Horie and Ura completely have the batters baffled, especially with their off-speed stuff. Shuugakukan has the edge though as they have at least collected base hits - their 2nd being Matsuo taking a slurve the other way for a single in the 3rd. It's with 2 outs though, so when Harada tries the same but instead lines out to short the inning is over.

So Horie hadn't given up a hit through 3, and the MBS announcers kept on mentioning it. As he finished his most recent time to say it, Arauchi softly singles to right. Jinx executed. Yonebaku though couldn't move him over to 2nd, instead popping up his bunt right to 2B Miyahira.

Well, Miyao-kantoku sends Arauchi instead, and while Kyousuke strikes out, Arauchi somehow gets the leg in on a throw that was well in time (Matsuo was a bit passive with the tag and allowed Arauchi to limbo under it).

And that could cost Shuugakukan! Mino with a grounder past a diving Matsuo! They're waving around Arauchi! The throw in... and he's in just ahead of the tag! 1-0 Takamatsu Shougyou!

I thought that would help settle down Ura, and after quickly getting 2 outs in the 4th, it seemed to. But then Amamoto singled through the left side and Hirobe got plunked. Worse yet, he had fallen behind his counterpart Horie 3-0. And yet Horie swung away on an inside pitch and grounded out to 3rd.

It does seem the momentum has shifted ever so slightly to Takamatsu Shougyou as Ura sweeps the 5th keeping the 1-0 lead for his team.

Arauchi draws a walk to start off the inning, and instead of bunting, they swing away and Horie uncharacteristically uncorks a wild pitch moving him to 2nd. Yonebaku then does his job and hits the ball to the right side to advance the runner. Kyousuke then does his job and flies out to left, allowing Arauchi to just slide in with the tag of home for a 2-0 lead.

Shuugakukan tries to strike back as Harada tries a safety bunt to lead out the inning. Ura gets there, but his throw goes high and into foul territory. Harada goes for 2nd, but he takes such a wide turn that Arauchi is able to make a throw to 2nd and cut him down.

Which is a shame because Kimoto singles to center.  Kiku would have grounded into a double play, if not for the fact that the ball took a final odd hop delayed the relay to 1st.

And then out of nowhere Amamoto rips a ball down the left side, one bounds to the wall for a double, scoring Kuki to make it a 2-1 game.

Hirobe with a screamer through the left side, but Yonebaku makes the diving stop! He throws from his knees, but it takes a high hop at the last and it goes off Rikuto! It bounces away towards the dugout and that allows Amamoto to score, tying the game at 2-2! Oh the Koushien ground is a very dangerous place.

And the MBS stream breaks again. #@*^($&

I find out we're headed to enchousen, and have to catch the replay of the 4-6-3 double play in the bottom of the 9th.

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