Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Day 3, Game 3 - Kisaradzu Sougou (Chiba) vs. Sapporo Dai-ichi (Hokkaido)

Our last matchup of Day 3 features 2 super-regional champs, but this feels like a one-way affair.

Sapporo Dai-ichi has quality wins in prefecture - Hokushou and Komadai Tomakomai. But the minute they went to Meiji Jingu, the pitching staff suddenly started hitting road bumps as they just couldn't stop the flow of hits and walks. As a whole they actually allowed exactly 2 runners an inning - every inning... That alone is a huge red flag. What's worse, in a prefecture that generally has weaker competition, 0.321/0.411/0.518 is not spectacular, and worse 4 of their batters carry a BA less than 0.250. Now, some of them have spectacular OBP's, but against this team those walks will be few and far between.

Compare that to Kanto ex Tokyo champs Kisaradzu Sougou who beat Senshuudai Matsudo, Toukou Gakuen, Hanasaki Tokuharu, Toukaidai Koufu and Jyousou Gakuin. In fact those last 4 was their super-regional resume - absolutely no breaks whatsoever. Now ace Hayakawa struggled against Osaka Touin, but then again who doesn't in some capacity?

Offensively, to be able to carry a 0.307/0.373/0.473 line including those games lends some credence to the numbers and won't require revision.

Kisaradzu Sougou (Chiba)
SS Minemura Takaki
CF Kido Ryou
2B Koike Kazuki
RF Toriumi Ranma
1B Yamashita Hikaru
3B Inoue Mizuki
LF Hosoda Yuuki
C Oosawa Shou
P Hayakawa Takahisa

Sapporo Dai-ichi (Hokkaido)
CF Tsuji Rikuto
2B Satou Manato
LF Takashina Nagumo
P Kamide Takuma
RF Kanemura Kyousuke
1B Nagato Kou
SS Miyazawa Kouta
C Zenime Yuunosuke
3B Takei Kazuma


14:20 - First Pitch!

Good start for Kamide, Strikes out Minemura on a decent enough curve. Doesn't throw that hard (lower 130s) with a slider, curve, and maybe a change. Two routine flyouts to Tsuji in center, and it's a needed clean inning.

Hayakawa starts about as routine as you can get. Despite giving up a walk, he gets a textbook 6-4-3 double play to end the frame quickly.

Things do not go as smoothly for Kamide, though it's not initially his fault. Toriumi hits a short chopper to the left side, and Takei rushes the throw wide, allowing him to reach 2nd. Then on a bunt, he checks 3rd, but as he pivots to throw to 1st, he slips.

He's showing a bit of poise though. First, he freezes Inoue with a fastball on the outside edge. Hosoda can't quite square up a curve and he pops out behind 2nd base. And he didn't mind walking Oosawa as it brought up ace Hayakawa, who he gets swinging on a slider inside to end the threat.

I was about to mention that Hayakawa was cruising along having gotten their 4-5 hitters to chase fastballs out of the zone, but then Nagato catches a change off the end of the bat and sends it back up the middle for a single. That's compounded when he hits Miyazawa on the hands. Thankfully for him, he gets Zenime to groundout.

I'm actually surprised that Kisaradzu Sougou isn't putting more pressure on Sapporo Dai-ichi. Their ABs look more like a team that's a bit lost at the plate. They're getting runners on base, but it's far from convincing. Single, SB, WP with 2 down, but can't do anything with it.

On the other hand, Hayakawa is getting in all types of trouble. In the 3rd, he gives up a leadoff hit, then whiffs on a bunt by Tsuji. After he then walks Satou to load the bases, he finds a way to buckle down the hard way. striking out the heart of the Sapporo order in order, and making all 3 look silly. He then hits a batter in the 4th, but gets a 3-6-1 DP to avoid damage.

Kisaradzu Sougou finally shows some sign of life in the 5th. Hayakawa sharts it himself with a grounder back up the middle. After a sac bunt, Kido reaches down on a slider and singles to right, putting runners at the corners. Koike pays it off with a liner to left. Takashina has to dive to get it after a late jump, and that allows Hayakawa to come home. Kisaradzu finally gets on the board, though it's just 1-0.

That at least in the meantime has reinvigorated Hayakawa, as he quickly dispatches the side in the 5th, bringing us to the break. While Kisaradzu Sougou has the lead, it doesn't really feel all that comfortable, if only because their offense has been curtailed by Kamide.

They're getting increased chances though. With 1 down, Inoue is jammed but powers one to right for a base hit. Kikuchi-kantoku yells for a small TO after Kamide walks Hosoda. They certainly can't afford to give up another run here. And what they're not getting in base hits they're getting with stolen bases. Both runners take off as Oosawa swings at a ball in the dirt, and Zenime can't cut down Inoue at 3rd.

So it's all left to Hayakawa to add to his lead. He's certainly giving Kamide a hard time, fighting off ball after ball once the count runs full. And finally he gets hold of a curve and laces it past Kamide into center. Inoue scores, and Hosoda ends up behind him when Tsuji can't field the ball cleanly. 3-0 to the good of Kisaradzu Sougou and perhaps they can breathe a little easier now.

Eventually Kamide is relieved in the 7th. Zenime gives way for Togashi to take the hill, moving Kamide to RF and Kanemura to C (weird).

But it seems to be waving the white flag. Kido gets hit and after a sac bunt Toriumi, who had been quiet all day, gets a hold of a fastball and drives it just short of the wall in left scoring 1. Soon after, Togashi puts a ball in the dirt and that allows Toriumi to make it a 5-0 game. Satou adds on another error, but Takei finally ends it with a nice play from a hotshot by Hosoda.

Kikuchi-kantoku sending in his other P's to get experience it seems, though it would be nice if he were to empty the bench, but with 5 players still to enter the game it seems unlikely.

Even with the substitutions, Sapporo Dai-ichi seems to at least try and avoid the shutout. PH Mikami draws a leadoff walk and is replaced by Konno. Miyazawa inside outs a ball through the left side for a base hit.

Unfortunately, Togashi and Takei both strike out.

Tsuji with a last gasp hits a ball to center, and Kido for some reason doesn't make sure to block it, and it gets underneath his glove. and rolls to the wall. He almost gets an inside-the-parker, but ends up at 3rd. At least the shutout is prevented, though the game still is eventually lost at 5-2.

The team I expected to win did, but not really in the fashion I thought. More importantly, the fact that Kamide held serve for so long is now a problem. Especially with Osaka Touin on the horizon. Again. They may have won a game, but may provide little resistance against the Yankees of 高校野球.

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