Monday, July 25, 2016

Natsu Koushien Qualifying - Championship Recap (07.24)

Alright, a lot of tickets punched yesterday, but not for 1 prefecture...
So, here's what's on tap for today (7/24 in Japan). If it says it's on Asahi, the link to the stream can be found on their site (

Iwate - Moriokadai Fuzoku
Ichinoseki Gakuin fared better than I thought though I didn't watch the final. It was scoreless until the 8th when with 1 out and the bases loaded, their #3 batter Ueda hits a sac fly to score the only run of the game. As a result, Moriokadai Fuzoku gets to return to Natsu Koushien for the 3rd time in 5 years.

Fukushima - Seikou Gakuin
Kounan was so close, oh so close to defeating Seikou Gakuin to break up the 9 year run. But dangit if that curse of finally beating the team that has beaten you down came right in. Single, double, single, sac fly, single, double, and just like that a 4-2 lead for Kounan was a 6-4 deficit...


Tochigi - Sakushin Gakuin
There isn't much to say here, it was a rematch of the finals from last year and Kokugakuin Tochigi gave up 7 runs in the first. 15-6 and they have their 6th consecutive appearance.

Yamanashi - Yamanashi Gakuin
For two teams who gave up a combined 7 runs in 8 games, this game was shocking. Not just because of the high scoring, but because the defending champs seemed to have no answers - especially on the mound. Yes, they did take the lead with 4 runs in the 4th, but Yamanashi Gakuin fired right back taking those runs away. In the end it was a laugher with Yamanashi Gakuin winning 12-5!

Niigata - Chuuetsu
Boy, I kinda wished I had not grabbed dinner when I did because it went from a 2-1 Niigata Meikun lead to a 10-2 Chuuetsu blowout. It perhaps was coming with the troubles they had against Maki, but to the extent that Chuuetsu scored 7 in the lucky 7 is shocking.

Nagano - Saku Chousei
All Matsushou Gakuen was able to prove was that at best they are a Tier 3 school. They had no answers for Saku Chousei (who was lower seeded), and the team was not crisp on defense. There's a long way to go for the former powerhouse...

Shimane - Izumo(!)
Sure, it's not like either team could be heavily favored, but at least Risshoudai Shounan could say they've been here before. But the manner in which Izumo controlled the game start to finish was shocking. Ace Hara Satoru (原 暁) pitched a 3-hitter, though walking 5 in a 6-1 dismantling of Risshoudai Shounan. They get their first ever Koushien appearance. Good for them.

Nagasaki - Nagasaki Shougyou
This was the game I was focused on.

Nagasaki Shougyou would open the scoring with a timely 2-out single to left by Inoue. Little did we know that that would end up being the only run of the game.

That's because Oomura Kougyou had many good chances to tie the game, but couldn't get the runner home. Their last chance was in the 8th with runners at the corners and 1 down, but even then they couldn't get as little as a sac fly. So Nagasaki Shougyou goes to Koushien instead with a hard earned win.

Kagoshima - TBD
Huh? What happened here?

Well, a lot and nothing at the same time. The teams were deadlocked at 1-1 since the 4th, but as the 9th inning approached, the advantage seemingly was with Shounan. But despite getting a runner to 3rd, and Kagoshima Jitsugyou loading the bases to create a force at every bag, they couldn't get the run home.

And as enchousen progressed, it was Shounan who kept on threatening with a runner in scoring position:

  • 11th inning - 1st/2nd, 2 out - flyout to left.
  • 12th inning - Leadoff double, failed bunt, intentional walk, bunt, intentional walk - K looking
After that, the teams entered what I call the march to the 15th. Both teams are no doubt tired, and are pressing to try and end the game before the tie in the 15th. But the pressing leads to quick outs and the result neither are wanting.

The 13th and 14th go without issue, but in the bottom of the 15th, Shounan gets one last chance. With one down, there's a base hit past the diving SS. Shounan plays for one final hit, bunting the runner over.

After another intentional walk, Shounan pulls all the tricks out of the bag as #14 Miyashita Shouji comes to bat. On the 2-1 pitch he singles a ball to left! The 3B coach is sending the runner home! The throw comes in...


Kagoshima Jitsugyou denies Shounan once again, and the game ends in a 1-1 draw! And that means after a day's rest, the teams will take the field to replay the title game.

And this has to be devastating for Shounan. For ace Hamaya, it's been 13 innings, 15 innings (and 190 pitches) on two consecutive days, and then tomorrow another 9. I cannot see how they are going to take the title now.

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