Thursday, July 28, 2016

Natsu Koushien Qualifying - Championship Recap (07.27)

9 finals, 7 streamed on Asahi, 3 from yesterday's postponements.

Saitama - Hanasaki Tokuharu
Takahashi Kouya (高橋 昂也) did his job, pitching a 4-hit shutout to defeat Seibou Gakuen, who was never really in it.

Nishi Tokyo - Hachiouji
Early on, Hachiouji took the game to Toukaidai Sugao, scoring a run in the first 3 innings. It seemed like they were finally ready to enter the stage at the national level.

But things stalled there, and Toukaidai Sugao was able to scratch their way back, tying the game in the 5th. The team would trade opportunities, but as regulation time ended, Hachiouji started getting more opportunities.

As a well-read colleague of mine (and I use that loosely because he's doing much more bigger things than I am career-wise), was saying, ace Itou for Toukaidai Sugao was tiring in his opinion and it would be a matter of time before Hachiouki would get a run across.

This was in the 8th, and Hachiouji instead gave Itou one of the quickest innings, which is the last thing they needed to do. But teams for some reason are reluctant to give a pitcher the rope to hang themselves. Maybe against weaker competition, but against a more competitive squad, almost never. And I don't to this day understand why.

And when a team who hasn't gone and is facing a team that has for a title, that team looking for their first title is always on the verge of collapse at the first sign of trouble. And especially so as the game reaches late stages. As I've mentioned before, it's the feeling of "Here we go again..." that overwhelms those teams. Not to say that those teams can't overcome it, but that they seem more vulnerable.

Hachiouji though managed to hold the line to enchousen, and in the 11th was able to breakthrough with a pair of runs. Though Toukaidai Sugao got a one-out hit, Hachiouji executed a 6-4-3 double play to deliver the first ever title to their school.

Shizuoka - Tokoha Kikugawa
This game went pretty much as expected. Fukuroi fell behind right off the bat, and never could get off the mat as Tokoha Kikugawa won 12-0.

Ishikawa - Seiryou
Seiryou is becoming the equivalent of Osaka Touin/Seikou Gakuin for me in that they generally have a stranglehold on the prefecture. And that they've apparently made a pact with the devil to almost always put a hex on the opposition.

How else can you say that with Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa up 4-1 that Seiryou scores 4 to take the lead, and eventually win 7-5?


Fukui - Hokuriku
I wasn't watching the early stages, but was shocked to see Hokuriku up 4-0 over Fukui Shougyou. What wasn't surprising was to see Fukui Shougyou come back to within 1 at the break.

Even still, Hokuriku continued to give themselves opportunities, and that manifested itself in a pair of runs in the 6th.

Fukui Shougyou would get 1 in the 7th and a second chance when on a grounder to SS with the bases loaded, the runner at 2nd collided with the SS and was ruled for interference, but since the SS was not in the action of throwing to 1st, didn't result in a double play - this despite the SS was able to complete the play (it was ruled a dead ball at the time of interference). They couldn't make good on the 2nd chance and reliever Honda was able to close out the game and give Hokuriku the title!

Shiga - Oumi
Takashima did very well to hang with Oumi, keeping the game scoreless at the break. Unfortunately I mentioned that and the very next inning Oumi scores 3. That would be all the scoring in the game and Oumi takes the title.

Tottori - Sakai
None of this makes any sense. 19-4 Sakai, as Ajito strikes out 5, walks none, while Yonago Shouin is the one with major pitching issues, striking out just 2 and walking 14!

There's no way this team makes a deep run. I just can't see it.

Kochi - Meitoku Gijyuku
Nakamura much like Takashima in Shiga did really well against the 6-time winners. Yeah, they were down 2-0 early, but it wasn't until the late inning where Meitoku put the game out of reach. At least the prevented the shutout in the 9th, but Meitoku Gijyuku can erase that 6, and write in a 7 now with their 4-2 win.

Miyazaki - Nichinan Gakuen
I may not have given Miyazaki Shougyou a chance to win, but they did make it a competitive game against Nichinan Gakuen keeping themselves behind by just 1 run heading to the break. But like Oumi, Nichinan Gakuen regrouped during the break, scored 3 runs, and that was pretty much that.

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