Sunday, August 7, 2016

98th Natsu Koushien - Day 1, Game 3 - Moriokadai Fuzoku (Iwate) v Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka)

These two teams can breath a sigh of relief as neither will have to face Chiben Gakuen, yet.

Moriokadai Fuzoku (Iwate)
1B Ishibashi Taisei (石橋 泰成)
2B Sugawara Yuuki (菅原 優輝)
CF Ueda Taku (植田 拓)
RF Shiotani Hiroki (塩谷 洋樹)
C Itou Yuuki (伊藤 勇貴)
3B Ohara Taiga (小原 大河)
LF (16)Nishiyama Yuuki (西山 雄基)
SS (14)Higa Kenshin (比嘉 賢伸)
P Tsubota Shinsuke (坪田 伸祐)

Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka)
RF Nakayama Tatsuhide (中山 竜秀)
CF Yamawaki Shouta (山脇 彰太)
2B Ishibashi Daichi (石橋 大智)
LF Watanabe Shouta (渡辺 勝太)
1B Yasunaga Motoya (安永 元也)
SS (16)Onaka Rikito ()
P Fujimoto Kaito (藤本 海斗)
C Nagaoka Taishou (永岡 大昇)
3B Torii Ren (鳥井 蓮)


15:55 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Well, Moriokadai Fuzoku out to really exert its influence. One down, Sugawara hits a gapper to right center. Ueda follows that up with one off the wall in center, but Sugawara had to hold up for the catch and he's at 3rd. Fujimoto almost gets out of it, but Itou takes a high fastball and lines it to right, scoring both runners. They're up 2-0 and perhaps they heard I doubted their offensive capabilities (yeah, right).

Bottom 1st
Yamawaki turns around and delivers a one out single to center. He steals 2nd on the strikeout to Ishibashi, but there 2 out.

Before I can think about it though, Watanabe bloops a ball to right that Shiotani can't reach, scoring Yamawaki, and then on the very next pitch Yasunaga hits a ball to center that Shiotani crashes into the wall chasing, and like that it's 3-2 Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku!

Top 2nd
Unlike the first inning, the bottom of Moriokadai's lineup is unable to do much against Fujimoto, going down in order with 2 strikeouts.

Bottom 2nd
This is in comparison to Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku where Torii (there he is again), gets a one-out base hit. Not only that, but he goes on to steal 2nd.

A walk is added on later with 2 down, but Ishibashi can't deliver a timely hit to extend the lead.

Top 3rd
Back to the top of the lineup for Moriokadai, and Ishibashi starts it off with a ball past a diving Onaka into center. They instead elect for the hit-and-run, and it goes off perfectly when Sugawara singles to right!

Or so they thought!

RF Nakayama, playing in, charges the ball and makes a laser throw to 3rd nailing Ishibashi!

After a strikout things seem bleak, but Shiotani on a full count gets a hold of a letter high pitch and drives it to left center! It goes for a double and we're all tied at 3-3!

Things appear to be spiraling a bit after a wild pitch threatens to relinquish the lead, but Itou chases a ball in the dirt to retire the side. Still, it looks like it's going to be one of those games.

Bottom 3rd
Yep. Watanabe leads off with a gapper that splits the fielders in left-center for a double. 2 batters later, Onaka hits a ball past a diving Nishiyama. The throw home is high and Onaka takes another base. 4-3 Kyukoku retakes the lead.

After another single, this through the left side, time is called.

For now Tsubota holds the line, getting Nagaoka to ground into the 4-6-3 double play, but the pendulum swings back to Kyukoku.

Top 4th
That didn't last long. Obara swings and the ping tells you all you need to know. He scoffs at the hamakaze lining a HR to right, tying the game up once again at 4-4!

After a one-out hit by Higa, the day is over for Tsubota as #15 Inoue comes in to hit for him. Morioka's inning stalls thereafter, but once again we're level

Bottom 4th
2 changes for Moriokadai. #7 Nosaka comes in to play LF, and #11 Miura comes in to pitch.

Things appear to be going swimmingly for him with 2 quick outs, but he turns around and then walks the next 2 batters. He wiggles out of his self-made jam with a comebacker from Watanabe.

5th Inning
After a wild first 4 innings, the teams decided to call a truce it seems letting both teams reach the break to prepare for the home stretch.

Top 6th
And off we go again!

One down, Obara draws a walk, then proceeds to steal 2nd. Nosaka then makes his presence felt by getting a base hit over Yamawaki's head. That gives Moriokadai Fuzoku their 1st lead since the 1st at 5-4!

Bottom 6th
This time around Miura holds serve, and for now Moriokadai Fuzoku holds onto the advantage.

7th Inning
My body's hitting a wall staying awake and perhaps so are both teams (hitting a wall that is).

That changes when Miura walks Ishibashi with 1 down. Innocuous enough, and especially after a grounder makes it 2 down.

But Yasunaga comes through yet again, this time a ball up the middle that allows Ishibashi to score, tying the game once again at 5-5.

Top 8th
For every action that Kyukoku has, Moriokadai continues to find a response for. Again, it's a one out single, this time by Obara. And with 2 down it's Higa, who lines a ball down the right field side and all the way to the wall! Nakayama makes a strong throw home, but Obara just beats the tag and Moriokadai retakes the lead at 6-5!

Bottom 8th
Kyukoku firing right back! Fujimoto tries to help his own cause with a single back up the middle. After another sac bunt, Torii does the same! Fujimoto has to hold his ground at 3rd, but the douten runner is just 90 feet away.

And Miura throws it away! Fujimoto comes home and we're tied at 6-6!

And now things are unraveling for Moriokadai! Miura walks Nakayama, and then when Moriwaki hits a high chopper, everyone goes to field the ball, but there's no one to throw to! Everyone's safe and it's manrui 1 out!

Is this the end of the line for Miura?

Not yet! He gets Ishibashi to ground out to 1st, Ishibashi throws home, gets 1, but Itou bounces the throw! It's fielded by a covering Sugawara, who prevents it from leaking out to right. 2 down.

Watanabe first pitch swinging, grounds to 3rd! Obara snags it, goes to the bag, and Kyukoku can only tie the game once again!

Top 9th

One down, Sugawara gets around a ball inside and drives it to left! Watanabe going back to the fence...

AND IT'S GONE! Once again Moriokadai Fuzoku takes the lead here in the 9th at 7-6!

2 down and while Torii makes a great stop, his throw is wide, allowing Shiotani to take 2nd. After a wild pitch of their own, Itou maybe puts the nail in the coffin with a base hit to left, making it an 8-6 ballgame.

That's also it for Fujimoto as he's sent to LF. #11 Miura comes in for Watanabe in the cleanup spot to take the hill.He gives up a walk, but gets the final out.

But in a matter of symmetry, Moriokadai Fuzoku has the 2-run lead they had after the end of their first half-inning. Now, can they prevent the 3 runs on the other side?

Bottom 9th
Yasunaga strikes out to start the 9th, but the ball gets away from Itou and his throw to 1st takes Ishibashi off the bag! Can Kyukoku really come back again?

2 outs later and perhaps it was too much.

But no! Nagaoka lines a ball down the right field line and it's runners at 2nd and 3rd! And that brings up Torii who played his way into a position! Can he deliver the timely hit?

NO! It's a grounder to short! Higa throws to 1st and Moriokadai Fuzoku finally puts Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku away 8-6!

I've never seen a team come back that much as Kyukoku did and they still weren't paid off in the end. They did all you could have asked for from a team except win. And to be eliminated on the first day has to hurt.

For Moriokadai Fuzoku, they literally survived and advanced. In this game at least they proved they have the chops to score runs, but the pitching now looks suspect having given up 6 when they barely gave up any in the prefecturals. They have the grit, but they'll need the pitching if they want to continue on.