Thursday, August 18, 2016

98th Natsu Koushien - Day 12, Game 4 - Sakushin Gakuin (Tochigi) v Kisaradzu Sougou (Chiba)

Well, 3 relatively non-competitve games so far. Sakushin Gakuin has looked really good so far, and is poised to make it's best run for the title since 2011.

Standing in their way is Kisaradzu Sougou, which has had to survive several low scoring games. The question is if they're up to challenge. Oddly, these teams have not met in the last 10 years.

Sakushin Gakuin (Tochigi)
  • def Jinsei Gakuen 3-0
  • def Hanasaki Tokuharu 6-2
SS Yamamoto Genki (山本 挙輝)
RF Yamanoi Ryuuga (山ノ井 隆雅)
1B Irie Taisei (入江 大生)
CF Kobayashi Koutarou (小林 虎太郎)
2B Fujino Yuusuke (藤野 佑介)
LF Ikari Taisei (碇 大誠)
3B Shinozaki Takashi (篠崎 高志)
C Ayugase Kazuya (鮎ケ瀬 一也)
P Imai Tetsuya (今井 達也)

Kisaradzu Sougou (Chiba)
  • def Karatsu Shougyou 2-0
  • def Hiroshima Shinjyou 2-0
SS Minemura Takaki (峯村 貴希)
CF Kido Ryou (木戸 涼)
2B Koike Kouki (小池 航貴)
RF Toriumi Ranma (鳥海 嵐万)
LF Hosoda Yuuki (細田 悠貴)
3B Inoue Mizuki (井上 瑞樹)
1B Yamashita Hikaru (山下 輝)
P Hayakawa Takahisa (早川 隆久)
C Oozawa Shou (大沢 翔)


15:55 - First pitch!

Well, that didn't take long. 2 outs, Irie up, Hayakawa puts a fastball middle-middle, and Irie takes it out to left center. 1-0.

Outside of that HR though, both Hayakawa and Imai are basically sending the batters home without supper. Though for Hayakawa it has to be concerning that through 2 all balls hit into play are fly balls.

Oh boy... I write that and right after Hayakawa walks Yamamoto, Yamanoi is the next to take Hayakawa deep, this time to right. 3-0 Sakushin Gakuin...

Imai on the other hand has not had a putout in the outfield through 3 innings. A total contrast of results so far, and all favoring Sakushin Gakuin.

Kisaradzu Sougou would get a chance in the 4th. Kido collects their first hit on a liner to center. A sac bunt moves him into scoring position, but outside of Hosoda getting plunked, it's business as usual for Imai, striking out Toriumi for the 2nd time and getting Inoue to fly out, again.

They get a smaller chance before the break. 2 down, Oozawa singles to left. After Minemura bloops one for a base hit, it's up to Kido, but he strikes out looking - Imai's 6th in the game - to end the inning.

It really doesn't look good for Kisaradzu Sougou. To win, they'll need to match their entire output so far over the next 4 innings.

Their next opportunity comes in the 7th. Inoue walks to lead off the inning, but by the time it reaches Oosawa, Inoue has only made it to 2nd and there's 2 out. Still, Oosawa is able to pull an outside fastball for a base hit and the shutout is averted, 3-1.

Ah... but the inning ends abruptly when Imai picks off Oosawa to end the inning. The momentum built just fizzles like that and they're down to their final 6 outs.

8th inning, and they've dug their own grave. One down, Koike gets a single. Toriumi follows that up next pitch with a ball deep to left. The 3B coach waves Koike around, but Yamamoto's relay throw home guns him down. Instead of 2nd/3rd, 1 out, you have 2nd, 2 outs. and Hosoda strikes out looking. That's pretty much game there.

And it is. Kisaradzu Sougou provides no resistance in the 9th as they fall 3-1. And really, they can only point the finger at themselves. Getting picked off in the 7th, getting thrown out at home in the 8th. Both were opportunities to draw within 1 or even tie the game. Instead they walk away with nothing against an ace that perhaps was vulnerable.

As for Sakushin Gakuin, they advance, but Imai was certainly under pressure in the late innings. He didn't need to exert himself to throw 152 at the end, and only serves to deplete those reserves just that little more. Yes, they're facing Meitoku Gijyuku, but if your ace struggles any team can be in it.

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