Well, yesterday was a bit of a return back to the non-competitive games of recent years, but I guess that can't be helped with the competitiveness of prefecures nowadays. Hopefully today will be better.
Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei (Aomori)
2B Itou Yuuhei (伊藤 優平)
3B Tokuda Taishi (徳田 大沙)
RF Tashiro Tsubasa (田城 飛翔)
1B Masuda Atsuhira (益田 敦成)
CF Hanaoka Kojirou (花岡 小次郎)
SS Kobayashi Naoki (小林 直輝)
LF (17)Kobuchi Akihiro (小淵智 輝弘)
P Sakurai Kazuki (櫻井 一樹)
C Okumura Kouta (奥村 幸太)
Shiritsu Amagasaki (Hyogo)
1B Iida Taisei (飯田 泰成)
SS Nakamura Yoshiki (中村 佳喜)
RF Miura Yoshihiro (三浦 良裕)
LF Fujii Yamato (藤井 倭)
P Hirabayashi Hiroto (平林 弘人)
CF Maeda Daiki (前田 大輝)
C Tanijiri Naoki (谷尻 尚紀)
2B Kimori Youta (木森 陽太)
3B Tonotani Kojirou (殿谷 小次郎)
08:00 - First pitch!
Well, Hirabayashi not wasting much time establishing himself. he gives up a base hit to Tashiro, but otherwise has a very easy 1st inning.
Well, we see Shiritsu Amagasaki's plan. Play for the run. One down, Nakamura gets a base hit, and is bunted over.
This works here in the 1st as Fujii singles back up the middle to score Nakamura. 1-0 Ichiama.
Hanaoka tries to get Kousei on the board with a 1-out double over Fujii's head. But the best he can do is get to 3rd as Hirabayashi gets out of the inning.
Bottom 2nd-3rd Inning
The teams seem to be going through a feeling out period trying to get their footing at the plate. Shiritsu Amagasaki gets another opportunity like the 1st, but cannot find the one-timer.
The biggest issue the Kousei batters seem to be having is that they're struggling getting around the inside pitch, and that's where Hirabayashi is mainly pitching. After that you see a lot of swings on balls not in the zone, which is leading to misses or poor contact.
For Shiritsu Amagasaki, their offense doesn't even start until they get a runner on base when they usually bunt. But when you get a 2-out hit like Maeda does here, there's little they can do.
Maeda gets picked off 1st immediately though, so the point is moot.
Kousei gets their first chance in a while when Okamura's grounder to 3rd goes off Tonotani. Nakamura tries to save the play, but airmails the throw to 1st, allowing the runner to reach 2nd.
A HBP exacerbates things a bit, but you figure with all that pitching inside, it was going to happen.
Tokuda tries to get a base hit to the left side, but Nakamura makes a great sliding stop, and goes the only way he can - to 3rd, getting the 3rd out.
Shiritsu Amagasaki happy to continue the fast pace of play as they the bottom of the lineup is retired in order. The game is going really fast and right now that seems to be suiting Shiritsu Amagasaki.
Well, I guess that works.
Tashiro drives a ball to center, Maeda goes to chase, but to no avail as it clears the fence for the douten HR! 1-1.
Masuda gets Kousei back-to-back hits with a single to right.
Hanaoka singles to left! But Masuda tries to take 3rd and is thrown out unnecessarily. They were looking at putting a lot of pressure on Hirabayashi, but he gets a key out.
Now Kobayashi thinks he's swung on strike 3, and scurries to 1st on the wild pitch. The umpire calls him back though as he did not swing.
And yet, that winds up helping him as on the next pitch he drives it over the RF head and takes a bounce to the wall for a triple. 2-1 Kousei.
The hit parade continues with Kobuchi singling to right, making it 3-1, then Sakurai with a ball through the left side.
Hirabayashi thinks he's out of the inning when Okumura grounds to short, but Kimori's throw to 1st is high and it continues.
Back to the top of the lineup and Itou makes them pay with a double down the right field line. Another run scores, but Itou doesn't notice Okumura holding up at 3rd and both runners wind up stuck. It's Okumura who's run down, and the inning is over. But a 3-run deficit will be a lot to ask for.
Sakurai gets 2 quick outs, but a HBP and a single by Fujii give some hope to take back a run.
Hirabayashi gets a pitch to hit, but he's under the slider and pops out to short to end the chance.
Kousei could be ahead by more if they had any idea of when to take the extra base.
2 outs and Masuda takes a walk. After Hanaoka gets his 3rd base hit of the game, Kobayashi delivers a single to left. Once again, they try to push the runner home, but the throw gives them so much time it was like Ledecky waiting for the other swimmers to finish. 3 outs, change instead of a manrui.
With Kousei running themselves out of 2 innings, Ichiama doesn't feel that out of it.
In fact with 2 down, Kimori hits a double to right. And when Tonotani singles back up the middle, it scores a run, making it a very realistic 4-2.
With Kousei unable to do anything after those opportunities, Shiritsu Amagasaki has one last chance to make a comeback.
Maeda singles through the right side, and it's a quick timeout by Kosaka-kantoku.
Tanijiri hits one to left center! That's over the defense and it's a 1-run ballgame! 4-3 on the double!
They bunt the runner over to 3rd and now even a sac fly can tie the game.
And Tonotani does just that with a fly to right! Tanijiri comes home and we're tied at 4-4!
That's all that Shiritsu Amagasaki gets, but it's enough to extend the game.
Things start a bit auspiciously as Haruta boots a ball for an E4. They do get one back when Sakurai's bunt is right back to Hirabayashi and they just do get the lead runner.
This time it's Kousei who plays for the run, having Okumura move the runner over.
After a walk, the inning should end on Tokuda's grounder to short. Except that Kimori boots that one too and it's manrui! Worse yet, it's Tashiro that's up!
He hits a ball down the right side and it's off Miura! Haruta scramble to get it, but the throw to 1st isn't in time! The run scores, but Hirabayashi fires home as the 2nd runner tries to score! But as with most things this game Kousei can't make it work! Itou is out at home and the inning is over!
Still, Kousei retakes the lead at 5-4!
It looks like all hope is lost for Ichiama after 2 quick outs.
But cleanup batter Fujii is unwilling to let things die. He singles to center.
Then he picks the right time to take off for 2nd as Sakurai's pitch is in the dirt.
But Hirabayashi cannot deliver the timely hit, striking out to end the game.
It was a bit of a miracle that they were in the game at the end, but Kousei's poor decisions led to extra time. They may have moved on, but on the whole, they're just slightly above average - and you could almost call them average if their baserunning stays the way it is.
Outside of the 6th inning, ace Hirabayashi for Shiritsu Amagasaki was pretty good. He did get some help, but on the whole didn't disgrace himself, especially when going right after the Kousei hitters.