With Day 8 settled, the next 6 games will determine who gets to play in Day 9. While there are some strong teams in this bunch, I think there are opportunities to be had - as long as you draw right.
Hiroshima Shinjyou (Hiroshima)
2B Sugimura Hiroyoshi (杉村 泰嘉)
LF Toyooka Takato (豊岡 稜人)
RF Kitatani Shougo (北谷 奨吾)
1B Ogawa Toranosuke (小河 虎之介)
C Furumoto Kouki (古本 幸希)
3B Kogawa Tomoya (古川 智也)
CF Kawauchi Kyouei (河内 恭英)
P Hori Mizuki (堀 瑞輝)
SS Tanaka Ryouta (田中 亮太)
Kanto Dai-ichi (Higashi Tokyo)
RF (17)Sugaya Keisuke (菅谷 圭祐)
3B Yamakawa Shinta (山川 新太)
LF Yoneda Katsuya (米田 克也)
C Satou Yuusuke (佐藤 佑亮)
1B Ishibashi Kouta (石橋 康太)
SS Murase Yuuto (村瀬 佑斗)
2B Morikawa Youhei (森川 瑶平)
CF Motohashi Keito (本橋 慶人)
P Satou Shouma (佐藤 奨真)
08:00 - First Pitch!
Sugimura gets things off to a rousing start with a base hit to center and a subsequent steal.
But after a sac bunt, Satou shuts things down with a strikeout of Kitatani on a ball down and in, and a comebacker from Ogawa.
Kanto Dai-ichi also getting an early scoring chance. Yamakawa draws a one-out walk before Yoneda hits a single back up the middle.
Yuusuke though forgets he's playing baseball, and golfs a ball high into the air where Sugimura can camp under it for the catch.
But Ishibashi hits another ball back up the middle and Yamakawa comes in without a throw to make it 1-0 Kanto Dai-ichi.
Again, Hiroshima Shinjyou with a leadoff runner on as Furumoto gets hit. But after a sac bunt, they can do little with it as both Kawauchi and Mori chase balls out of the zone and make poor contact.
Meanwhile, issues still abound for Hori.
He gives up a one-out walk, and on the sac bunt Kogawa sails the throw high. It's stopped, but Ogawa can't secure it coming down.
Still he almost gets a inning-ending double play before striking out Yamakawa to end the frame.
Satou Shouma seems to be doing enough to keep the batters off the basepaths. Doesn't throw hard, doesn't quite hit his locations, but doesn't make bad misses.
He racks up 2 Ks in the 3rd as the Hiroshima Shinjyou batters still seem unable to figure him out.
Hori managing the game as well, and while he does hit Ishibashi, he gets 3 routine ground balls to keep the game in check.
Kitatani gets on base thanks to a high throw from Murase. It's their 3rd leadoff runner so far, but nothing to show for it.
Ogawa can't lay down the bunt, then just waves under a low fastball for the 1st out.
Furumoto chases a slider for the 2nd out, and Kogawa grounds to 2nd. The Hiroshima Shinjyou offense looking rather dead right now.
Kanto Dai-ichi also perhaps looking to get their offense going, has Shouma bunting with a runner on and one out. Except that the 3B crashes in and initiates the 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
One down and Hori laces a double down the left field line. Tanaka tries to get a base hit up the middle, but Morikawa chases it down and throws to 1st for the 2nd out. Douten run 90 feet away, but 2 outs.
Sugimura first pitch swinging, hits a ball to the right side, and out of Morikawa's reach! Hori scores and we're tied at 1-1! That's all they get, but it's a new ballgame!
Yamakawa tries to give his team back the lead driving a slider down and away to the right centerfield gap for a triple.
It's a great scoring chance, as the 3-4-5 batters step in.
Yoneda hard shot to 3rd, Kogawa has it, and goes home! Yamakawa wasn't committing to go either way and is run down! Yoneda reaches 2nd on the rundown, but Kanto Dai-ichi just went backwards 90 feet.
Hori wants nothing to do with Yuusuke it seems and gives him a free pass.
But it backfires! Ishibashi with a single to right! Yoneda being waved around, throw coming in from Kitatani... and they get him!
Yoneda tries to go outside for the slide, but the throw from Kitatani is just too good! 3 outs!
That play certainly will give Hiroshima Shinjyou some momentum to build on going into the break, but they'll need their offence to click up a tick to two.
Well, that was an uninspiring effort there by Hiroshima Shinjyou. swinging away from the get go into 3 quick groundouts.
Bottom 6th-Top 7th
The game seemingly takes on a "meh" feeling as both teams struggle at the plate. And it's not really because the pitching is really good either. There more than a few balls in the dirt that are being swung at and pitchers aren't necessarily hitting the glove either.
The game as it enters the final stages of regulation enters a processional where the teams slowly reach enchousen. Batters are perhaps pressing to get a base hit, and very little ends up happening.
Such is the case as not only are they pressing at the plate, but on the basepaths. Including the 7th both sides have run themselves out at 2nd 3 times and twice for Hiroshima to actually end the inning.
And as Kanto Dai-ichi is quietly retired in order in the 9th we head to enchousen.
1 down and Tanaka draws a walk.
But then Yonezawa-kantoku relieves Shouma! #11 Takei comes in relief despite Shouma not really struggling at all! That's unheard of that a kantoku would relieve a supposedly "good" pitcher who is not struggling.
Now, if he's saving him for future games and limiting how much of the tank he uses, it makes sense. but it's a strategy not implemented in most teams.
But Takei walks Sugimura and you know if Kanto Dai-ichi lose here he;ll be questioned.
Toyooka tries waiting Takei out, and despite falling behind 1-2 fills up the count, and the 3rd ball was a slider that just missed the bottom of the zone.
But Takei wins the battle, tying up Toyooka on a fastball down and in for the 2nd out!
Kitatani pops out and it's game on for Kanto Dai-ichi!
Well, if Hori would let them anyways.
The 9-1-2 batters for Kanto Dai-ichi are retired faster than... well, they're retired quickly.
Things are getting so bad that after Hiroshima Shinjyou draws a walk with 1 down, they bunt the runner over for a 1-timer. But Kawauchi grounds to 2nd and that's that.
It was going to be a 1-2-3 inning, but Miyamoto wasted that with a single back up the middle.
And he takes off for 2nd! The throw isn't in time, and the first stolen base for Kanto Dai-ichi puts the sayonara run in scoring position!
But Hori squashes that by blowing a 141 kph fastball by Murase for the 3rd out!
One down and a routine grounder from Tanaka takes a low hop on Murase forcing a late correction and no play at 1st.
After that Sugimura holds off on two consecutive pitches to draw a walk.
Tomooka stands in, and he draws a walk as well! Manrui with 1 down!
Yonezawa-kantoku calls for time. Will Kitatani see if Takei continues to struggle?
No! He swings and lifts a ball to center! Tanaka tagging, throw home.. not in time!! Hiroshima Shinjyou has the 2-1 lead!
Does Kanto Dai-ichi have any answer for Hori?
No! Hori in fact strikes out the last 2 batters on a letter-high fastball away and Hiroshima Shinjyou is on to the next round!
Interestingly the focus will probably turn to why Satou was relieved in the 9th. He wasn't struggling despite walking his last batter, and Takei would walk 2 in the 12th that led to the loss. But if Yonezawa-kantoku is trying to save arms, then I think it's a landmark move. If he did it because he had a quick hook, well... then you might question him (even though his pitch count was high).
For Hori, he certainly managed the game well after perhaps struggling a bit early on. He settled into a rhythm that Kanto Dai-ichi was unable to break.