Thursday, August 11, 2016

98th Natsu Koushien - Day 5, Game 2 - Chuuetsu (Niigata) v Toyama Dai-ichi (Toyama)

That first game had a lot of promise in the first half that wound up in the end wasted. Our last game of round 1 features to Hokushinetsu teams in Chuuetsu and Toyama Dai-ichi.

Chuuetsu (Niigata)
SS Saitou Takaya (斉藤 隆弥)
CF Oogoshi Akira (大越 晃)
RF Sakai Takuma (坂井 琢真)
1B Nishiyama Yuuta (西山 侑汰)
LF Kushida Daichi (串田 大地)
3B Sakagami Kenji (坂上 顕士)
P Imamura Gou (今村 豪)
2B Okada Takuma (岡田 拓磨)
C Hirokawa Kensuke (広川 健介)

Toyama Dai-ichi (Toyama)
CF Houdatsu Hiroki (宝達 洋樹)
SS Sasaki Hiromi (佐々木 拓海)
2B Iwaki Shunki (岩城 竣貴)
C Hazama Yuuki (狭間 悠希)
3B Kawahara Taisei (河原 大成)
RF Yamashita Ryuuya (山下 瑠也)
1B Matsui Taiga (松井 大駆)
LF Taniguchi Taisei (谷口 大成)
P Nakatsuhara Genki (中津原 元輝)


11:55 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Nakatsuhara gets a bit of a bad break when Oogoshi's pop fly to shallow left is almost caught by a diving Taniguchi, but the ground causes the fumble and it shoots into foul territory for a double.

And while the control isn't there to start, he strikes Sakai and Nishiyama looking on two well placed fastballs. one away, and one inside (Nishiyama thought he had ball 4).

Bottom 1st
For his part, Imamura did very well hitting the edges of the zone (mostly away) and inducing 3 routine groundouts to start his game.

Top 2nd
Nakatsuhara is perhaps still leaving pitches too inside the zone because Chuuetsu is making hard contact.

Kushida almost sneaks a ball through the 6-hole until Sasaki runs it down and fires to 1st for the out.

Sakagami lines a ball right to Iwaki before Imamura singles through the left side.

However, Honda-kantoku sends the game in motion and Imamura is gunned down at 2nd.

Bottom 2nd
An error on Okada when he can't pickup cleanly a grounder gives Toyama Dai-ichi a leadoff runner.

But after a bunt, Yamashita chases a terrible fastball away, and Asama gets himself run down trying to steal 3rd of all bases.

Top 3rd
Not really super impressed with Nakatsuhara. Does throw hard, but locating an issue.

Still, he's not missing dead red, and gets his first 1-2-3 inning on 3 routine infield outs.

Bottom 3rd
Imamura looked as good of a pitcher so far, though perhaps a little of it is because Toyama Dai-ichi's offense isn't great. He's not hitting his locations consistently, but Toyama isn't making good contact either when he does miss. As a result, the bottom of the order is retired without much fuss.

4th-5th Innings
As the game continues it seems both pitches have a good hold on their game. They're not missing their spots (which is usually a ring inside the strike zone, and the batters are obliging by having to swing at pitches they don't look comfortable in hitting. And so 0's are put on the board all the way to the break.

6th Inning
Now Chuuetsu gets another opportunity to score after Okada gets a base hit to right and is bunted over.

Saitou has a chance to drive him in, but after several ball down and away, he gets tied up on one up and in and grounds out.

As for Oogoshi, he falls victim to a fastball right on the corner down and in.

On the flipside, Imamura continues to go along swimmingly getting his 4th 1-2-3 inning without issue. This includes getting PH #13 Motose out - who was hitting for Nakatsuhara.

7th Inning
In steps #10 Mori who immediately strikes out Sakai on 3 straight pitches. He had Nishiyama down 1-2 before he gets around an inside fastball, shooting it past Kawahara for a base hit.

But Kushida looks as silly as Sakai, chasing a ball clearly out of the zone.

And the half inning finally ends with a thud as Nishiyama is caught stealing 2nd on a delayed steal.

Kushida's AB must've been so bad, he was replaced by #16 Saitou in the field (kidding).

I still don't see the Toyama Dai-ichi batters having much of an idea what to do other than find the first pitch you like and swing away. That results in 2 quick outs before Imamura walks Iwaki.

Then he moves in the scoring position when a ball gets away from Hirokawa... who proceeds to draw his own walk.

Kawahara attacks the first pitch right after, prolly thinking "he's going to establish a strike here". And he's right...

But he lines out to Saitou and that's that.

8th Inning
Chuuetsu, for all Imamura is doing, is not helping him at all. Sakagami gets a base hit to center, but when they try the hit and run, Imamura strikes out, and Hazama throws out Sakagami for a double play of sorts.

And all Okada can do is stand there and then walk to the dugout after looking at a fastball down the middle.

One down and Matsui hits a ball to 2nd. Okada flubs it, and Matsui is on...

... via an error.

Taniguchi looks to lay down a bunt, but is patient and instead draws a walk! Big chance for Toyama Dai-ichi if they could just get a hit!

Mori perhaps a bit too eager, swings on the first pitch and pops out.

And now Houdatsu walks! It's manrui, and Imamura could give up a run without a hit. He could actually pitch a no-hitter and lose!


Sasaki with a laser comebacker and somehow Imamura snags it out of the air!! 3 out!!!

The no-hitter lives!!

9th Inning
And yet, his offense quickly goes down in order and he has to preserve the draw. And if he wants that no-hitter, it'll have to be in enchousen.

One down, and Hazama drives a ball to right center! Oogoshi chases after it... but he won't get there! That'll fall in for a double!

Not only is the no-hitter gone, but now Imamura has to fight for his team's life!!

OH NO!!!!!

Kawahara takes a ball the other way to left center!! That's a base hit! Hazama is going to score, and just like that it's all over! Toyama Dai-ichi saves it 2 hits for last and wins 1-0!

Ugh, it's obviously crushing for Chuuetsu and Imamura most of all. There's no way you can put all that into words. All you can do is see Imamura rightly inconsolable. And even in the interview he's trying to hold the tears back.

There's just nothing you can do. These things are always bound to happen. Just do what you could. Give the guy a hand, and let him know you respected all he did.

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