Saturday, August 13, 2016

98th Natsu Koushien - Day 7, Game 3 - Soushi Gakuen (Okayama) v Moriokadai Fuzoku (Iwate)

Our first winner from round 1 appears in Moriokadai Fuzoku who survived several comebacks from Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku. They've had time to rest, so that game should be behind them.

The question is with the final team to take the field, and that's Soushi Gakuen. They were dead to rights until a botched call (that was made right by the way) changed it all around in their favor.

The question will be, which Takada will show up? The one that produced consistent results throughout the prefecturals, or the one that lost to Takamatsu Shougyou? He can throw hard, that's no doubt, but can Moriokadai be patient enough when he's struggling?

Soushi Gakuen (Okayama)
RF Takai Shou (高井 翔)
2B Yui Asuka (湯井 飛鳥)
SS Kitagawa Daiki (北川 大貴)
LF Nanba Yuuhei (難波 侑平)
1B Fujise Kanei (藤瀬 幹英)
CF Kusaka Minoru (草加 稔)
C (12)Fujiwara Shunya (藤原 駿也)
P Takada Housei (高田 萌生)
3B Honda Ryuuma (本田 竜真)

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 (17)Akasaka Shouki (赤坂 祥基)
SS (14)Higa Kenshin (比嘉 賢伸)
P (18)Saitou Masaki (斎藤 真輝)


12:45 - First Pitch!

Moriokadai Fuzoku must've been paying attention to that Takamatsu Shougyou game in the spring. There Takada gave up 8 walks. He starts this game walking Ishibashi.

Sugawara isn't bunting, but his swings basically lays down the perfect bunt putting runners on 1st and 2nd.

Ueda is perhaps a little less patient, but is able to fight off several pitches before foul tipping a ball for the . Shiotani is the same, and just checks his swing on a 2-2 count to fill up the count.

But Takada gets Shiotani way ahead of a slider and weakly grounds into the 6-4-3 double play. Still, not a bad start as long as they can continue to play that game.

Unfortunately things do not go as smoothly in the 2nd.

Saitou issues a leadoff walk to Kawase. Kusaka lays down the bunt, but there's confusion between Saitou and Itou on who takes the ball and as a result the throw is late. Then with runners at the corners, Takada hits a ball to 3rd. Ohara wants to go home, but he double clutches and that makes the throw more than late and the run scores. 1-0.

The run and not getting the out hurts because on the very next pitch Soushi goes after the throat and has Honda squeeze. Moriokadai's defense isn't ready and the squeeze goes off without a hitch. 2-0.

Toss in a base hit by Takai scoring Takada and a 3-0 lead is not what Moriokadai needed. Especially when it could be 2-0 or 1-0 instead with good defense.

Add in another run in the 3rd, when another leadoff walk comes home on a 2-out triple to right center by Kusaka. 4-0.

Bottom 4th now, and Ueda gets Moriokadai Fuzoku on the board by blasting a letter high slider over the LCF wall. But it's just a solo HR and the score is 4-1.

Suddenly though, Moriokadai Fuzoku plays the waiting game.

  • Shiotani walks
  • Itou walks!
  • Obara walks!!
And on that last one, Takada shook off Fujiwara several times, then threw the fastball low for the walk.

So they got what they wanted, but could they capitalize?

Akasaka perhaps wanting to deliver a hit grounds to 2nd. But Yui bobbles the ball perhaps anticipating the double play! He has to go to 1st and they concede another run. 4-2.

But then Higa chops one up the middle. Yui runs it down, but stumbles making the turn and goes to 3rd as his only possible play! Everyone's safe and it's now 4-3!

Miura with a chopper to the right side! Both Takada and Fujise are converging on the ball! Yui sprints to cover 1st, but when he receives the throw he can't find the bag! All safe again and were douten at 4-4!

They're not out of the woods just yet. They're only tied and Miura has to hold serve for Moriokadai Fuzoku. He does, despite allowing a leadoff HBP to reach 3rd.

Takada's struggles go into the 5th. Sugawara and Ueda both start off with base hits.

See, Takada's in a pickle, and this is why I want batters to let a pitcher hang themselves when they're struggling. After that inning, he realizes the batters will draw a walk if they can. He just can't throw a fastball up there wherever and have them swing and miss.

He needs to hit the strike zone.

And that means the batters can size up the ball better.

Shiotani draws a walk, because you don't forget that he's still struggling out there on the mound. Manrui no out.

Itou though violates the one rule I have. Never swing on the first pitch. In the pros that might not be the case, but you're dealing with kids here and pressure can be much harder to deal with.

He falls behind 0-2, fouls off a couple, but then hits a grounder through the 6 hole! That makes it a 6-4 game!

2 outs now and Nozaka up for his first AB.

On the first pitch he blasts a ball off the left field wall for a bases clearing double and an 8-4 lead!

But with runners at the corners now and Ishibashi up Takada throws a wild pitch, but it's not that far away and yet Nozaka tries to come home. He's thrown out and the inning is over.

Things look bleak for Soushi Gakuen, even after Takai gets a 2 out single. But when Yui pops one up to shallow right, Sugawara drops the ball. All safe.

Oh, you never slack off... You're ahead, but you're not done yet...

Kitagawa hard shot right at Sugawara and it bounces off of him and into no-man's land. One run scores to make it 8-5.

Nanba with a base hit to left, now Nozaka fumbles the ball and that allows 2 runners to score, and that lead is now only 1 at 8-7. They get the 3rd out, but that was a perfect lesson in doing your job.

Now, was Moriokadai Fuzoku able to respond?

Well, after a quick K, Sugawara singles to right, then steals 2nd. He gets to 3rd on a groundout, but if they can't put a point on the board, it's game on.


Except that Takada makes one too many mistakes. He leaves a pitch over the plate that Shiotani drives to left. It's going, going... off the foul pole for a 2-run HR! That brings the lead back to 10-7 and more importantly deflates Soushi Gakuen who had thought they might be back in it.

With that HR, Takada is relieved of his duties. Nanba comes in to pitch, Takai shifts to right, and #17 Yamagami comes in for Takada to play RF.

Nanba doesn't provide much relief, giving up 3 more singles and 1 run before the side is retired. 11-7 but once again, the job isn't done.

Because Soushi Gakuen makes another rally. Kusaka starts it off with a single to center. One down now and Yamagami hits a clean single through the left side. Asou rounds it off hitting a cement mixer changeup into left for a base hit, making it 11-8 and causing a time out.

Miura gets out of the inning, but the game isn't over yet.

Moriokadai Fuzoku though goes down in order in their lucky 7. There's still 2 more to go.

Eventually it's the 9th and Soushi gets one last chance. Kusaka lays down the drag bunt and catches everyone off guard! #18 Tsuchinishi comes in to hit, and Kusaka takes the opportunity to steal 2nd. Itou's throw is way high, but there's backup to prevent Kusaka from going to 3rd.

Tsuchinishi drives a ball to deep left, but it's not enough and becomes the 1st out. Kusaka tags, but should be given no mind.

Yamagami strikes out swinging, unable to get to the outside fastball. 2 down.

Interestingly, Miura is being relieved. #10 Inoue is coming in as a righty to face the right Asou!

Asou flies out to center and Moriokadai Fuzoku completes the win 11-8!

And that my friends, is a lesson in letting a pitcher struggle on the mound. It's possible, it really is.

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