Showing posts with label Akita. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Akita. Show all posts

Thursday, July 24, 2014

4 more champions crowned and what's on deck today

So here's what happened yesterday as all 4 title games started together:

Minami Hokkaido
Man, I had wanted Otaru Chouryou to win the title. And they had a dream matchup in the final in Toukai Dai-yon who is a good team, but not top echelon.

The game absolutely flew by.  Toukai Dai-yon scored a run in the first, and then it was a sprint to the finish, with both sides attacking early and often.

The game lasted 83 minutes.  83!  And Otaru Chouryou was just out-matched, or you could say that they kinda played themselves out of the game with how quickly they played.  Either way, Toukai Dai-yon takes advantage of the opportunity with the open bracket and they will book their flights.

Akita
When I saw that Kakunodate had advanced to the final, I was so happy for them. Last year ended in heartbreak versus Akita Shougyou in the 15th inning.  I wanted them so badly to get to Koushien.

But they were playing Noshiro Shouyou (fka Noshiro Shougyou), and it was pouring down rain.  For the underdog, perhaps things weren't in their favor again.

Yet it was Kakunodate who had put pressure on Noshiro Shouyou early, finally breaking through in the 3rd with a run, and then adding a pair after that.  But with the elements making things miserable, ace Souma would give chances for Noshiro to get back in the game.  But time and time again they got out of the jam.

One final pinch in the 9th, runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs, Noshiro gets a base hit.  Inexplicably, the runner from 2nd tries to take home on the shallow ball, and is easily thrown out at home to end the game and give Kakunodate the title!

Saga
Saga Kita was out on a mission to return to Koushien and found themselves just 1 game away and Saga Kougyou left in their way.

Kita took the lead right off the bat, and perhaps one thought that they could run away with it.

Not so much, and actually Kougyou would score in the 4th and another in the 5th to actually take the lead!  Didn't last long though as Kita would tie it immediately thereafter.  Kita would continue to make chances, but were unable to capitalize.  And so the game went to enchousen.

And unfortunately, it would appear that an error would decide the game.  A SS error from Kougyou would give Kita the 3-2 lead in the 10th.

Undaunted, somehow with 2 outs, Kougyou would load the bases!  And a tweet I saw had a picture of a 3-1 count.  Yet reliever Fukui found a way to get a K to end the game and send Saga Kita back to Koushien.

Miyazaki
Nisshou Gakuen would have to get past Nichinan Gakuen to win the Miyazaki title.  I don't have much information regarding the game, except that Nichinan Gakuen held Nisshou Gakuen to just 4 hits.  Nichinan got only 5 themselves, but made the most of it, scoring a pair of runs in the 2nd and made that stick to take the title for the 7th time.

So that covers yesterday.  Today we have the following
  • Kita Hokkaido - Kushiro Kougyou v. Bushuukan
  • Aomori - Aomori v. Hachinohe Gakuen Kousei
  • Iwate - Hanamaki Higashi v. Moriokadai Fuzoku
  • Yamagata - Sakata Minami v. Yamagata Chuo
  • Oita - Oita 6x-5 Meihou (10 inn) *This will be covered later
  • Kagoshima - Kanoya Chuo v. Kamimura Gakuen

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Upcoming finals matchups

5 finals matchups are set now, let’s see who will be playing for the title:

Minami Hokkaido
Things got turned upside down in the quarterfinals. First, in the second half of the quarterfinals, Toukai Dai-yon never trailed against Sapporo Dai-ichi, pulling away to an 11-5 win. Sapporo Nichidai also never trailed in their matchup, sending Komadai Tomakomai home with a 5-1 victory. This meant there was no real top level powerhouse left. It also meant that the winner of the first semifinal stood a better chance of claiming the title.

In that semi Otaru Chouryou, continuing their run long after defeating Hokushou in the regionals, built a 8-4 lead over Urakawa. But much like Nihon Koukuu yesterday in Yamanashi, they couldn’t record the final 3 outs. Urakawa would score 5 runs to take a 9-8 lead. But unlike Nihon Koukuu, Otaru Chouryou didn’t know the meaning of give up. They came back and scored 2 runs to win the game 10-9 to reach the finals! The other semifinal was not as climactic. Toukai Dai-yon scored a pair of runs early, but it was the 6-run 5th that put the game away. 2 more in the 6th and it was all over for Sapporo Nichidai.

So it’ll be the Cinderella Otaru Chouryou and the always decent, but never good enough Toukai Dai-yon who will play for the Minami Hokkaido title.

Aomori
The third quarterfinal was a shocker.  Aomori scored in only one inning against Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi, but they scored 6 in that frame.  They made it hold up in a 6-4 victory to advance to the semis.  Their opponent would be as expected Aomori Yamada, who blanked Goshogawara Shougyou 4-0.

The first semifinal was as expected, but not in the manner we expected.  First Seiai slowly built a 4-0 lead through the middle innings. That was completely wiped out by a 4-run 7th from Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei. An inning later, Kousei would push through the gyakuten run, and with 3 outs to go, Seiai couldn't find a response.  Kousei prevails 5-4 and is one step away from yet another trip to Koushien.

Meanwhile on the other semifinal, Aomori Yamada, who has been trying to return back to their glory years, also built up a 3-0 lead over Aomori.  But for some reason, despite being the more "experienced" team, they could not record the final 3 outs.  Aomori puts together 7 hits and 5 runs in the top of the 9th and completely crushes Aomori Yamada's spirit, winning 5-3!

So Aomori will need to put another performance like that against Kousei if they want to reach Koushien.

Akita
Just about all of the quarterfinal matchups were in doubt.  In fact 3 were mercy ruled (though Noshiro Shouyou was tied 2-2 until a 6-run 4th) and the 4th (Kakunodate) was a 6-0 shutout.

So it would be Oomagari Kougyou v. Noshiro Shouyou and Yuri Kougyou v. Kakunodate in the semifinals.

Kakunodate's semi (the 2nd of the 2) was no contest sadly for Yuri Kougyou.  Kakunodate scored a pair in the first, then twisted the screws in the middle innings, winning 7-0 in 7 innings.  Things were a little different in the first semifinal however.

You see, Oomagari Kougyou had managed to keep Noshiro Shouyou off the scoreboard until the 5th and even then it was just a run.  That kept them in the game long enough to come through with a 4-run 7th to take the lead.  Of course, closing games seem to be a bit of trouble for schools this year, and this game was no exception.  Noshiro Shouyou scored 3 in the bottom of the 8th to tie the game and send it into enchousen.

Right off the bat, Oomagari managed to manufacture a run, putting Noshiro immediately on its heels.  But the bugaboo of defeating a strong team got to Oomagari.  2 walks and an error led to the tying run.  And with 2 outs and the bases loaded, reliever Tashiro would give up the oshidashi, sayonara walk to give Noshiro Shouyou the victory.

And so Kakunodate will get a second chance to get to Koushien.  This time however, Noshiro Shouyou stands in the way.

Saga
Saga's semifinals were much closer than what we've seen so far.  Perhaps because all 4 schools are in Saga city.

In the first semifinal, Saga Kougyou had managed to keep Saga Gakuen off the board for 7 innings.  Then in the 8th they were able to break the scoreless deadlock with a pair of runs.  Saga Gakuen would make the standard rally, but unlike some other teams, Saga Kougyou did not break.  They would hold on for the 2-1 win and earn a spot in the finals.

Saga Shougyou put up a similar fight against Saga Kita and in fact took a 2-1 lead with a pair of runs in the 6th.  Saga Kita would immediately tie the game in the bottom half, and the game would wind up in enchousen.  In the 11th, with a runner on 1st and 2 out, top batter Kinoshita would hit a ball to right center for the sayonara RBI triple to give Saga Kita the 3-2 win and a chance to return to Koushien

Miyazaki
Miyazaki will be the battle of the Gakuen's for the title.  Nichinan Gakuen got the tougher test against Miyazaki Nichidai as the teams were knotted up at 1 from the first inning before a pair of runs in the lucky 7 for Nichinan was all they needed to move to the finals.

Meanwhile, Nobeoka Kougyou proved to be no match for Nisshou Gakuen.  Despite lasting the full 9 innings, they would be shutout 6-0.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Where we stand (Part 3 - North)

More prefectures have entered the round of 16 (and some who were already there have gone further):

Kita Hokkaido - Best 8 (en route)
With the taikai wide open as it is, teams remaining know they have a chance to head to Koushien.

Bushuukan, no stranger to the stage (though not in the end successful), did enough at the beginning and end to defeat Fukagawa Nishi 4-1.  They will be a tough test for Teshio, who finds them in unknown territory having used 2 big innings and holding off a 9th inning rally to defeat Rumoi 8-5.

Engaru got no favors drawing Shirakaba Gakuen right off the bat.  7 runs in the 3rd and 4th innings suddenly found themselves clear.  Shirakaba would not go quietly of course, and a 4-run 6th pulled them within 3.  They further culled that deficit to 2 after 2 in the 8th.  But time would run out as Engaru would win 9-7.  While it won't get any easier facing Asahikawadai in the next round, they got a surprising challenge in Kouryou.  They were shutout for most of the game, and it wasn't until a 2-run 7th that they cleared the way to the quarterfinals.

In an unfortunate battle between two Kushine regional schools, Kushiro Kougyou beat Kushiro Hokuyou 7-3. They will face an Iwamisawa Higashi squad that shutout Shibetsu Shouun 2-0.

The final 2 games of the round of 16 will be played today.

Minami Hokkaido - Best 4 (en route)
Unlike Kita Hokkaido, there was no drama at all in the first round of the prefectuals.  Urakawa, Eniwa Minami, Otaru Chouryou, Sapporo Dai-ichi, Sapporo Dai-ichi and Komadai Tomakomai all advanced.  The one surprise was Hakodatedai Yuuto who certainly was facing a tried and tested team in Toukai Dai-yon, was mercy ruled 7-0!

We had 2 of the quarterfinals yesterday, and the bye almost helped Sapporo Sousei.  Leading for most of the game, ace Hirose just needed 3 more outs to send his team past Urakawa to the semifinals.  By the time he recorded those 3 outs though, Urakawa had plated 4 runs and his team found the tables reversed.  They couldn't come back, falling 6-4.

Otaru Chouryou continues to defy the odds.  After defeating Hokushou back in the prefecturals, they managed to keep Shiriuchi at arms length in the latter innings to win 9-4.  The run perhaps looked to be at a close after they gave up 5 in the first 2 innings.  But they rallied back with 5 unanswered in the middle innings, and made it stand up for an 8-6 win.  Urakawa stands between them and a shot at the title.

Today the heavy hitters step in.  Toukai Dai-yon's trip will look familiar now as they must fight through Sapporo Dai-ichi.  Meanwhile, Komadai Tomakomai must go toe-to-toe with Sapporo Nichidai for the right to advance.

Aomori - Best 4 (en route)
The top 4 advanced to the Best 8 with mostly no problems.  Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei mercy-ruled Aomori Kita 9-0 in 7, Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi went just 5 to defeat Hirosaki Jitsugyou.  Those that needed a little more help, Aomori Yamada needed 4 pitchers to defeat Mutsu Kougyou 5-1 and Seiai needed a 4-run 7th to defeat Goshogawara 7-3 to setup the following matchups:
  • Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei v. Hirosaki Kougyou
  • Hirosaki Chuo v. Seiai
  • Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi v. Aomori
  • Goshogawara Shougyou v. Aomori Yamada
The first two games were played yesterday, and to no surprise they did not go the full 9.  Kousei won 14-1 and Seiai won 8-0, both in 7 innings.  That will be a must-see semifinal.

Akita - Best 8
The top 4 seeded teams were first up in the round of 16.  Oomagari Kougyou and Akita Minami both advanced with double digit wins.  Nishime had a tough test against Akita Shougyou but held off a 9th inning rally to win 3-2.  Yokote was the first seeded team to fall, falling to unknown Yuri Kougyou 5-1.

Oomagari Kougyou catches a break as Akita's run with close games catches up to them, shutout by Oomagari Nougyou 3-0.  Oomagari couldn't make it 3 schools from the city, but can't be blamed for losing 7-1 to Noshiro Shougyou.  Nishime better have their A-game ready.

Now here's a surprise - Yuzawa, more know for their onsen, sees their baseball team beat a well-known baseball school in the prefecure in Oodate Houmei 6-1!  With a matchup against Yuri Kougyou next, there is a prime opportunity to advance at such a late stage.

Finally, Kakunodate put Noshiro away early in the game ton win 7-3 and will need to get past 2nd seed Akita Minami.

Iwate - Best 8 (en route)
I suppose it would come as no surprise to anyone that Hanamaki Higashi as the top seed has given just 1 run in each of their 3 games so far.  They will play 5-8 seed Kuji Higashi, whose only real scare was a 8-5 win over town rival Kuji.

Oofunato had a great story going as a 5-8 seed.  3 years after the earthquake, they reached the round of 16 after rallying twice against Ibonai and then giving up a 2-run lead, to finally advance in 13.  Despite the long game, they came back and gave Senshuudai Kitami a challenge despite trailing for most of the game.  Sadly they would fall 4-3.  They will play a Mizusawa team defeated another disappointing Ichinoseki Gakuin team 2-1.

The other round of 16 games will be played today with Morioka Dai-san and Moriokadai Fuzoku taking the field.  Both have shown their opposition no mercy so far.

Yamagata - Best 8
Nichidai Yamagata appears to be back on track, recording a 13-0 win over Kaminoyama Meishinkan.  Next up will be Sakata Kouryou who have scored 4 runs in each of their games so far.

Sakata Minami still doesn't seem to be hitting their stride just yet, as it wasn't until a 6-run 8th that they distanced themselves over Kunori Gakuen 11-2.  Yamagata Jyouhoku is up next after they rallied with 3 in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Yamagata Shougyou 7-6.

Tsuruoka Minami has played nothing but close games so far, including their 3-2 upset over 2nd seed Yamamoto Gakuen.  A well-respected Yamagata Chuo will be on the other side of the field next.

The other, more well-known Tsuroka team, Tsuruoka Higashi has yet to yield a run, and will play Nagai next.

Miyagi - Best 4
The prefecture is probably Rifu's to lose.  Tohoku trailed twice against the, but when Rifu put the 3rd run up in the 6th, Tohoku could find no answer and lost 3-2.  The feel good story for Kesennuma continues as a 5-run 5th put them clear of Ishinomaki 5-3.  However, it is very hard to see them making it past this round.

Tohoku Gakuin's run didn't last long after the upset win over Sendai Ikuei.  They couldn't plate a run against Sanuma and will have to wait until next year.  Meanwhile, Shiogama's magical run continues.  After tying the game at 2 in the 6th versus Izumi Shougyou, it isn't until 7 innings later that they are able to put up 3 runs to win and advance 5-2.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Where we stand (Part 2)

More prefectures are now into the round of 16 or later, here's where they stand:

Aomori - Round of 16
Well, the top 4 seeds - Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei, Seiai, Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi and Aomori Yamada have all won their first two games to reach the round of 16 with perhaps the weakest link being Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi.  Especially when in their first game they narrowly beat Goshogawara Nourin 4-2.

Perhaps showing the lack of depth in the prefecture, only 2 of the 4 B seeds have advanced - Hirosaki Kougyou and Goshogawara Minami.

Good luck to the rest of the field.  Kousei will generally be strong, Seiai at least seems to be riding the momentum from their appearance.  Aomori Yamada hasn't been to Koushien in a while but has been surging in recent years.  And Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi isn't a slouch either though they seem to be the weaker of the bunch.

Akita - Round of 16
Akita has not been known as a strong prefecture, and this year quite a few of the regulars aren't even seeded.  In fact, none of the top 4 - Oomagari Kougyou, Akita Minami, Yokote and Nishime have really been considered consistent contenders.

Despite that all 8 of the seeded teams have at least won their first game to reach this point.  One of those teams is Kakunodate, and I will be rooting hard for them to make it this year after their heartbreaking loss last year.  Noshiro Shouyou (fka Noshiro Shougyou) easily won their first game and in what seems like a really weak tournament this year should be a strong contender.

Akita and Akita Shougyou are still around, though Akita almost lost to Meiou in their first round (3-2 win in 10 innings).

Yamagata - Round of 16
Nichidai Yamagata, who would like to prove that they're not a 1-year wonder like back in 2006 is still in the running, but an opening 3-1 victory over Kahoku doesn't instill much confidence.

If there is any consolation, it's that the other strong schools in the prefecture are struggling as well...

#4 seed Sakata Minami also struggled in their opening game, defeating Yonezawa Shougyou 2-0.  #6 seed Haguro survived a 9 round fight against Yamagata Kougyou 8-7.

This could open the door for other schools to break through such as Yonezawa Chuo and Kunori Gakuen and make the trip to Koushien.

Miyagi - Best 8
Miyagi has been a bit muted in recent years obviously the 東日本大震災 hasn't helped them at all.

Top seed Sendai Ikuei, looking to return back to Koushien had 2 strong outings, but against Tohoku Gakuin actually trailed 3-0 for most of the game before putting up a 3-spot in the bottom of the 8th to tie the game.  However that's all they would score as Tohoku Gakuin would score in the 13th to send them home 4-3.

I've said it many times before, but Tohoku really hasn't done much in recent times.  They do hold the #2 seed and despite a shaky 3-2 win over Sendai Higashi have looked solid otherwise.

Rifu is surprisingly unseeded, and not surprisingly dominating their competition.  Even after having drawn one of the 10 extra games, they have won 3 of their 4 games in 7 innings, and the other was an opening 6-0 shutout over Oogawara Shougyou.  They'll get their biggest test in Tohoku next.

Outside of those schools, it's generally been a free-for-all.  #3 seed Furukawa Gakuen is the only seeded team to fall, losing in their opening game 5-1 to Kesennuma.  It's kind of sad though that they will have to play Ishinomaki to advance to the semifinals.  Things still aren't right in those areas and it would have been nice to see both teams advance in some manner.  Ishinomaki for their part has looked really good so far with 2 mercy-rule wins.

#4 seed Shiogama has managed to advance, but 2 of their 3 games so far have been decided by 2 runs including their last against Sendai Shougyou.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Aki Taikai Recap-to-date - Tohoku

Onto the Tohoku Super-Regionals...

Aomori
Draw is set in Aomori, teams qualified are as follows:

Aomori Regionals
  • Block winners - Aomori Kita & Aomori Yamada
  • Repechage winners - Aomori Shougyou & Aomori Kita
 Goshogawara Regionals
  • Block winners - Kidzukuri & Goshogawara
  • Repechage winner - Goshogawara Shougyou
 Hirosaki Regionals
  • Block winners - Hirosaki Higashi & Touou Gijyuku
  • Repechage winner - Hirosaki Chuo
 Towada Regionals
  • Block winners - Misawa Shougyou & Misawa
  • Repechage winner - Sanbongi
 Hachinohe Regionals
  • Block winners - Hachinohe Kita & (Hachinohe) Kousei Gakuin
  • Block runner-ups - Hachinohe Nishi & Hachinohe
  • Repechage winner - Takko
 Mutsu Regionals
  • Block winner - Oominato
  • Repechage winner - Mutsu Kougyou
Seiai joins the rest of the field in where the draw spreads out the major teams. Aomori Yamada and Kousei Gakuin are all in different quadrants. Should be interesting!

Akita
Akita regionals are completed and they are in the quarterfinals of the prefecturals. Missing from the list is Natsu representative Akita Shougyou who did not even make the prefecturals losing in the 2nd round of the Chubu regionals 8-4 to Nishime.

And the power vacuum was filled in by teams who were more resourceful than the other powerhouse teams. Oomagari Kougyou rallied from down 5-1 to defeat Oodate Houmei 6-5. Akita Chuo mercy ruled Noshiro Shougyou 9-0! Oomagari won a 13-12 bloodbath versus Akita Minami, and Akita was walked off by Kakunodate 7-6.

For Kakunodate's sake I hope they get to the super-regionals and more. They were so close in the summer.

Iwate
Iwate's regionals are done and the teams to advance are as follows:

Kuji Regionals
  • Winner - Kuji Kougyou
  • Repechage winner - Kuji
Ninohe Regionals
  • Winner & Runner-up - Fukuoka & Ibonai
  • Repechage winner - Kuzumaki
Morioka Regionals
  • Winner & Runner-up - Moriokadai Fuzoku & Morioka Chuo
  • Semifinalists - Morioka Dai-yon & Iwate
  • Repechage winners - Morioka Dai-san & Morioka Shiritsu
Hanamaki Regionals
  • Extra winner - Hanamaki Higashi (they played the block winner and won 12-0)
  • Block winner & Runner-up - Touno & Hanamaki Kita
  • Repechage winner - Hanamaki Nougyou & Hanakita Seiuun
Hokuou Regionals
  • Winner & Runner-up - Senshuudai Kitakami & Mizusawa
  • Repechage winners - Kurosawajiri Kougyou & Mizusawa Dai-ichi
  • 2nd Repechage winner - Mizusawa Kougyou
Ichinoseki Regionals
  • Winner & Runner-up - Ichinoseki Gakuin (Again...) & Daitou
  • Repechage winner & runner-up - Ichinoseki Dai-ni & Ichinoseki Dai-ichi
Engan Minami Regionals
  • Winner - Oofunato
  • Repechage winner & Runner-up - Takada & Kamaishi
Engan Kita Regionals
  • Winner & Runner-up - Yamada & Miyako Kougyou
  • Repechage winner - Miyako Shougyou

Yamagata
Nichidai Yamagata plus several others got a free pass to the prefecturals, and has reached the finals only having to face Tsuruoka Higashi. Their finals opponent is Yamamoto Gakuen who rallied to defeat Sakata Minami 3-2.

In the 3rd place game the aforementioned Sakata Minami will probably have an easy time against Sakata Kouryou.

Miyagi
Sendai Ikuei will head to the Super-Regionals as the Miyagi champion... just. They escaped with a 3-2 10 inning win over Matsushima in the quarterfinals, then edging Touryou 2-1 in the finals.

Surprisingly, Rifu did not win the 3rd place game. Instead they lost 6-5 to Shibata.

Fukushima
There was a bombshell in Fukushima, well, sort of.

I say sort of because Seikou Gakuin still advanced out of the prefecture. However, they had to get in through the backdoor after losing 5-1 to Nichidai Tohoku in the semifinals. Nichidai Tohoku would win the prefecture with a convincing 6-2 win over Sukagawa.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

7/24 - Crowned champs and crowning champs

As mentioned, 4 teams crowned their champs, and several went at least to the last out.

Oita - Oita Shougyou (16th appearance, 1st in 15 years)
Oita Uenogaoka was certainly the underdog here against Oita Shougyou despite the gap in Koushien appearances.  And in the first half of the game they built a 4-0 lead.  Uenogaoka would pull within 2 with a run in the 6th and 8th, but perhaps going into the 9th needing 2 runs they were demoralized...

...because Oita Shougyou would score 13 runs in the 9th...

That's pretty much all you need to say...

Akita - Seiai (First appearance)
We were guaranteed a first timer out of Akita.  It was just a matter of who would win the title.

And nerves early on certainly played a part as the teams jumped on the starters.  Ace Hirakawa was tagged for 3 quick runs in the first 2 innings, while starter Ichido would not get a batter out in the 3rd before being taken out for ace Ono.  He too would be charged with 3 runs.

After the 3rd though, the teams settled down and the pressure was put on the offenses to respond.

In the 7th, the tie would be broken.  #6 batter Moriyama would deliver a timely hit giving Seiai the 4-3 lead.  Ono was spectacular out of the bullpen, giving up no runs and scattering 4 hits across the final 7 frames to give Seiai the championship!

Kagoshima - Shounan (18th appearance, 1st in 4 years)
The opposite of Akita happened in Kagoshima.  2 powerhouses in Shounan and Kagoshima Jitsugyou battled for the title.

Kajitsu would get out to an early 2-1 lead, and while reliever Yokota started the game, he only gave up that one run before ace Fukunaga entered the game.  However, Fukunaga would give up a pair of runs in the bottom of the 6th before his team leveled the score in the 7th.  It would remain at 3-3 until the bottom of the 9th when he would crack for the last time.

With runners at 2nd and 3rd, his counterpart Yamashita would hit a grounder to the left side.  3B Nagakura would make the diving stop, but couldn't get the final out as Shounan would win in sayonara fashion 4-3.

Akita - Akita Shougyou (17th appearance, 2nd consecutive)
I wondered if Kakunodate would be a challenge for Akita Shougyou.  A pair of runs in the 2nd after Akitashou scored 1 in the bottom of the 1st answered that question.  Ace Souma was up to the task, limiting the damage Akitashou would deal.  However, he did give up the douten run in the 4th inning then in the 8th after taking the lead gave it back in the bottom of the 8th.

The game would go into enchousen tied at 3 (Boy 3-3 games seem popular yesterday).  Souma would go pitch for pitch with counterpart Sasaki as the game ticked off innings.

But when Kakunodate would fail to score in the 15th, Souma would have to play for a draw.  And I don't know what it is, but knowing that you best case scenario is a replay the following day and you're the underdog, there is a lot of pressure on you because you cannot win the game, just lose it.

And sadly for Kakunodate, that's what happened.  1 out, bases loaded, C Miura would hit a fly to right.  The throw in would not be in time, and Akita Shougyou would break the hearts of the possible first timers 4-3 in 15 innings.

And now for titles to be decided today...

Niigata - Murakami Sakuragaoka vs. Nihon Bunri
Niigata was very scratch up until the Best 8.  The only casualty was #4 seed Niigata Kenou Kougyou as they surprisingly 2-hit by no-seed Shibata in the round of 16.  Now, the 5-8 did struggle a bit, with the exception of Niigata Meikun who I found surprising to be in such a position.

What was more surprising was that even though Murakami Sakuragaoka was a #1 seed and had done well in recent times, ace Shiina 2-hit Niigata Meikun!  That opened my eyes a bit and made me start really considering them a #1 seed.

The next top seeded team to fall would be #2 Shibata Chuo in a very flat 5-2 loss to 5-8 seed Maki where they were never really in it.  #3 Nihon Bunri almost blew it squandering a 4-run lead over Chuuetsu, but recovered to win 6-5.

The finals would be set when Murakami Sakuragaoka made short work for Niigata Kougyou, while Maki made it close for a while before a 5-spot in the 8th put them out of commission.

It goes without saying that Nihon Bunri has been to Koushien many times in recent years, while Murakami Sakuragaoka will be playing for their 1st ever.  They've done well so far., but there's one more game to go.

Kumamoto - Kumamoto Kougyou vs. Buntoku

Despite losing half of the seeded teams early, the remaining half would survive to the best 8 - the top 3 in Kumamoto Kougyou, Seiseikou and Buntoku, and #8 seed Kumamoto Kita.

Seiseikou though would have to endure a frenetical 9th where Senshuudai Tamana would score a run to make it 1-0, then rallied for 2 in the bottom of the 9th for the win.   Also Buntoku would combine for just 9 hits with Kumamoto Kita, but did just enough to win 2-1.

In the quarterfinals, Kumamoto Kougyou would continue to chug along, shutting out Kumamoto Kita 4-0.  Despite giving up just one run though, they only had one mercy rule game and that was their very first one.  Tamana Kougyou would recover from a 2-0 deficit early and defeat Uto 3-2.  On the other half, Seiseikou recovered nicely to defeat Shuugakukan in 7 innings, while Buntoku had to deal with an always scary Luther Gakuin.  Once again though, Luther Gakuin falls just short despite a 2-run bottom of the 9th losing 3-2 in 11.

Kumamoto Kougyou would advance to the finals with their 2nd mercy rule game, while Buntoku would use a 5-run 4th on Seiseikou ace Ootake to hold on for the 5-4 win.

Needless to say with just 1 run given up by Kumamoto Kougyou in their very first game, it looks like an uphill battle for Buntoku.

Monday, July 22, 2013

7/23 - 4 more tickets to be handed out

With 6 teams down, 4 more are in their final stages.

Aomori - Yet another first timer!

Sadly for Aomori Yamada this will not be their year.  Despite giving up just 6 hits to Seiai, they fell behind 3-0.  Reliever Ichido would close it out taking Seiai to the finals, winning 4-2.

In the second semifinal, Hachinohe Nishi did well early against Hirosaki but for starter Satou he would falter in the 5th inning giving up 4 runs.  Hirosaki wouldn't look back though, though ace Hirakawa did give up 7 runs in a 12-7 win.

Both Seiai and Hirosaki will be fighting for their first Natsu Koushien apperance (Hirosaki did appear in Haru Koushien back in 1971).

Akita - A real David vs. Goliath

In the first semifinal between underdog Kanashi Nougyou and favored Akita Shougyou, despite Kiba striking out 9 batters over 7 innings, he would give up the go-ahead run in the 7th.  So Akita Shougyou will move on to the finals as a "no-seed".

For Oomagari and Kakunodate, aces Shibata and Souma would be involved in a pitcher's affair.  But in the 8th inning with 2 down and a runner on 2nd for Kakunodate a fielding error allowed the runner to score.  That lone run proved to be the difference as Kakunodate would advance to the finals where they will have to slay the powerhouse to reach Koushien for their first time.

Oita - The same old story?
So, Oita had many of the same old teams emerging from the brackets towards the finals regardless of seeding.  When 1-2 seed Jyouhou Kagaku fell in their first game, Oita Shougyou was happy to oblige sweeping through their quadrant.  Same in Kitsuki's quadrant.  Oita, after a narrow victory over Mori, defeated both Hita Rinkou and Beppu Aoyama rather handily.

On the other half, Meihou and Yanagigaura both got through their games to face each other (though Yanagigaura narrowly held on over Oita Nishi 6-5).  In the quarterfinal, Yanagigaura held a 4-1 lead, but when the kantoku pulled starter Baba for Shimoike, the reliever was unable to hold the lead, giving up 4 runs (the final 2 in the top of the 9th) to give Meihou the 5-4 win.

In the other quarterfinal were Saiki Kakujyou and Oita Uenogaoka, both of whom upset the seeeded teams in their quadrant.  Certainly while having appearaed in senbatsu recently as a 21st century team it's not much more experience, they certainly haven't been a bad team in the prefecture and were probably the favorites.

But right off the bat, Saiki scored a run.  That run would stick until the 6th when Anami(?) hit a game-tying HR making it an new ball game.  Forward to the 9th and Tajiri would deliver the sayonara hit sending them to the semifinals.

In the semifinals, Oita Shougyou wound up blowing a 5-1 lead in the later innings to Oita before #9 batter Emoto would deliver the game winning hit to put their team in the finals.  They will face Oita Uenogaoka who used a 6-run 5th to defeat Meihou 8-6.

Kagoshima - The real folk blues...

(Sorry this is abbreviated for now, will update later)

If you not one of the seeded teams for the most part.

In fact all but 2 seeded teams advanced into the Best 8. First was Shoushikan. In their very first game against Kagoshima Chuo, ace Nakano couldn't hold a 2-0 lead, giving up a pair in the 7th. After being replaced by Yoshikuni in the 8th, he couldn't hold the tie. #3 batter Nishi gets the timely hit to put Kagoshima Chuo up 3-2 as Horikiri closes it out in the 9th for the upset.

Two days later was Kajiki Kougyou. They had a 3rd round matchup with Kawauchi Shoukou. Despite ace Fukukura's average outing, the Kajiki kantoku decided to pull him for Tamoto after 5 innings. That would be costly as Kawauchi would score 2 runs immediately after the reliever entered the game. Kajiki Kougyou immediately went into panic mode as they used the lucky 7 to tie the game at 4 then add on one more to take the lead. But Tamoto just couldn't make it to the 9th. He gives up the douten run in the 8th, then the sayonara run in the 9th with 2 outs.

In the end Shounan would best Kagoshima Jyouhou 5-1, while in the other semifinal, Kanoya Kougyou almost pulled off the upset against Kagoshima Jitsugyou, but ace Hashiguchi couldn't close it out. He would be charged with all 3 runs in the 7th as Kajitsu would pull away 9-4.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

7/21 - Final & Semifinal Matchup Update

So here's where we stand for prefectures either having their finals or semifinal matchups:

Finals
Minami Hokkaido - What's old is new again...
Sadly, it was not a good day if you were from Hakodate.  For Hakodatedai Yuuto, Murata and Kudou would combine to give up just 5 hits and 2 runs to Komadai Tomakomai (both charged to Murata).  However, they would only get 4 hits of their own... and were shutout by their counterpart Ishii.

For Hakodatedai Hakuryou, they had an opportunity (or perhaps a slap in the face) when Hokushou did not start Oogushi.  And indeed a pair of runs in the 5th gave them a 2-1 lead.  Oogushi would come in though in the 6th to clamp things down.  And Kaneda would wilt under the late game pressure as 4 unanswered runs in the final 3 innings would give Hokushou the 5-2 win.

Saga - "Chase the chance!" (extra props to anyone who knows the reference)
The Saga semifinals had teams that had some experience at Koushien, and thus perhaps were favored in their matchups.

First up a matchup with 2 seeded teams in Saga Kougyou and Arita Kougyou.  Ace Furukawa had done well to shut down the former the 1987 representative, but still found themselves down 2-1.  However in the 6th Kusano would tie the game with a base knock and the game would eventually head to enchousen.

Just one inning in, and Arita Kougyou had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs.  #3 batter Kishigawa would get his only hit of the game, but it would be a hit that would send his team to the finals for a chance at their first ever title in their 113 year history!

In the 2nd semifinal, it would get off to a terrible start for favored Imari Nourin.  An error in the first inning would lead to 2 runs for Waseda Saga.  They would have to play catchup for the rest of the game, but Waseda ace Kuroiwa would not give them any chance.  Imari would get one last chance with runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs in the 9th, but Kuroiwa would shut the door on a 5-hit shutout sending Waseda Saga to the finals for a chance at their first title... in their 3 year history.

Nagasaki - The same old story... though just.
With 4 seeded teams and all recent Koushien participants, it would be much of the same.

First up, scrappy Senbatsu participant Souseikan and Nagasaki Nichidai.  While Nichidai took the lead 1-0 in the 1st inning, Souseikan would depend on that sticktuitiveness to exchange blows in the middle innings emerging with the 5-4 lead.

But the 9th inning proved to be too tough for ace Oono.  2 outs bases loaded and Nichidai sends up pinch hitter Miyahara.  He delivers a base hit to left, scoring they douten and gyakuten run.  They would not leave anything to chance as Fukuda would come in relief, strike out 2 in a scoreless 9th for the save and a chance for their 6th title since 2000.

In the other game, Sasebo Jitsugyou and Kaisei would be trapped in a defensive standoff with both teams getting opportunities, but unable to convert them into runs.

The decisive blow would come in the 8th inning when with a runner on for Kajitsu, #3 batter Yamaguchi would blast a 2-run HR to give them a 4-2 lead.  Kinoshita would end the game setting up a matchup between Nagasaki Nichidai and Sasebo Jitsugyou.

Okinawa - David vs. Goliath(?)
With most of the well-known teams gone, it seems that the Fall Kyushu champions Okinawa Shougaku would be a breeze to go once again here in the summer.

But before that we had the first semifinal between unseeded Misato Kougyou and seeded Yaeyama, both looking for their first title.

And Yaeyama certainly had the upper hand early building a 3-0 lead after 3 innings.  And while Ikemura wan't exactly in tip top shape, after a double play in the 8th things seemed well...

But a pinch hit single by Naima followed by another from Kanda put two runners on quickly.  Then Nishikuratou's (西蔵當) fly ball to left was botched by Higa allowing both runners to score!  That would be followed by a wild pitch allowing the douten runner to reach 3rd, and then a hit batter putting Shimabukuro on at 1st for the gyakuten run.  2 pitches later, cleanup batter Miyagi Ryouta (宮城 諒太) would single through the left side tying the game up at 3.

No amount of going to the mound would help Ikemura as Matsudou would bloop one into left.  Higa's throw home take a couple of bounces but is on line.  However, Shimabukuro slides around Takara giving Misato Kougyou the 4-3 lead.

And in one final indignity Takaesu (高江洲) blasts one to center, just past the reach of a sprinting Higashinagata (東長田) who stumbles and falls.  As Takaesu rounds the bases, Higashinagata fumbles with the ball allowing Takaesu to round 3rd for a running 3-run HR to make it 7-3.  Iha would come in for Misato Kougyou to close out the game sending them to the finals.

In the other semifinal Mawashi proved to be a formidable opponent for Okinawa Shougaku tying the game at 2 in the top of the 9th inning.  But in the 10th, cleanup batter Shibahiki would deliver the sayonara run to send Okinawa Shougaku to the finals.

So it'll be underdog Misato Kougyou facing the defending fall champs Okinawa Shougaku for the right to head to Koushien.


Semifinals
Aomori
I have no clue how the Aomori HS Baseball Federation decided on rescheduling games because they weren't in chronological order.  Thus seeded teams like Touou Gijyuku wound up playing on back-to-back days in their first two games!  (Though it didn't seem to affect them at the time)

The first major casualty was seeded Hachinohe Kougyou.  A 4-run 8th for Noheji busted their chances at a title as they fell 6-4.

Despite the wacky rescheduling, they were back on schedule by the 16th.

Now, you may not have known this but Kousei Gakuin changed their name to Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei.  This happened back in April.   Was it because of the bad luck they've experienced being the bridesmaid 3 straight Koushien tournaments?  Who knows.  It didn't seem to affect them, getting past 1-4 seed Touou Gijyuku and reaching the best 8.

Next up was Seiai - a team that hasn't gone to Koushien, but can be a real pain in the ass for teams trying to get there.  Still, Kousei led 1-0 heading into the 8th.  But perhaps Nakai-kantoku left ace Satou in there an inning too late as Narita and Sasaki drive in a run each and gave Seiai the 2-1 lead.  Ace Ono would finish it out and end Kousei's chance at the title.

Their opponent would wind up being Aomori Yamada.   After many years of scuffling, it might look like they're on their way back - as denoted by their 1-4 seed.  But perhaps not fully.  After 2 easy wins, they would have to rally from a 6-2 deficit to defeat Hirosaki Minami 7-6.  It might have served as a wakeup call as in their next game against 5-8 seed Goshogawara Shougyou, they would win handily 8-2.

In the other semifinal, we have two upset-minded teams.  First up, Hachinohe Nishi.  After an easy first round, Aomori would plunk 9 runs on them in the 2nd inning.  Yet Hachinohe Nishi would claw their way back to 12-11 with 3 innings to go.  And in the 8th, they would complete the comeback with 2 runs to win 13-12.  Then later in the quarterfinals against 1-4 seed Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi, they would fall behind yet again.  And once again they would fight back to tie it in the 8th, then win it with 2 in the 9th for the 6-5 victory.

They will play Hirosaki for the other spot in the finals.  And early on you could have called them the cardiac kids.  Already having survived a 10 inning affair in their first game, they faced off against inter-city rival Hirosaki Kougyou.  They came back to tie the game in the later innings at 3, and would go 14 innings before taking the lead and having Hirakawa hold on for dear life for the win.  If that weren't enough, Noheji in their next game would not let let Hirosaki have an easy game, having an answer for every punch thrown at them.  But when Hirosaki put one more on the board in the 9th, Hirakawa made sure yet again that their opponent would not have a response.

Oddly enough, against their first seeded team in Hachinohe Kita... they mercy ruled them!  Go figure.

Akita
Akita turned out to be a bonafide scramble.  Many of the seeded teams looked rather beatable, and #5 Akita Kougyou was the first to fall thanks to a 4-run 8th by Oomagari.  Next up were top seed Noshiro Shouyou, #2 seed Honjyou and #5 seed Yokote.

And all 4 remaining seeded teams would fall in the quarterfinals!

But within these 4 no-seeds is a fox among the hens.  Yes, Akita Shougyou was a no-seed.  And though perhaps it seemed justified with 2-0, 3-0 and 2-1 wins (including the latter against #1 Noshiro Shouyou) a mercy rule win over #8 Akita Nishi showed everyone that they're still a powerhouse, seed or not.

Kanaashi Nougyou will be tasked next to remove the hidden final seed in the field.  After surviving 10 innings against Araya, they would shutout both #5 Yokote and #4 Akita Chuo by scores of 2-0 and 1-0.

The other semifinal guarantees a team a chance at their first summer title.  The aforementioned Oomagari would go on to narrowly defeat Akita Minami 3-2 then have ace Shibata scatter 5 hits to defeat #3 seed Ootdate Houmei 3-1.

Their opponent will be Kakunodate.  After 2 easy mercy rule games they started off facing #2 Honjyou.  And no offense to Honjyou, but they're probably one of the easier (most hard-luck) high seeded teams to face.  Sure enough ace Souma would give up just 4 hits while striking out 11 in a 2-1 win.  After that would be the other seeded team you'd want to face in Akita - #7 seed Meiou.  This time, Souma would throw a 3-hit shutout striking out 9 to reach the semifinals.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

7/13 Update - Ah, the rain... (Hokkaido, Tohoku)

...at least for the Tohoku region.

Kita Hokkaido
So, Kita Hokkaido restarts on the 13th.  And perhaps surprisingly, mostly blowouts.  Obihiro Ootani and Asahikawa Ryuukoku both advanced via mercy rule, Takikawa Nishi passed by Kitami Hokuto by the score of 3-1.

Aomori
The rain had prevented games from being held at Haruka Yume Stadium for 2 days.  And on the 11th, the final games at Aomori Municipal and Hachinohe Nagane were rained out.

All stadiums were able to hold games on the 13th, and for Hirosaki who had to wait 2 days they needed one more inning at Maple to defeat Touou Gakuen 3-2.

A lot of seeded teams also kicked off on the 13th.  1-4 seed Hachinohe Kougyou needed extras to defeat Towada Nishi, while 5-8 seed Oominato became the first casualty, losing to Aomori 9-4.

Aomori managed just 1 game on the 12th, with is too bad for Hirosaki Jitsugyou as they led Tsuruta 16-0 after Tsuruta's half of the 4th when the game was called due to rain.  In the battle of Hachinohe Koudai schools, it was seeded Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi, who defeated their younger counterpart Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ni 16-4... though with games called off elsewhere, I'm betting that the 10-run 5th that put the game on mercy status was partially due to the weather.  Which may have been a shame for the underdog.  Even Maple Stadium succumbed on the 12th, with only the first game finishing as Noheji managed to make a 4-1 lead stick, defeating Goshogawara 4-3.

Only 2 close games back on the 11th and both were at Maple Stadium - Towada Nishi just down 1-0 to Momoishi in the bottom of the 9th ties the game and then wins it 2 innings later.  Takko trailed Misawa Shougyou 3-0 after the 1st inning, but came back to win 4-3.

Akita
Akita was rained out on the last two days, but finally got games in on the 13th.

Mostly blowouts, but 2 games excitingly went into extras.  Akita Hokuryou managed to tie the game at 2 in the bottom of the 9th, however things all went awry in the 12th when Yokote Seiryou scored 5 and put the game out of reach.

In the other game Yashima, trailing Oomagari Nougyou Oota 5-3, mounts 2 rallies in the 7th and 8th after their opponents try to extend the lead, tying it at 8-8!  But they couldn't immediately capitalize and Oomagari would win with a run in the 12th.


Iwate
Iwate meanwhile, has been totally rained out so far.  Who knows when they'll be finally able to get started.

Yamagata
Yamagata opened play on the 12th, and with a 10-run 1st Yamagata Jyouhoku easily got by Oguni.  The 13th saw more blowouts, but games were rained out at Tsuruoka Dream Stadium.

Miyagi
Miyagi opened yesterday at Ishinomaki Municipal with Shiogama defeating Tsukidate 9-2 in 8 innings.

Fukushima
Fukushima opened on the 11th, and while I don't necessarily get to see pictures of opening ceremonies across the prefectures, Fukushima is the first I've seen to have teams march in with their school flags (photo credit Asahi).

And the opening game was a heartbreaker for Iwase Nougyou.  Leading 4-3 with just 3 outs to go, Kiyota for Haramachi hits a running gyakuten 2-run home-run and they win 5-4.

First full day of games followed on the 12, and there are quite a few close 1st rounders.  Fukushima Nishi pulls out the 2-1 win a run in the bottom of the 8th over Nakoso KougyouAoi breaks a 3-3 deadlock with Sukagawa Touyou with 2 in the 10th.

The theme continued on the 13th with Souma Higashi rallying in the bottom of the 9th with a pair of runs to tie the game at 5.  And when Asaka Reimei scored 3 in the 10th, Souma Higashi almost pulled it off again, but fell short losing 8-7.

It was a relatively good day for the combined teams as well.  Sousou Fukushima (Futaba, Haramachi, Souma Nougyou) held off Adachi Higashi for the 6-4 win.  Aidzu Nishi Rengou (Nishi-Aidzu, Kitakata Higashi, Bange) made a 4-0 lead barely stick with a 4-3 win over Shuumei.  It was not a clean sweep though as the combined team of Nakoso-Toono-Onahama were mercy ruled by Kooriyama Kita Kougyou.

One game was rained out, and that was Aidzu Kougyou vs. Shoushi at Aidzu Stadium - this despite Aidzu Kougyou holding a 3-2 lead after 6 innings.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

93rd Koushien Qualifying - July 16th-23rd (Hokkaido & Tohoku Region)

Ok, so I still haven't been able to get to the Kinki prefectures. I need to quickly double back and do Hokkaido and Tohoku before prefectures finish. (Too late)

Kita Hokkaido
Round of 16
  • Asahikawa Kougyou kicked off play with a 7-3 win over Wakkanai. They'll play Komadai Iwamizawa who shutout Obihiro Ryokuyou 3-0.
  • Kushiro Kounan down 3-0 to Kitami Hakuyou in the bottom of the 9th scores 3 to tie the game! And they then go on to win the game 4-3! They get Engaru who blew out Hiro-o.
  • Memanbetsu handles Kushiro Kougyou and will play Iwamizawa Higashi who scored a minor upset in beating Bushuukan 3-2.
  • Shirakaba Gakuen, one of the teams on the inside track, used a 5-run 1st inning to cruise over Asahikawa Minami 9-5. Asahikawa Nishi looks to avenge them in the quarterfinals after almost blowing an 8-0 lead to Wakkanai Ootani.
Quarterfinals
  • Komadai Iwamizawa continues on a collision course with Shirakaba Gakuen with a mercy win over Asahikawa Kougyou. The last obstacle to the finals is Engaru who recorded their 2nd mercy win and 2nd double digit offensive output.
  • Memanbetsu moves one step closer to the finals with a convincing 8-2 win over Iwamizawa Higashi. Only problem is, Shirakaba Gakuen stands between them and a finals appearance.
Semifinals
  • Engaru ace Furugoe(?) Tomoaki (古越 友章) seems to come out of nowhere in terms of being able to manage a game. Despite giving up 9 hits and 5 free passes, he limits Komadai Iwamizawa to just 2 runs! Combine that with their 3 in the 3rd and it's Engaru who finds themselves in the finals!!
  • It started to look like it was going to be an all-new final as Engaru has never been to Koushien, and neither had Memanbetsu. Yet here was Memanbetsu holding a 2-1 lead over Shirakaba Gakuen! But in the 4th Shirakaba showed they have staying power, scoring 3 and putting Membanbestu behind the 8-ball. Surprisingly though, Memanbetsu did not fold. They scored one in the lucky 7 to pull within 1. However, that would be as close as they would get as ace Kobayashi would shut them down.
So it's rookie Engaru versus the one-timers Shirakaba Gakuen for the Kita-Hokkaido bid!

But in reality, feel good stories only go so far. Engaru fought hard, but in the end was shutout by Shirakaba Gakuen who will make their 2nd appearance at Koushien! But kudos to Engaru. I really wish they made it this year.

Minami Hokkaido
Round of 15
  • Hokkai gets a bye here, but needs to rest up as they're matched up with another favorite team of mine, Hakodatedai Yuuto who won their game over Toukai Dai-yon 4-0.
  • Tomakomai Chuo used a 5-run 8th to defeat Eniwa Kita 7-3. Next up will be Shiriuchi who went on a 3-0 run for a gyakuten victory over Otaru Chouryou.
  • On the other side of the bracket, Sapporo Minami edges out Hokkaido Sakae 3-2, but will have their hands full with Sapporo Dai-ichi who had a 5-inning mercy win over Sapporo Kousei.
  • And in the last pairings, Komadai Tomakomai was tasked with a difficult challenge in Hokushou, but was able to pull it out with a 5-3 win. Shoushi Gakuen will have to take up the flag against them next after they beat Hakodate Chuubu 3-1.
Quarterfinals
  • Sadly for my team, Hakodatedai Yuuto can't keep up with Hokkai. They fall 6-2. Tomakomai Chuo will step into the ring next as they defeat Shiriuchi 4-1.
  • Sapporo Minami's Ooma 4-hits Sapporo Dai-ichi and will look to reach the finals with a victory over Komadai Tomakomai who won 6-3.
And finally to the semis. Once could almost see it coming given the teams involved. Komadai Tomakomai may finally be surging once again after 4 years of anonymity. They shutout Sapporo Minami 4-0 to advance to today's final. As for Hokkai, they take it to Tomakomai Chuo 7-0 in 8.

So we're back to the days of umm.... last decade? Hokkai and Komadai Tomakomai for the Minami Hokkaido bid!

Aomori
As the first 2 rounds ended, we had some interesting games such as Goshogawara Nourin scoring 4 in the 9th for a gyakuten victory over Shoufuu Jyuku, Aomori Toyama giving up a 5-1 lead to Hirosaki before winning 6-5 in 11, St. Ursula and Hachinohe Suisan in a barnburner with Hachinohe winning 12-11 in 10, Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi needing 4 in the 8th to beat Goshogawara 5-4, and biggest of all A seed Hachinohe being mercy ruled by Seiai 11-2 in 7!

So all seeded teams outside of A seed Hachinohe advanced to the round of 16...

...and for the most part, things went status quo. B seed Touou Gijyuku was the next seeded team to fall, losing 3-2 to Kidzukuri. And those teams that pulled off upsets (Noheji Nishi and Seiai) continued on with convincing victories.

In the quarterfinals, the trend continued. So far Noheji Nishi fell behind Aomori 2-0, scored 3 to take the lead, watched Aomori tie it in the bottom of the 8th and plated the winning run in the 9th. Seiai ace Naraoka held Hachinohe Nishi to just 1 run, and their 2 runs was just enough to advance to the semis.

Akita
Teams started to stumble as early as the 2nd round. First of those was actually the top seed Oomagari Kougyou who could only muster just 6 hits and 1 run on Nishime as they lost 2-1! 5 seed Akita Kougyou almost lost too if it weren't for a 3-run 9th for a gyakuten victory over Oodate Kokusai. 7 seed Akita Hokuyou did lose, getting shutout 2-0 by Akita Chuo.

In the round of 16, Akita Kougyou did lose but not just to any team though. Noshiro Shougyou, last year's representative, defeated them 4-1.

Even though Akita Shougyou was a #3 seed, the team has had so much experience, it's no surprise that they're advancing through the brackets with as much relative ease as possible. The same can't be said for #2 seed Honjyou as they were the next team to fall. Akita Chuo took them to the limit, scoring 2 runs in the 11th after Honjyou did the same, and slayed their 2nd seeded team, 5-4 in 12 innings! In other games, Nishime's run ends at the hands of #8 seed Kanaashi Nougyou 7-4 and Noshiro Shougyou continues their repeat bid with an impressive 7-1 win over 4-seed Oodate Houmei.

The semis continued to impress. Noshiro Shougyou moves just one game away from a back-to-back appearance defeating Kanaashi Nougyou 6-3. In the other semi, Akita Shougyou looked to be in full control of the game early, getting 4 runs in the 2nd and another in the 7th to lead 5-1 over Akita Chuo. But if there was a time perhaps to have a lucky 7, it was now. Chuo scored 4 runs to tie the game and now Shougyou had to be nervous. They had every right to because 1 inning later, they'd plate another run and take a 6-5 lead! Shougyou tried to comeback, but could not - meaning that Akita Chuo will face Noshiro Shougyou for the title!

In the final again, it was a nice run for Akita Chuo, but in the end it was the "favorite" in Noshiro Shougyou that prevailed. They get 2 in the 1st, and 4 more in the 4th spelled doom. Noshiro Shougyou earns their 2nd consecutive appearance and 3rd overall.

Iwate
Running through the 2nd round we had Daitou breaking a 2-2 tie against Iwate with 4 runs in the 9th, but needing all 4 as Iwate scored 3. Morioka Kita allowed Morioka Nougyou to score 3 in the bottom of the 9th extending the game, but 5 runs in the 10 settled matters.

Round 3 saw Hanamaki Higashi get their 2nd mercy rule game in as many played. Miyako Kougyou brings some joy to their city as they move on with a 5-4 win over Ichinoseki Kougyou. Oofunato does the same as they mercy rule Kitakami Shounan. Karumai scores 7 runs in the last 4 innings to bid sayonara to Morioka Shougyou 9-8.

Onto round 4 and Kamaishi does their town proud as they score 4 in the 8th to pull off the upset over Ichinoseki Gakuin 7-6!

As we entered into the Round of 16, those nice stories start facing realities. Kamaishi fall 5-2 to Ichinohe. Miyako Shougyou is mercy ruled by Morioka Dai-san. Kuji Higashi gives Hanamaki Higashi the fight of their lives, but Hanamaki Higashi scores the sayonara run to win 5-4. Morioka Chuo ends Miyako Kougyou's run with a 12-5 win. Only Oofunato remained, though they had to beat Kuji 6-4 to do so.

Quarterfinal play say Morioka Dai-shi with 3 runs in the luck 7 to defeat Ichinohe 4-3. They will play Hanamaki Higashi as they end Oofunato's run 6-2.

In the battle of Morioka schools, Dai-san shuts out Dai-ichi 4-0 to advance to the semifinals. They will play Moriokadai Fuzoku as they win over Morioka Chuo 4-1.

So Hanamaki Higashi was the "odd man out" as it were. 3 Morioka schools and 1 Hanamaki school. To boot we could have had something similar to Nichidai-san v. Nichidai-ni a couple of years back if Morioka Dai-shi and Morioka Dai-san had won their games.

That was not to be though as Kikuchi Yuusei's alma mater crashed the party. They built a 4-0 lead on Dai-sh1 but almost frittered it away in the top of the 9th. Dai-shi pulls within 1, but reliever Ohara shuts it down just in time.

The other semifinal was hotly contested. Moriokadai Fuzoku and Morioka Dai-san were tied at 1 until the lucky 7th. That's when Moriokadai Fuzoku scored 1 to break the deadlock, but then Dai-san responded with 4. That would prove to be the difference as Dai-san advances to face Hanamaki Higashi 5-2.

Yamagata
Yamagata's first full day included Kunori Gakuen and Yamagata Shougyou playing to a 4-4 draw! In the replay, Kunori Gakuen would advance with a 3-1 win.

In other games in the 1st round, Yamagata Meisei rallied for 3 in the 9th, but fell short 4-3 to Shinjyou Higashi. My irrational favorite team here, Haguro had to go 12 against Yamamoto Gakuen to win 6-5.

Round 2 saw the first seeded teams to fall. 5-8 seed Kita-Murayama falls to Yamagata Jyouhoku 5-1. Fellow seed Sakata Kougyou lost 3-1 to Toukaidai Yamagata as well as Tsuruoka Kougyou who lost 6-5 to Yonezawa Chuo. Haguro continued shutting out their opposition as Tateoka failed to score.

Outside of that it was mainly status quo to the Best 8 with one exception. My Haguro upset Sakata Minami to the tune of 9-3!! Toukaidai Yamagata will be next up in the quarterfinals.

The first day of quarterfinal action was yesterday. Tsuruoka Higashi finally was put to the test by Yamagata Kougyou. Ace Furuichi(?) was up to the task still, limiting them to 1 run on 9 hits. The offensive output was limited to 3 runs, but was more than plenty. Their opponent will be 4-seed Nichidai Yamagata who mercy ruled Yamagata Jyouhoku.

Miyagi
As the field of 16 started to form we saw some familiar names. Tohoku made it without breaking a sweat. So did the other seeded teams - Sendai Ikuei, Touryou, and Furukawa Kougyou. Joining them was Rifu - who almost let the game slip away against Shibata.

Because of the rainouts, they condensed Round of 16 play into 2 days with all seeded teams in play on the 21st. All 4 advanced. In the other games:
  • Tome def. Sanuma 6-3
  • Sendai Shougyou def. Sendai Dai-ichi 5-2
  • Tohoku Gakuin def. Kogota Nourin 3-2
  • Rifu def. Ishinomaki Kougyou 3-2
Yesterday was quarterfinals, with all teams at Kleenex Stadium Miyagi. First up was top seed Tohoku, who had no trouble with Tome 13-1 in 5. 4-seed Furukawa Kougyou was up next and while they never trailed Tohoku Gakuin, it took 2 runs in the 8th to finally stay ahead and win 6-5. Doubt they'll be able to get away with that against Tohoku.

Afternoon session began with Touryou playing Rifu. Needless to say Rifu as of late has been a very good team in Miyagi. Rifu's Katou shuts the 3-seed out 6-0 and advances to the semis!

And if one upset wasn't enough, we had 2! 2-seed Sendai Ikuei was in a fight with Sendai Shougyou early. But then Sendai Shougyou scores 3 in the 6th to pull away! Ace Kome doesn't allow a run after the 3rd and it's a 5-1 upset!

Fukushima
As Round 2 concluded, there we had some interesting games such as Iwaki Kaisei who rallied from down 5-1 scoring 2 in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Fukushima Minami. Fukushima Higashi stems the scoring from Yotsukura with 4 in the bottom of the 8th and hangs on to win 9-8.

The 21st saw all teams in play across 7 stadiums. Aidzu and Hobara were involved in a scoring affair, with Hobara scoring in the middle innings, but it's Aidzu's bookend scoring that leads to a 10-8 win. Iwaki Kouyou wins late with a pair of runs over Fukushima Shougyou. And Shirakawa Asahi scores the only run in the bottom of the 8th over Futaba.

After a day off, the round of 16 saw all teams in play, and the games were either blowouts or close affairs.
  • Top seed Seikou Gakuin records their 3rd mercy and double-digit game.
  • 4-seed Haramachi is unceremoniously upset as Higashi Nippon Kokusaidai Shouhei scores 8 in the 6th to win 12-2.
  • Shirakawa defeats Aidzu 8-0 in 7.
  • Despite only getting 4 hits, Iwaki Kouyou scores the only run versus Gakkouhoujin Ishikawa.
  • Odaka Kougyou mercy rules Naganuma 13-1 in 7.
  • Sukagawa holds off a 9th inning charge from Shirakawa Asahi to win 4-3.
  • Nichidai Tohoku needs 10 to defeat Aidzu Kougyou 2-1.
  • 2-seed Shouin Gakuen Fukushima scores a run in the 1st and ace Yachi makes it stick over Kooriyama Shougyou.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

93rd Koushien Qualifying - July 13th-15th (Tohoku Region)

Ok, we're cycling back up to the Tohoku region where by now all prefectures save for 4 have started play. This is where it gets nuts.

Aomori
Aomori's opening game was between (Kousei Gakuin) Noheji Nishi and Aomori Higashi Hiranai. Noheji Nishi annihilated Aomori Higashi Hiranai 29-0 in 5...

Needless to say there were more competitive games on the first full day of games which encompassed all 1st round teams.
  • At Maple Stadium Hachinohe Shougyou edged Takko 2-1 while Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ni managed to keep Sanbongi at bay 7-5.
  • At Hirosaki, Hirosaki Higashi and Goshougawara Kougyou both won easily.
  • At Aomori, Gonohe kept their one-run lead after Kuroishi Shougyou scored 1 in the top of the 8th tying the game, while Aomori Minami had no trouble with Noheji.
  • And at Hachinohe Nagane, Hirosaki Minami cruised over Tanabu while Itayanagi used a 6-run 4th to defeat Momoishi 7-5.
Yesterday (15th) was the start of 2nd round games:
  • Maple Stadium - Rokkasho and Kudzukuri Fukaura both won their games eliminating 2 of the "-nohe" teams in Shichinohe and Sannohe. Hachinohe Shougyou with just 1 day turnaround had no shot against top 4 seed Towada Kougyou 6-1.
  • Hirosaki - Mikami and Tazawa of Hirosaki Jitsugyou combine to 4-hit Aomori Kita 2-0. My team, Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi defeats Aomori Kougyou 10-4. And Noheji Nishi spoils seeded Misawa's party, staying toe-to-toe with them before getting the sayonara run in the 9th.
  • Aomori - Misawa Shougyou hangs on to defeat Goshogawara Shougyou 2-1. Hachinohe Minami dispatches Tsuruta, and Aomori Yamada gives up 4 runs to Aomori Minami in the 3rd, but manage to score 6 unanswered to move on.
  • Hachinohe Nagane - Nanbu Kougyou only needs 5 against Tanabu Oohata, Seiai survives Aomori Higashi's opening flurry to win 8-7, and seeded Hachinohe uses the middle innings to defeat Itayanagi 10-6.
Akita
Akita got started on the 14th and as of today have completed their 1st round games. These include:
  • Komachi - It was a tale of 2 days as Akita Minami and Oodate Kougyou played in close games versus Yokote Seiryou and Nikaho. The next day, Nishime, Gojyoume and Noshiro Kougyou all advanced via the mercy rule.
  • Yabase - Yuri needed a 2-run bottom of the 8th to defeat Oomagari 6-5, Futasui scored 6 runs late to defeat Omonogawa and Kakunodate breezed by Rokugou. But the game of the day had to be Ugo vs. Oga Kougyou. Ugo continued to have to play from behind. But whenever Oga was head by 2, Ugo would tie it up. Happened twice, once in the 4th and again in the 7th. Top 9 now, Oga scores the go-ahead run. With no more time to spare, Ugo finds a way to tie it up and send it into enchousen - wherein Oga scores 3. Ugo had rallied 3 times already, and in sudden death is asked to rally for a 4th time. I don't know how they did it, but they did - scoring not 3, but 4 runs for the win!
  • Noshiro (Yamana) - The only game on day 1 saw Oodate Kokusai score 3 in the 7th to score a reversal over Yokote Jyounan. Noshiro Shougyou and Akita Nishi advance neatly while Yuzawa Shouhoku bids sayonara to Oodate 2-1 in 10 innings.
  • Green Stadium Yokote - On Day 1, Akita Chuo has no trouble with Yuri Kougyou while Yokote rallies late from down 2-0 and eventually wins 3-2 in 12 over Towada. Day 2 featured the battle of Oomagari Nougyou as the primary school beat their "child" counterpart Oomagari Nougyou Oota 7-0 in 7, Meiou who stayed just ahead of Nishisenboku, and Akita falling to Araya.
Iwate
Games kicked off at Iwate Prefectural with Kuji Higashi leading wire to wire 4-2 over Kanegasaki, while Senshuudai Kitakami who got the short end of the draw defeated Fukuoka Kougyou 11-5.

Day 2 opened games across the prefecture:
  • Hanamaki - Maesawa holds on against Ichinoseki Dai-ni 4-3, Oofunato Higashi falls to Moriokadai Fuzoku, and Misawa Shougyou pulls ahead of Hanamaki Nougyou late 3-1.
  • Iwate Prefectural - In the stadium's only 1st round game, Ichinohe score 7 in the 8th to mercy rule Hanamaki Minami. In round 2 games, Hanamaki Higashi looks to return to Koshien and begins their journey with an 8-1 win over Miyako Suisan. Miyako Kougyou notches the first victory for the city with a 3-2 win over Mizusawa.
  • Shizukuishi - Kitakami Shounan beat Miyako Kita 10-0 in 5, while Ibonai rallied for 4 in the top of the 9th to defeat Tairadate 6-5.
  • Moriyama - In a case of deja vu, Numakunai rallies for 4 in the top of the 9th after Nishiwaga rallies for 3 in the bottom of the 8th and wins 7-5, Fukuoka and Ichinoseki Kougyou mercy rule Morioka Shiritsu and Senmaya.
Yamagata
Yamagata just started play yesterday at Nisshin Seiyaku Stadium. Yonezawa Shougyou and Yamagata Higashi both mercy rule their opponents in 7.

Miyagi
Miyagi started round 3 play yesterday but before we go there we have to finish round 2:
  • Shibata - All 4 winners - Igu, Izumi Tateyama, Oosaki Chuo and Tohoku Koudai all advance easily to the next round.
  • Sendai Municipal - 5 shutots, 3 of which were by the margin of 8-0. 4-seed Furukawa Kougyou, Shibata and top seed Tohoku win by that margin while 3-seed Touryou "only" wins 4-0 over Murata (it was a 1-hit shutout by the way) and Sendai Chuo 3-hitting Sendai Minami. The only non-shutout was Kesennuma winning 11-1 over Izumi.
  • Tohoku Fukuji Daigaku - Here there were 3 close games and 1 blowout. The blowout was Furukawa Gakuen beating Furukawa Reimei 11-1. In the other games, Tohoku Gakuin scores the sayonara run to beat Kakuda 3-2, branch school Tohoku Gakuin Tsutsujigaoka scores 2 in the 12th to beat Tomiya 3-1, and recent favorite of mine Rifu scores the go-ahead run in the 7th to beat Seiwa Gakuen.
  • Nango Chuo - Tome starts play here with a go-ahead run in the top of the 9th to beat Kesennuma Kouyou 5-4. In the battle of Sendai, Sendai Shougyou pulls away in the 9th to beat Sendai Higashi 7-3. In another battle, this time commercial schools, Maiya Kougyou never trails to Sendai Kougyou winning 7-4. And finally Shiogama dispatches Watari 10-0.
  • Rifu Chuo - Ichisama Shougyou mercy rules Iwadeyama while Sendai Tousen Natori couldn't stop Ishinomaki's run as they were blanked 3-0.
Round 3
  • Sendai is home to the 3 and 4 seeds yesterday as both Touryou and Furukawa Kougyou both advance with little issue.
  • At Tohoku Fukuji Daigaku, Ichisama Shougyou ended Kesennuma's run with a 2-1 win though Kesennuma tried to rally and Sendai Shougyou blanked Ishinomaki Shougyou 10-0.
Fukushima
The disaster-stricken prefecture of Fukushima began play on the 13th with Kooriyama and Asaka combining for 27 hits, chances just about every inning and Kooriyama winning 11-9. Something of note is that Asaka has someone by the name of シェイク 海斗 シャーリック. I wouldn't even know where to begin pronouncing his name but it seems like he's of Indian/Sri Lankan descendant or somewhere in that area.

Games so far haven't been affected by radiation alerts, so they're on schedule. Still wonder about the rain though...
  • Aidzu - Fukushima and Aidzu Gakuhou won handily on the 14th while Fukushima's 3-run 3rd holds against Aoi. The 15 had Wakamatsu Shougyou win 4-1 over Kitakata Touou and Nakoso Kougyou scoring 14 in 1 inning and going on to win 20-0 over Nishi-Aidzu.
  • Kooriyama - 3 shutouts, 1 blowout and 2 close games. Namie, Iwaki Kouyou and Futaba all shutout their opponents. The non-shutout blowout is Kooriyama Higashi defeating Iwaki 13-6. Ishikawa and Fukushima Tousen went 12 before Ishikawa scored the sayonara run in the 12th, while Yumoto mounted a furious comeback down 7-0 to Odaka Kougyou but fell just one run short.
  • Adzuma - Fukushima Nishi and Yanagawa both win their games by 1 while Yotsukura mercy rules Sukagawa Touyou. Day 2 saw Asaka Reimei tie the game at 1 in the bottom of the 9th, then win the attrition battle over Kawamata scoring the winning run in the 13th. Round 2 games began with #4 seed Haramachi mercy ruling Funehiki and Souma winning 9-5 over Seiryou Jyouhou.
  • Tsurunuma - 5 non-contested games with Asaka Kaisei, Aidzu Nourin, Kitakata, Tadami, and Tajima advanced.
  • Shirakawa Green - Almost the reverse of Tsurunuma. Gakkhoujin Ishikawa makes a 3-run 1st stick against Fukushima Kougyou, Iwaki Sougou scores 3 in the middle innings to defeat Tachibana, and Teikyou Asaka busts out to a big lead but it's Shirakawa Jitsugyou who outlasts them 9-8. In the other games, Kounan (again, no not that one) shuts out Taira Shougyou 16-0, and Iwaki Nougyou scores in the late innings to beat Minami-Aidzu 5-2.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

7/15 Update (Hokkaido & Tohoku Prefectures)

Okay! A run through the northern areas. And in some places, it's a whole big mess.

Kita Hokkaido
We're in the sweet 16. Block winners drew once again for brackets. Next games are slated for the 17th. Komadai Iwamizawa faces off against Kushine Kougyou. Asahigawa Kougyou meets Kitami Ryoukuryou, and Asahigawa Jitsugyou draws Kitami Hokuto.


Minami Hokkaido

We're about into the Best 8 here. Rain continues to delay proceedings here.

Komadai Tomakomai eventually dispatches handles Sapporo Kita in 8 innings, 11-0. They'll face Sapporo Dai-ichi who squeaked by Sapporo Sousei 2-1. Little Otaru Kougyou also mercies Hakodate Ootani 10-3 in 8. Hakodate Kougyou will look to exact revenge as they denied Mukawa a chance to return, scoring 5 unanswered runs, erasing a 4-0 deficit, winning 5-4.

Hakodatedai Fuzoku Yuuto will meet the winner of Hokkai Gakuen Sapporo and Sapporo Shinkawa. In progress, Sapporo Shinkawa scores 3 runs in the 6th to take the lead 3-2.


Aomori
Here, we're getting the field down to 32. Aomori Yamada breezed through Itayanagi, and is currently in a 0-0 battle in the 4th with #2 seed Seiai. The winner will face Takko, who down 1 in the 9th, scored 8 runs against Hachinohe Tousen. Ouch.

At Hachinohe Nagane Stadium, fans were treated to 2 extra inning games in the 15th. In the first game, Namioka scores one in the 11th to pass Goshogawara Shougyou 3-2. In the 2nd game, Tanabu and Hachinohe Higashi took a scoress game into extras. It would be Tanabu that would break through in the 12th for the sayonara run. All the seeded teams that have played so far have advanced.


Akita
Akita is a mess. The top seed, Akita Shougyou, was upset in its first game. They gave up 2 runs early and had managed to get one back in the 6th. But Akita Nishi scored one in the 7th and then the wheels just fell off for Akitashou as Nishi scores 5 in the 8th. Yep, they were mercy ruled. Akita Nishi makes it to the Best 8 after coming from behind once again to defeat Kanaashi Nougyou 7-4.

Honjyou survived their first game, literally saying sayonara to Kakunodate 3-2 in 11. They'll face #8 Oomari Kougyou who themselves survived a scare from Yokote Seiryou. Down 4-1, they score a run in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings to go into extras. 2 more in the 10th pushed them into the next round.

#5 Takanosu had their hands full. Facing their agricultural counterpart, Takanosu Nourin, they were down 3-0 late. They pulled within one in the 8th, and then scored 2 in the 9th to take the lead! But relief pitcher Chiba, approaching his 4th inning of work, couldn't hold the lead. With no outs, Nourin scores 2 and sends Takanosu home... Their opponent is Yuzawa Shoukou, who tied the game 2-2 in the 7th against Oodate Kokusai and scored the winning run in the 12th.

This quadrant has no seeded teams left as Araya upset #4 Oodate Kougyou. Everytime Oodate scored a run, Araya would come back with their own - and then some. Oodate Kougyou scored 2 late, but it wasn't enough, falling 9-6. They continue their run into the Best 8, defeating Aikawa 6-4.

#3 Yokote is still in the tournament, but they just as easily couldn't have. In their first game, Omonogawa scores one in the 5th and 6th to get ahead 2-0. But Yokote ties it up in the bottom of the 6th. The score remained tied until the 9th when Yokote gets the sayonara run. #6 Meiou faces Noshiro tomorrow for a place in the Best 8.

#7 Noshiro Shougyou also can't get past their first game, falling to Masuda 7-2. But the highest seed still remaining belongs to #2 Akita Chuo, but they too had a scare against Akita in their first game. Down 7-3(!), they score 4 in the 7th to tie the game. They survive by pusing 2 through in the 11th.

Yeesh.


Iwate
You know when I said that teams will have their work cut out for them against Hanamaki Higashi? Well, it's just been made that much harder because the seeded teams here are dropping like flies.

Let's start with the top 4 seeds outside of Hanamaki Higashi. Looks like the selection committee was right in not selecting Ichinoseki Gakuin. They fell behind 4-0 to Hanakitaseiun before falling 4-2.

The "newcomer" in the top 4, Iwaizumi, had a 2-0 lead against Morioka Dai-yon. But Morioka would score one in the 4th and 5th before breaking it open with 4 in the 6th. Iwaizumi falls 6-3.

Moriokadai Fuzoku is the only other top 4 team left, and they've had no troubles against Morioka Kita and Mizusawa Dai-ichi. Both look to get into the Best 8 tomorrow.

The 2nd 4 seeds fared worse. Hanamaki Minami was shutout by Kamaishi 2-0. Oofunato and Senshuudai Kitakami won their first games, but then fell in the next round. Only Takata remains, and they're on a collision course with Hanamaki Higashi should they defeat Fukuoka Kougyou.

In other games, Miyako Shougyou hope to continue their run against Fukuoka. Down 4-2 in their last game, they score one in the 7th against Mizusawa Kougyou, and then with 3 outs left they tie it up. Mizusawa pulls ahead in the 11th with 2 runs, but somehow Miyashou comes back with 3 runs for the comeback win!

Senmaya looks to take advantage of the weakened bracket as they face off against Ichinoseki Dai-ichi tomorrow.


Yamagata
Yamagata has reached their sweet 16 with games commencing tomorrow.

It's been pretty much chalk for the seeded teams. The lone exception was #4 Tsuruoka Higashi, who was upset by Okitama Nougyou 4-1.

Oh yeah, that Yamagata Higashi vs. Yamagata Shougyou game? Higashi scored once again in the 11th, and Shougyou had no reply this time.

Going around the brackets, Nagai looks to continue it's magical run against #7 Kumori Gakuen. Their first game against Kaminoyama Meishinkan saw runs scored early and often. Down 7-5 in the 8th, they tie it up and then bid Meishinkan sayonara in the 11th. Then against Yamagata Higashi, Higashi took the 1-0 lead. Each team alternated with 2 runs in the next 2 innings leaving Nagai still behind 3-2. 2 runs in the 6th though give them the lead for good.

Yonezawa Koujyoukan is a beneficiary of the Okitama Nougyou upset, facing them in the round of 16. In their first round game though against Yonezawa Shougyou, Yoneshou scored 6 runs in the middle innings to go head 6-3. But then in the 9th, Koujyoukan scores 4 to take the lead! It's never easy though as Yoneshou ties it up in the bottom of the 9th. 2 innings later though, Koujyoukan plates 2 runs and they advance.


Miyagi
Miyagi has only played their opening round games. But there have been some interesting extra-inning games though this early. Oosaki Chuo and Miyagi Hirose battled 14 innings before Oosaki scores a run in the top of the inning and win 3-2. Iwagasaki needed 12 innings to say goodye to Murata 2-1. Natori Kita needed 11 to dispatch Sendai Minami 3-2.


Fukushima
Fukushima has had some crazy games here too. The tone was set in that first game between Toono and Onahama. Since then there have been a lot of close games. Top seeded Seikou Gakuin went into extras in their first game against Futaba Shougyou, but scored 4 in the 11th for the win. They'll have to pick up the pace if they want to advance further. Sukagawa Touyou squeezed out a 5-4 win against Kitakata Touyou. Fukushima Minami was also sent home in the last at-bat by Aidzu 4-3. And Asaka Kaisei plates a run in the 10th to defeat Wakamatsu Shougyou 3-2.

Unfortunately, on the other side of things, Nishi-Aidzu was mercy ruled by Yumoto 21-0 in 5. Iwaki Kouyou beat Funehiki 12-1 in 5, but then lost to Futaba 4-1.

But I think the craziest game I've seen so far was between Aidzu Nourin and Souma. Down 1-0 in the 3rd, Aidzu goes absolutely bonkers. They score 11 runds in the 3rd. 11! Facing the 10-run mercy rule in the 5th inning, they score 2 runs to keep the game alive... but they're still down 11-3. Aidzu Nourin scores one in the 6th, but Souma responds with 3 of its own. The deficit is still 6. In the 7th inning, the unthinkable happens...

Souma, out of nowhere, scores 10 runs! 10!!!!!!

And they're up 16-12! Unfreaking real!

But Aidzu Nourin mounts a late rally. They come back with 2 in the 9th to bring it to 16-14. That's as far as it would go as Souma makes the unbelievable comeback!!