Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 2 - Game 1 - Kaisei (Shimane) vs. Kouyou (Wakayama)

With the first day of Senbatsu perhaps not going as planned for some teams, would this set the tone for the games to come?

Our 2nd day of Senbatsu begins with another possible favorite in Kaisei squaring off against another 21st century team in Kouyou.

Kaisei has some good players on both sides. Ace Shirane dominated the Chuugoku region, striking out 90 in 77 innings and sporting a 3 K/BB ratio. Offensively, look for C Idei and 3B Itohara to drive the ball to the wall and beyond. And if that weren't enough, LF Emoto and Shirane himself can add some pop as well.

This will be a tough task for Kouyou. They are not particularly great with the bat (.255 AVG) and their ace Fujita is nothing spectacular. With little that stands out for Kouyou, they are certainly facing a huge uphill battle if they want to advance.

Kaisei (Shimane) - Chuugoku Champions
3B Itohara Kento
2B Iwata Taru
SS Oohata Yuuto
C Idei Tooru
P Shirane Naoki
CF Honda Hiroaki
LF Emoto Shouhei
RF Oka Shinichirou
1B Mori Daiki

Kouyou (Wakayama) - 21st Century Bid
SS Mori Toshirou
3B Tsumura Yuuki
CF Yamamoto Jyunjui
1B Nishyama Tatsuya
2B Nishioka Toshiki
C Ootsuki Tsukasa
LF Chouda Ryuusei (#18)
P Fujita Tasuya
RF Gotou Takuma


9:01 - First Pitch!

Top 1st
Fujita starts off the game throwing 2 sliders for strikes. These are sitting in the mid 110's. A fastball away hits the low-mid 130's. He eventually gets Itohara to pop one up to left for the first out.

Iwata chops one back to Fujita for the 2nd out.

And Oohata swings at one down in the dirt for strike 3, and Fujita is off to a good start.

Bottom 1st
Shirane is throwing the heat at the Kouyou batter, hitting 141, then 142 and 143. While the control isn't quite there, he gets leadoff batter Mori to swing at strike 3.

And then Tsumura strikes out looking on a pitch that is called on the outside part. 2 down.

We finally see a couple of breaking balls coming in the high 110's. That's quite a difference.

Yamamoto, in the 8th pitch of the AB, singles through to right field.

And now he tries to steal 2nd! Idei with the throw, but Yamamoto just beats it out! Chance for Kouyou!

Nishiyama though flies softly to center ending the inning.

Top 2nd
Fujita is really locating his off-speed stuff. The fastball not as much.

Idei gets under one and pops out to 2nd. Shirane on the other hand gets a hold of one and puts it into left for a single.

But the batters are still being fooled. Honda waves at one, grounding it to 2nd. Shirane stalls just long enough to let Honda reach base.

Again though Emoto gets on top of a pitch and grounds softly to 2nd for the 3rd out. If I were Kaisei I would ignore the fastball and look for that change.

Bottom 2nd
Wow. Shirane is just mowing down the batters.

Nishioka goes down swinging.
Ootsuki strikes out looking.
and Chouda grounds out to 2nd.

Top 3rd
Oka takes a fastball up the middle for a leadoff hit.

Mori squares around to bunt, but he pops it up! Nishiyama comes in to make the catch, and as Mori comes back to the dugout, I'm sure Nonomura-kantoku is none to pleased. Sure enough, the camera catches Mori standing and Nonomura scolding him for popping out.

2nd time around the lineup and Fujita is having a bit of trouble going 3-1 on Itohara and eventually walking him. So now there's runners on 1st and 2nd for Kaisei with only 1 down.

Iwata with a hard grounder to the left side! Mori dives over, stops it! Throw to 2nd from the seat of his pants for one, relay to first... double play!

WOW! What a great play from Mori to turn 2 there, and Kaisei is held scoreless here in the 3rd!

Bottom 3rd
Shirane is certainly using his wide arsenal of pitches to baffle the Kouyou hitters.

Fujita hits a grounder right at Mori, but it bouncers off his foot and straight up! He tracks the ball which actually takes him right to 1st base for the out!

Oh ho ho...

Gotou comes up to bat and I hear the band playing "Zankoku na tenshi no teze". Win.

But he grounds out to 3rd for the 2nd out.

Shirane seems to be having some trouble this inning going full on both Gotou and Mori. While Mori bails him out swinging on a high pitch, it's something to watch out for.

Top 4th
Oohata gets under a rising fastball and flies out to center.

Idei gets a bit jammed on another fastball and grounds back to Fujita.

Shirane looks at an offspeed for strike 1, then can't check his swing on another for strike 2. But he managers to work the count full... then waves on a curve for strike 3.

Seems like they're still looking for the fastball.

Bottom 4th
Ah! Shirane is called for a dead ball on Tsumura, but on the replay it looks like he got away from the ball and wasn't hit! Tough luck for Kaisei.

AH!!! Shirane's pickoff throw to 1st is wide and gets by Mori! Tsumura advances to 2nd!!

Nonomura-kantoku immediately calls a conference on the mound.

Yamamoto squares to bunt, but it goes right into Idei's glove for strike 1. But Tsumura doesn't recognize it's not a dead-ball situation! Idei though double clutches and can't get the ball to 2nd in time!

And then Yamamoto can't lay down the bunt and has to swing away! A comebacker can't advance the runner and there's 1 down.

Shirane gets ahead of Nishiyama 1-2, but then lets him catch up! Full count... but he strikes him out looking! 2 down.

Once again ahead of Nishioka 0-2, but can't get a call on the outside corner. And then a wild pitch by Shirane lets Tsumura advance to 3rd!

And then Shirane loses Nishioka! Runners on the corners with 2 down!

Ootsuki with a grounder past a diving Iwata goes into right! Tsumura scores and Kouyou scores the first run of the game! 1-0! The phantom dead ball comes back to haunt Kaisei!

Ah! Chouda takes the first pitch to left! Emoto, already playing in charges, dives, but can't come up with the ball! It trickles towards center and Nishioka comes into score. 2-0 Kouyou!!

Nonomura-kantoku with another conference on the mound. Can Shirane stop the bleeding?

Fujita pops out to short to end the inning, but a blown call by the home plate umpire might have just cost Kaisei 2 runs. Give credit to Kouyou though, that timely hitting I mentioned about against Tenri in an earlier post... looks like they did it again.

Top 5th
Honda starts off the 5th with a leadoff walk. Emoto immediately squares to bunt and successfully puts it down. Now it's up to Oka to drive him in.

He falls behind 0-2 and waves on another slider down and away and there's 2 down.

Mori continues to flail at Fujita's offspeed stuff, and he grounds one to short. Compounding the issue, his headfirst slide into 1st base looked awful.

Cans someone please tell these kids that diving into 1st doesn't work? Please?

Bottom 5th
Ah back to Gotou and the Evangelion theme...

Now if only he could get a base hit. He instead flies out to Emoto in foul territory.

I may be a bit burned out as we start the HS baseball season again, but I always love the oen-dans.

Back to the game, Shirane certainly has settled down from last inning. Mori grounds to short and while the count goes full on Tsumura, he pops out to Itohara in foul territory for out number 3.

Top 6th
Itohara is certainly having the right idea. He takes an offspeed pitch the other way, but Chouda runs it down.

Iwata hits a liner, but right at Tsumura.

Oohata hits another fastball, but that's right at Yamamoto and Kaisei is quickly retired.

Bottom 6th
Yamamoto softly flies out to left to start the inning. Then after Shirane falls behind Nishiyama 3-1, he induces a grounder to short.

But then he plunks Nishioka in the back on a pitch.

And then on a 2-1 pitch from Shirane, Nishioka takes off for 2nd! Idei is looking ahead at making the throw he doesn't get the ball first!

Shirane's control issues are coming back as he walks Ootsuki! 2 down and runners on 1st and 2nd!

And Ishitani-kantoku is sending the runners on an 0-2 count??! The pitch is wide and Idea makes a snap throw to 3rd and they nail Nishioka! Certainly a curious call if you ask me.

Top 7th
Idei with a chopper right at Tsumura, but it takes a high hop off the infield and he can't field it! Runner on for Kaisei!

And Shirane looks at an offspeed pitch on the outside corner for strike 1. Then at 1-1 he looks at a fastball at the same corner.

Shirane with a grounder to 1st. Nishiyama with the throw to 2nd for one, and back to Fujita covering 1st and they get 2! Certainly though Shirane isn't the fastest runner out there, so they had time.

Once again, the batters are being fooled. Honda with a grounder to short, but Mori's throw is way off the mark! E6 keeps the inning going.

Emoto is jammed and he grounds out to 3rd. If Kaisei isn't in panic mode before, they might want to be now. 6 outs and down 2-0 can't be good.

Bottom 7th
Shirane strikes out Chouda to start the inning. Fujita grounds to 3rd for the 2nd out.

And Gotou and his Evangelion music lasts all of like 30 seconds as he attempts a safety bunt, but it's right at Iwata for the 3rd out.

Top 8th
Defensive change for Kouyou. #7 Suzuki Kenta takes over for Chouda in left.

Huh. I didn't notice this before, but Oka's music is also the Evangelion theme song. It's just that Kaisei's band is a bit soft. That's too bad.

Oka goes down like many others, whiffing on a offspeed down and away.

1 down and Nonomura-kantoku calls upon #17 Shinohara Makimasa to try and get the offense going. But lunges out at a pitch and grounds out to 2nd. 2 down for Kaisei.

Itohara takes a fastball and hits a grounder that goes through to right field for a base hit.

Iwata with a liner to center! Itohara makes the turn at 2nd and goes for 3rd! The throw is cutoff and Kaisei has runners at the corners with 2 down.

Ishitani-kantoku calls for a conference. Certainly they can't let the game get away from them.

Wow. I really haven't been counting, but Fujita is only at 95 pitches!

And another offspeed right in there for strike 1 on Oohata. A bail on a slider, and he's behind 0-2. Iwata takes off for 2nd, but the ball is in the dirt and there's no throw.

Oohata reaches down and golfs one, but it's right at Yamamoto and the side is retired! Chance for Kaisei is denied once again!

Bottom 8th
Defensive changes for Kaisei. Shinohara stays in the game and plays right. Oka goes from right to 1B.

And Shirane walks Mori on 4 straight! Nonomura-kantoku calls an immediate conference on the mound.

Tsumura bunts the runners over and Yamamoto steps up looking to extend the lead because certainly last inning had to concern them. But he goes down swinging for his 8th K.

EHH??? Ishitani-kantoku is having Mori steal 3rd??! But Idei's throw is late and he gets in there safely!

*flips through magazine*

Hm... he IS the main base stealer, but that has got to be a gutsy call there by Ishitani.

And Shirane walks his 2nd batter this inning! Is he finally tiring? Oh yeah, I didn't mention this before, but Shirane is built like a 1B, not a P. Interesting to see him on the mound, but he's been effective for the most part.

EH? Ishitani sends Nishiyama on a 1-2 pitch but Nishioka strikes out. Perhaps he's trying to go for the element of surprise because I certainly have every time he's done it.

Anyways, that retires the side. We head to the 9th inning with Kaisei still trailing by two and their Koshien tournament at risk.

Top 9th
Idei leads off the 9th, and is plunked on a 3-2 pitch that was going like 100kph.

And another offspeed backs Shirane off the plate! And a fastball up and in! 2-0! Finally he rifles one in there for a strike.

Shirane drives a hanging off speed pitch deep to left center! Suzuki goes over to get it, boots it! Then he loses the handle on the throw! And then Mori can't get the relay! Idei scores all the way from 1st and we have a one-run ballgame! It's 2-1 just like that!!

Wow. The fielders for that one play almost forgot how to play. Yeesh.

Ishitani calls for a conference. No outs and Kaisei is a base hit away from tying this game up!

Oh my god... Honda just looked silly on a 0-1 slider WAY outside. And bailed again on another one that hits him for a foul ball.

But Fujita gets Honda on an offspeed pitch that jams him. He pops up to 2nd for the first out.

Emoto up now and he repeats Honda's offense on an outside breaking ball for strike 1. This entire game Fujita's been throwing that ball for first-pitch strikes, now he's throwing it out of the zone to get the batters to chase!!


Wild pitch by Fujita brings the tying run jsut 90 feet away! Both managers are yelling instructions!

Whoa. Fujita hits 139 on a fastball. That has some extra stuff on it.

Emoto bails on another pitch, but just gets a piece of it!

Fujita though pulls the string again and Emoto goes down swinging! Kouyou needs just one more out and they have the upset!

It comes down to Oka now. First pitch offspeed and he dribbles it foul. Another offspeed with some bite and there's 2 strikes!

Foul! He tries to sneak a fastball in, but Oka fouls it off!


Fujita pulls the string one more time and gets Oka to bite! Kouyou's done it! They've upset the Chuugoku champions Kaisei by a score of 2-1! Certainly a masterful performance by Fujita and in some ways Ishitani-kantoku. I think we have part of the reason why this team is successful. I don't think I've ever had a game where a manager really surprises me with his moves (in a good way) than Ishitani-kantoku.

For Kaisei, this is certainly disappointing. While it was a phantom call that cost them their runs, their approach at the plate was awful for the most part and in some cases they just looked silly. Shirane was good on the mound allowing 3 hits, but the 6 walks were costly.

Don't know what it is about this tournament, but the results have been interesting to say the least. And the home team has won each game. That's gotta be an odd occurrence.

Notable Players
WP - Fujita Tatsuya, CG, 1 ER, 6 H, 6 K, 3 BB
LP - Shirane Naoki, CG, 2 ER, 3 H, 9 K, 6 BB

Ootsuki Tsukasa (Kouyou) - 1-2, RBI, K, BB
Nishoka Toshiki (Kouyou) - 0-2, 2 K, BB, HBP, SB
Shirane Naoki (Kaisei) - 2-4, 2B, K
Iwata Taru (Kaisei) - 1-4

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