Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nichidai-san vs. Seisei Game posted

Just a quick note that the Nichidai-san vs. Seisei game that was the 2nd game of Day 6 is now posted. I finally had enough time to watch the entire game and make my entry.

Day 9 - Best 8 Game 2 - Kakogawa Kita (Hyogo) vs. Nichidai-san (Tokyo)

Our second Best 8 game features a team that may be a surprise versus one that was expected to be here.

Kakogawa Kita was the beneficiary of circumstance. Earlier on, the favorite to advance, Yokohama was upset by Hasami. With the powerhouse gone, it suddenly became a free-for-all. Kakogawa Kita struggled early against Kanazawa but outlasted them 4-0. Then against Hasami, an error right off the bat eventually put them in front, and Inoue's skillful pitching made sure that that run was the only one they needed.

Kakogawa Kita's Inoue Maito has been really steady through these 2 games:

18 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 10 K, 5 BB, HBP for a 0.00(!) ERA, 0.89 WHIp, 5 K/9, and 3 BB(+HBP)/9

Not bad. But it's absolutely necessary because the team as a while can't hit - just 0.216. Which means that Inoue's going to have to carry them the entire way.

Their opponent will be Nichidai-san, whose probably the odds on favorite to win it all. But, they had to rally against Meitoku Gijyuku, then had another tenuous game against Seisei winning 3-1.

Yoshinaga has put up some strong K numbers, but he has also been hittable:

18 IP, 5 ER, 17 H, 16 K, 7 BB for a 2.50 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9

Relatively speaking...

That's okay though because the team is hitting 0.339. The thing is, there is no big hitter on the team - everyone's just hitting well.

With such a well rounded offense as that one, you can't game plan against one person, you have to game plan against the entire team.


Kakogawa Kita (Hyogo) - Kinki 5th-8th place
2B Shibumura Ryousuke
SS Takeda Yuuki
CF Shibata Seiji
P Inoue Maito
RF Tokura Kenshi
LF Odashima Suguru (#10)
C Satou Hiroki
3B Ujihashi Yuuto
1B Yamamoto Takaki

Nichidai-san (Tokyo) - Tokyo Champions
RF Takayama Shun
LF Taniguchi Yuuta (#4)
CF Azegami Shou
3B Yokoo Toshitake
SS Shimizu Kouki
2B Suganuma Kenichi (#7)
1B Kaneko Ryouya
P Yoshinaga Kentarou
C Suzuki Takahiro


13:30 - Game start!

Top 1st
Yoshinaga starts off the game by getting Shibumura to ground out to 2nd.

Takeda, seeing the ball fairly well early, lines one to left for a base hit.

Shibata though hits a grounder to short. Shimizu starts the 6-4-3 double play to end the inning! Of course Shibata dives into 1st and you can see him stop for a split second as he dives.

Bottom 1st
After a pop out, Taniguchi singles to right.

Taniguchi takes off on the 1-1 pitch to Azegami! Throw to 2nd not in time!

Azegami with a grounder up the middle! Inoue knees down to try and field it, but it goes to center! Shibata throws home, and that allows Azegami to take 2nd!

まずいですね。。。 Yokoo walks on 4 straight.

Manrui for Nichidai-san and Fukumura-kantoku calls time.

With nowhere to put Shimizu, Inoue has to go after him. Getting ahead 1-2, he just misses on the outside with a change.

Shimizu with a grounder to short! Takeda can't field the ball cleanly! He quickly gets the ball to 2nd for one, relay by Shibumura is high! No double play and Taniguchi scores to make it 1-0 Nichidai-san!

Suganuma with a hard shot at 3rd! Ujihashi makes a great stop and throws to 1st to end the inning!

But for an offensively starved team, giving up a run already is not the start they wer envisioning.

Top 2nd
Ahead in the count 3-1 Inoue swings away and pops out to Kaneko.

Inoue first pitch swings and flies out to center.

And Odashima swings and misses on a fastball outside for strike 3 to retire the side.

Bottom 2nd
Inoue trying to survive on offspeed pitches falls behind 3-1. After a foul, he catches Kaneko looking on a fastball on the insider part of the plate.

He falls behind Yoshinaga 3-1, and walks him. Suzuki lays down the bunt, and Yoshinaga moves into scoring position for the top of the order.

Takayama with a grounder up the middle! Takeda diving to his left can't reach it! Yoshinaga comes in to score making it 2-0!

Inoue hits Taniguchi, and Kakogawa is not in a good way at all.

Azegami singles to left! Takayama being sent home as Takeda throws home! It's not in time and Azegami takes 2nd.

Conference from Fukumura-kantoku is to no avail. Yokoo blows a ball by Ujihashi into left! Both runners score on the single by Yokoo and it's 5-0 Nichidai-san.

Shimizu follows that with a single up the middle. Suganuma will represent the 9th batter to come to the plate this inning. He grounds out to 2nd to end the inning, but the game already looks over for

Top 3rd
Satou draws a walk to start the inning, but is erased when Ujihashi grounds into the 5-4-3 double play. Yamamoto pops out to Yokoo behind the mound to end the inning.

Bottom 3rd
Kaneko leads off the 3rd with a base hit through the left side. Ogura-kantoku has Yoshinaga bunt the runner along.

Wild pitch from Inoue advances the runner to 3rd, and Sanko is on the verge of scoring their 6th run.

Suzuki hits a chopper back to Inoue. He looks back the runner and makes the play at 1st. 2 down.

Inoue can't put the 0 on the board! Takayama drives a ball to deep right center! Kaneko scores as Takayama gets around the throw and is in 3rd safely! It's 6-0 Sanko.

Taniguchi battles against Inoue, but pops out on the 11th pitch. Nichidai-san adds another run to their totals. It'll be a question now of whether Kakogawa Kita can avoid the shutout.

Top 4th
Yoshinaga takes care of the top of the order, and Kakogawa Kita has to head back out on defense.

Bottom 4th
Azegami gets his 3rd hit of the day as he hits a fly to left center than sneaks in. It hangs in the air long enough that he takes 2nd!

Inoue though gets Yokoo to swing at a pitch at his eyes for strike 3.

Shimizu strikes out swinging on a fastball away for the 2nd out.

Suganuma drives a ball away and almost hits a home run, but it goes foul. He hacks at a high fastball and does the exact same thing down the left field line.

On the 9th pitch, Inoue gets him to ground out to 2nd to end the inning and finally puts up a donut hole.

Top 5th
Inoue with a ball back up the middle gets Kakogawa Kita their first hit!

Looking to break the shutout, Tokura bunts him along.

Odashima though pops it up! Shimizu in front of 2nd catches it for the 2nd out.

Up to Satou now, but Inoue is caught off base! Suzuki throws to 2nd, but Inoue breaks for 3rd! Throw from Shimizu is late, and the run is just 90 feet away!

But Satou hits a fly to center! Azegami ranges to his left and makes the catch to retire the side.

Bottom 5th
Kaneko with a grounder to short. Takeda dives to his left, but can't make the snag. Leadoff single for Sanko.

Yoshinaga getting in on the hit parade driving one to deep center. He's in with an RBI double to make it 7-0.

Suzuki flies out to center for the 1st out of the inning.

Takayama grounds out to 2nd for the 2nd out, and Yoshinaga advances to 3rd.

Taniguchi walks and there's runners at the corners.

Azegami with a grounder up the middle. Shibumura slides but can't get to it. Yoshinaga scores, and as they get the ball in, Taniguchi keeps on running home! Takeda tries to fire the relay in, but it's too late and it's now 9-0. Nichidai-san taking advantage of an asleep defense and another run scores.

Yokoo grounds to short to end the inning, but Nichidai-san has been in full control of the game.

Top 6th
Kakogawa Kita putting up little resistance as they go down in order here in the 6th

Bottom 6th
#18 Nishijima comes in for Odashima and takes over on the hill. Inoue goes to left.

Shimizu with a shot to 3rd that eats up Ujihashi. It goes to the wall for a leadoff double. He advances to 3rd on a groundout to 2nd from Suganuma.

Kaneko hits it to 2nd as well, but with the infield in, Shibumura is able to hold the runner.

Not for long though. Yoshinaga drives another ball to left. That's to the wall for a double and it's 10-0.

Suzuki follows that up with a single past Ujihashi into left. Yoshinaga holds at 3rd.

Takayama with a grounder to short. And he beats out the throw from Takeda! Yoshinaga scores to make it 11-0.

Taniguchi grounds out to 2nd to end the inning.

Top 7th
Takeda starts off the inning with a grounder to the left side for a base hit. But a 4-6-3 double play means there's quickly two outs.

Inoue then collects his 2nd hit of the day as he hits a ball down the left field line for a double. He then takes things into his own hands by stealing 3rd!

But Tokura swings at a slider away for strike 3 to end the threat.

Bottom 7th
Azegami makes it 2 batters today with 5 hits as he singles to right center. After a flyout by Yokoo, Shimizu singles to left, and Suganuma singles to center. Manrui for Kaneko.

With that single from Suganuma, every starting member now has a base hit.

Kaneko hits it back to Nishijima! He goes home for the force, and Satou goes to 1st for the 1-2-3 double play!

Top 8th
Nichidai-san will pull their pitcher now. #11 Nakano comes in for Suganuma and take the hill. Yoshinaga goes to left and Taniguchi goes to 2nd.

#7 Tashiro comes in to hit for Nishijima. That means that Inoue will probably take the mound one last time. Tashiro strikes out as Nakano priceeds to retire next two batters for a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 8th
Inoue does indeed take the hill as #17 Hagiwara comes in for PH Tashiro and takes over in LF.

Inoue almost gets a 1-2-3 inning, but then Takayama blasts one to center. Shibata can't run it down and Takayama is in with a triple.

Taniguchi with a shallow fly to left center, Hagiwara charging in slides, but can't make the catch. Takayama scores to make it 12-0.

Azegami with a fly to deep left. Hagiwara running back, midjudges the wind! He reaches back over himself, and the ball drops in. It's 13-0 as Azegami beats the throw into 3rd with his 6th hit of the day.

And a first pitch dead ball to Yokoo gest Fukumura-kantoku to call a conference.

Shimizu flies out to left to end the inning, and Kakogawa Kita will get more one chance to prevent the shutout.

Top 9th
#17 Seki comes in for Yoshinaga and so his day is officially done.

Yamamoto starts off the inning with a single up the middle. He takes off for 2nd and just beats the throw. They may yet prevent the shutout.

Shibumura hits a hanging slider to right! That's in for a base hit! Throw goes to the cutoff man as Yamamoto scores, breaking the shutout! Its 13-1!

Takeda with a ball that sneaks through the infield to left and that's 3 straight hits for Kakogawa.

Shibata looks to get in on the act, but swings at a slider out of the zone for the first out.

Inoue with a single to center, and that scores Shibumura to make it 13-2. Runners at the corners for Tokura. He though is fooled by the slider away again, and there's 2 outs.

Hagiwara hits a grounder to 2nd. Taniguchi tosses it to 2nd to end the game.

Unfortunately for the boys from Hyogo, their run comes to an abrupt end here against Nichidai-san. Inoue was just no match for the Nichidai-san lineup, while Yoshinaga held the Kakogawa Kita batters in check.

Nonetheless, it was a good run by Kakogawa Kita to make it to the Best 8, and they'll still provide a good challenge to the other teams in the summer.

Nichidai-san now is on a collision course with Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku. That should be an entertaining can't miss game.

Notable Players
Kakogawa Kita
Takeda Yuuki - 3-4
Inoue Maito - 3-4, 2B, RBI, SB

Yoshinaga Kentarou - W, 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 K, BB
Azegami Shou - 6-6, 2B, 3B, R, 3 RBI
Taniguchi Yuuta - 2-4, 2B, 4 R, W, HBP, SB
Takayama Shun - 4-6, 2 3B, 2 R, RBI
Shimizu Kouki - 3-6, 2B, R, RBI, K
Yoshinaga Kentarou - 2-3, 2 2B, 3 R, 2 RBI, BB
Kaneko Ryouya - 2-5, 2 R, K

Day 9 - Best 8 Game 1- Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka) vs. Hokkai (Hokkaido)

So we're into the Best 8 now, and talking with my friend @RealKenDick, he wasn't too thrilled with the remaining field. I correctly pointed out that he felt that way because all the teams that should have made for the most part did. There are minor surprises, but nothing that you look at and go "Wow!"

In addition, there isn't that truly dominating figure that people buzz over. Last year it was Shimabukuro Yousuke and Hifumi Shinta. The year before that it was Kikuchi Yuusei. You could argue that Nichidai-san's Yoshinaga might qualify or perhaps the pitcher I'll highlight below, but I didn't hear the buzz about them like I did with the others.

While I agree that there isn't that person or team that the people may necessarily rally over, I think that the remaining games will be very enjoyable to watch.

In fact, I wish these two teams that open up the Best 8 did not have to face either other right now.

Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku, or Kyukoku as you've seen me reference them as, I think will be a powerhouse team for years to come (at least for as long as Wakao-kantoku is heading things anyways). When they came to Koushien a couple of years back, they actually won a couple of games before bowing out. Back then I thought if given a couple of years, they'd be a powerhouse not only in a prefecture that had a power vacuum, but in the country as well.

Well, here they are again, and they're here with a chance to play in the semifinals. And this time, they have that dominating pitcher in Miyoshi Takumi. Through 2 games, his line is as follows (my scoring is a bit different than the official scoring):

18 IP, 3 ER, 10 H, 23 K, 4 BB for a 1.50 ERA/0.78 WHIP and a 11.5 K/9 and 2 BB/9 ratio

The offense was already there for Kyukoku and they haven't really missed a step since 2009. The stars so far for the team have been:

Andou Akito - 4-7, HR, R, RBI, BB, K
Takajyou Shuuto - 4-8, HR, R, 3 RBI, K

But that's not to say that the rest of the team can't hit. The team according to official statistics is hitting 0.305 right now. So their opponents will be hard pressed to generate offense of their own.

Hokkai got to this point via 2 pitcher's duels. First, they played unknown Soushi Gakuin who not even 12 months ago didn't really exist. That game they won 2-1 with a late run. Then against Tenri they executed their strategy with excellent precision and Tenri was unable to adapt, losing by the slim margin of 1-0.

Teams from Hokkaido, until Komadai Tomakomai in the mid 2000's, was never seriously considered as a contender to win it all although there were several strong schools in the region iteself, Hokkai being one of them.

Hokkai has another good pitcher in Tamakuma Shouichi, who has put up somewhat similar numbers through his 2 games:

18 IP, ER, 12 H, 13 K, 3 BB for a 0.50 ERA/0.83 WHIP and a 6.5 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 ratio

Interestingly enough, Hokkai actually has some offense to go with the pitching. The team is actually hitting 0.311 so far led by a couple of guys, one of which is Tamakuma himself hitting 4-7 with a 2B. Kawagoe Seiji is 5-7 with a 2B and a HR.

I still like Kyukoku in this matchup, but Hokkai may have more than just a snowball's chance in, well... you know.


Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka) - Kyushu Runner-up
2B Hirabaru Yuuta
CF Andou Akito
P Miyoshi Takumi
C Takajyou Shuuto
RF Ryuu Kounosuke
1B Hanada Shun
LF Katou Ryou
3B Tokiyoshi Seiya
SS Ishisako Yuuma

Hokkai (Hokkaido) - Hokkaido Champions
SS Mori Takahiro
3B Tama Taisuke
2B Kawasaki Kazuya
RF Kawagoe Seiji
1B Zeniya Kouki
C Tamaki Kouta
LF Ujiie Ryou
P Tamakuma Shouichi
CF Isoda Kouyou

11:00 - Game start!

Top 1st
Hirabaru starts the game off with a single to center!

Wakou-kantoku goes for the hit-and-run! The ball is hit to short, but Mori's only play is to first.

Miyoshi goes down looking on a fastball that hits the outside corner! 2 down!

Takajyou with a base hit to right! Hirabaru comes around as Isoda tries to get the ball in! Hirabaru scores and it's 1-0!

Tamaki notices Takajyou heading for 2nd! He throws to 2nd and they gun him down! The inning is over but not before Kyukoku gets on the board!

Bottom 1st
One down and Miyoshi walks Tama. Hirakawa-kantoku goes for the bunt for the one-timer but Kawagoe flies out to right to end the inning.

Top 2nd
Tamakuma settling down after the slightly shaky 1st inning. He gets Ryuu to reach out and ground to 2nd, Hanada hits a fly to shallow left, and Katou too grounds out to 2nd.

Bottom 2nd
The game continues to go at a quick pace. Miyoshi makes quick work of the Hokkai batters. Zeniya pops out to Hirabaru on the foul line, Tamaki flies out to center and Ujiie grounds out to 2nd.

Top 3rd
Tokiyoshi starts the inning off with a walk. Ishisako bunts the runner along as the lineup flips back to the top of the order.

Hirabaru gets his 2nd hit as he singles to center! Tokiyoshi has to hold at 3rd!

Andou pops it up! Ujiie at the left field line makes the catch for the 2nd out!

And Tamakuma gets Miyoshi to pop it up! Ujiie parks under it and makes the catch to retire the side!

Bottom 3rd
One down and Isoda hits a shallow fly to center Andou charging in, dives... but can't get to it! It bounces away from him and Isoda's in with a double!

Back to the top of the order and Mori. He grounds to 2nd, but Hirabaru's only play is to first.

2 down for Tama.


Wild pitch from Miyoshi!! Isoda comes in to score and we're tied at 1-1!

Tama with a shot at Hirabaru, and that goes off of him! Tama is on base.

Miyoshi gets Kawasaki to fly out to center to end the inning, but a costly wild pitch ties the game!

Top 4th
Takajyou with a fly to right! Kawagoe coming in for the catch.

And it bounces in front of him???

What the heck happened there? Takajyou is on at 2nd with a gift double!

Ryuu with a drive to right! Kawagoe running back makes the catch but Takajyou is able to tag up!

One down and a scoring opportunity for Kyukoku! Hirakawa-kantoku calls for a conference...

But Hanada hits a ball back up the middle! Mori dives, but it's out of his reach! Takajyou scores and it's 2-1! Kyukoku retakes the lead!

Tamakuma gets Katou to fly out to right - and then Tokiyoshi hits a sharp liner, but right at Kawasaki to end the inning.

But a fielding misjudgement winds up costing Hokkai the lead! And they can't afford that.

Bottom 4th
One down for Hokkai when Miyoshi hits Zeniya.

Tamaki hits a fly to center, Andou there for the 2nd out.

And Zeniya takes off for 2nd! Takajyou's throw is late and he's in scoring positon!

Ujiie with a single back up the middle! That's through for a base hit! Zeniya is being sent home! The throw home is late and Hokkai has tied the game!

This time it's Takajyou seeing Ujiie takeoff for 2nd and he guns him down to end the inning! But another timely hit ties the game once again at 2-2!

Top 5th
Tamakuma gets two quick groundout and he looks to get an easy inning.

But Andou works the count full and draws a walk!

Wakou will push the issue and have Andou run! Throw from Tamaki is late and now a runner is in scoring position!

Tamakuma walks his 2nd straight batter in Miyoshi and what seemed like an easy inning isn't anymore!

And it really isn't! Takajyou hits a ball to right, and it falls in! Kawagoe up with the ball as they send Andou home! The throw is late and Kyukoku retakes the lead once again! It's 3-2!!

Things are really scary now as he hits Ryuu and the bases are now loaded!

But Hanada grounds out to 1st. Zeniya takes it to be bag for the out and the side is retired.

Once again, Kyukoku manufactures another run! Hokkai will be hard pressed to keep pace.

Bottom 5th
Will the trend of trading runs continue?

Tamakuma goes down swinging on a slider down and away.

Isoda pops out to 2nd... and Mori flies out to left! Miyoshi breaks the cycle of trading runs! And as we head to the break Kyukoku hold a very, very slim one-run margin!

Top 6th
Back from the break, will Kyukoku be able to add an insurance run?

Katou takes the first pitch and grounds to 1st.

Tokiyoshi can't hold up an a 2-2 slider, and becomes Tamakuma's 2nd K of the game.

Ishisako with an easy comebacker to Tamakuma and he goes to 1st for the 3rd out. Tamakuma's managed to keep Kyukoku scoreless here, now can the offense make a response of their own?

Bottom 6th
Sadly no! Miyoshi retires the side in order! Has Hokkai's chance at this game passed?

Top 7th
One down for Kyukoku and Andou goes for a safety bunt! All the fielders decide to wait for the ball to roll foul... but it never does! Andou on with a bunt single!

Miyoshi finally makes solid contact, but it's right at Tama! He goes to 2nd for one, but Kawasaki's throw to 1st is wide! Miyoshi takes 2nd on the error!

Takajyou up, already 3-3 on the day.

And he hits a dribbler in front of home! Tamaki goes to field it, throws to first... not in time!! Runners at the corners now and it's another pinch for Hokkai!

Ryuu with a ball up the middle! Kawasaki running over, dives... and has it! He touches the bag with the ball to retire the side and Tamakuma is out of the jam!

Bottom 7th
Hirakawa-kantoku will go to his bench and call on #15 Matsumoto. He delivered the timely hit last game. Can he do it again?

No! Miyoshi induces a grounder to 2nd! Hirabaru running in makes the nice pick and he tosses to 1st for the out!

Tamaki with a grounder up the 3rd base line, and it gets by Tokiyoshi! Tamaki hustles in with a double!

And now Hirakawa-kantoku sends in #16 Ishikawa to hit for Ujiie.

Ishikawa with another scorcher down the 3rd base line! THAT'S BY TOKIYOSHI!!!

Katou runs the ball down at the wall, but Tamaki scores on the double tying it once again at 3-3!!

There's only one down, can Hokkai take the lead?

Sanshin! Tamakuma strikes out on a slider away and there's 2 down!

It's up to Isoda who had a double earlier. But he hits a fly to center! Andou there to make the catch and the side is retired! Hokkai ties the game yet again, but cannot pull ahead!

Top 8th
Ishikawa stays in the game and goes to LF. Matsumoto stays as well and goes to 3B, and Tama goes to 1B.


Hanada drives a fastball down the heart of the plate to right! Kawagoe to the wall....


Hanada just like that unties the game with one swing of the bat! Kyukoku once again takes the lead! It's 4-3!!!!!

After a groundout by Katou, Tokiyoshi singles to center! Kyukoku pushing for an insurance run!

Ishisako bunts him along to 2nd and they'll look to Hirabaru at the top of the order for the timely hit.

Hirakawa-kantoku calls for a conference. Hokkai cannot afford to give up a 2nd run.

But Hirabaru delivers! He hits a sharp grounder to short that eats up Mori! Tokiyoshi comes around 3rd to score and Kyukoku has the largest lead of the game here in the 8th at 5-3!

Andou grounds out to short to end the inning, but now Hokkai will have to find 2 runs somewhere in the next 6 outs!

Bottom 8th
Top of the order for Hokkai.

One down and Tama gets the offense started with a base hit through the left side.

But Kawaski hits one right to Hirabaru! He goes to 2nd for one, relay to 1st... double play!

Now Hokkai will be down to their last 3 outs!

Top 9th
One down for Kyukoku, and Takajyou gets his 5th(!) base hit of the day! He slices one over Tama's head into right!

But much like last inning, Ryuu hits one to Kawasaki! He starts the 4-6 3 double play to end the inning!

Bottom 9th
Hokkai with one last chance here.

Kawagoe with a fly to shallow left! Ishisako and Katou converge... and collide!!

Ishisako can't hold onto the ball and Kawagoe is in at 2nd!

More importantly though, both players are slow to get up. The medical staff comes out to look at the players. Katou is the first to get up, but Ishisako needs Kouchou to come out with that "itai spray" to put on his ankle. Eventually he gets up heads back to the infield and both players are ready to go.

Matsumoto first pitch swinging grounds out to 2nd. Kawagoe advances to 3rd on the play.


Tamaki works a walk, and now the douten run is on base!

Ishikawa up for Hokkai, does he have another hit in him?


He rips one through the left side! Kawagoe comes home and Hokkai is within one at 5-4!!!!!!!!!!

Tamakuma with an opportunity to tie the game!


But Miyoshi won't let him!! He gets Tamakuma to swing on another outside slider for the 2nd out!

Isoda is their last chance.

He hits a comebacker to Miyoshi! Miyoshi gathers it in and tosses to 1st to end the game!!!

That crooked score in the 8th proves to be the difference as Hokkai could only manage to get one of those runs back! Kyukoku gives Fukuoka a team in the Best 4 for the first time in 42 years!

The game wound up being as advertised and more! Kyukoku held the lead early, but then as the game approached the midpoint the teams started trading runs back and forth as each had a response for the other. At the time Kyukoku still held a 1-run margin.

And when Hokkai tied the game up once more, Kyukoku put up an extra run on the board thanks to a leadoff homerun and a timely hit for Hirabaru extended the lead to 2.

Hokkai would only be able to get back one run, which was all that they could do the entire game, and fell short losing 5-4.

Given Hokkai's performance today, they shouldn't be totally disappointed in the loss. Having shown down a team of this calibur, I expect big things from them come the summertime.

Notable Players
Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku
Miyoshi Takumi - W, CG, 4 ER, 8 H, 4 K, 3 BB, HBP
Takajyou Shuuto - 5-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI
Hanada Shun - 2-4, HR, R, RBI

Tamakuma Shouichi - L, CG, 4 ER, 11 H, 2 K, 2 BB, HBP
Ishikawa Keita - 2-2, 2B, 2 RBI
Tamaki Kouta - 1-3, 2B, R, BB

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 8 - Game 3 - Oogaki Nichidai vs. Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa)

Our final matchup in the 2nd round pits two teams who have recently established themselves in the kokoyakyu wourld.

Oogaki Nichidai was given the unenviable task of facing the white elephant in the room in Tohoku. They were there, but did they really want to be with everything else going on back home? In the end, whether it be rustiness or being distracted or both, Oogaki Nichidai had little trouble defeating Tohoku 7-0.

Toukaidai Sagami easily handled Kanzei 9-1, and ace Kondou never took the mound. Instead, it was an unknown 2nd year who was added to the roster after the fall tournament. It wasn't a dominating performance, but it was effective nonetheless.

Their offense on the other hand was dominating, having not lost a beat from last summer when they reached the finals. Kanzei certainly is a good team, but not necessarily of of the top teams in the country. Oogaki Nichidai and ace Kassai on the other hand will be a better test for the offense.

Again, I think it'll be a battle between offenses. It seems like whoever wins their battle:
  • Weaker offense (Oogaki Nichidai) vs. Weaker pitching (Toukaidai Sagami)
  • Strong offense (Toukaidai Sagami) vs. Strong pitching (Oogaki Nichidai)
will win the game. On potential alone, Toukaidai Sagami has the advantage as it's harder for a weak offense to suddenly generate runs.

And it's interesting that Kondou is again not on the mound for Toukaidai Sagami. It's #11 Nagata Yuuto, another southpaw. Wonder why Kondou isn't on the mound...


Oogaki Nichidai (Gifu) - Tokai Champions
LF Hata Kazuki
RF Gotou Kenta
SS Hoshino Shinichirou
1B Takada Naohiro
C Tokimoto Ryou
P Kassai Yukiya
2B Nonobe Satoshi
3B Ueki Takeharu
CF Andou Yoshirou

Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa) - Kanto Runner-up
RF Watanabe Masaru
CF Usuda Tetsuya
2B Tanaka Shunta
C Satou Hirotsugu
LF Sugano Tsuyoshi
3B Morishita Shouhei
1B Isoami Yuuto (#15)
SS Hashimoto Takuma
P Nagata Ryuuto (#11)


14:05 - Game start!

Top 1st
Hata starts the game with a bloop hit to left. Sakaguchi-kantoku pressing the action as Hata takes off for 2nd. And he's in easily as the pitch is low and glances off of Satou's glove.

Kenta though can't advance the runner as he grounds out to short.

Nagata having trouble finding the strike zone as he walks Hoshino on 4 straight. So there's a chance for Oogaki Nichidai early.

But Takada pops it up! Isoami in foul territory makes the catch for the 2nd out.

Tokimoto with a single to right! Watanabe up with the ball, but Hata scores to put Oogaki Nichidai up 1-0!

Kassai grounds to 2nd to end the inning, but Oogaki strikes first!

Bottom 1st
Hoshino making a fine play at short with the charging throw to get Watanabe out at 1st.

Usuda goes down and pokes a ball though the infield into left for a base hit.

Kassai having to work hard early, his pitches missing the plate. And he hits Tanaka!

Satou with a hit to center! Yoshirou with the throw home, relay from Hoshino late and just like that Toukaidai Sagami ties the game at 1-1!

Sugano pops up to short and there's 2 outs.

But Morishita continues the hit parade! He drive a ball to deep left center! That takes a hop in front of the wall! Tanaka scores! They're waving Satou home! Throw goes to 3rd, but Morishita slides in safely! A 2-RBI triple makes it 3-1 Toukaidai Sagami!

Isoami with a single to right! That makes it 4-1 Toukaidai Sagami and you can tell Kassai isn't comfortable on the mound. Probably feeling a bit squeezed right now.

Sakaguchi-kantoku perhaps feeling the same thing calls a conference.

But things don't seem to improve as Kassai hits Hashimoto!

Nagata coming to the plate as the 9th batter...

Kassai freezes him to end the inning, but Oogaki Nichidai is in a big hole against an offensive powerhouse.

Top 2nd
Nagata with his team scoring a couple of runs for him seems to have settled down. Facing the bottom of the order he squeezes in a K to Ueki between two flyouts to left for a 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 2nd
Watanabe leading off again here in the 2nd, singles back up the middle.

Usuda then with a single past Ueki and Sagami's offense continues to steam on.

Tanaka bunts the runners into scoring position and Kassai must be under a lot of pressure.

Satou with a grounder to the left side! Hoshino can't field it, it deflects off of what looks like Usuda and then goes all the way to the bullpen! Everyone looks around, and smartly the 3rd base coach sends Usuda home! Oogaki gets the ball in, and time is called.

The umpires confer and their ruling is that the ball hit Hoshino before hitting Usuda, and therefore Usuda is not out. Both runners come in to score making it 6-1 and Satou winds up at 2nd. I can't tell from the replay if the ball does indeed deflect off of Hoshino.

Sugano flies out to center to end the inning, but the Tokai champions are in a bad way right now.

Top 3rd
Hata gets his 2nd hit of the day with a single to center.

Sakaguchi-kantoku looks to have abandoned the bunt. Kenta goes down swinging.

Sugano singles back up the middle and Oogaki has a scoring opportunity. Takada hits a grounder to the right side. Tanaka ranges over, makes the stop, spins and throws to 2nd!! Hashimoto is there and they get Sugano! That's a great (if not slightly risky) play!

Tokimoto harmlessly grounds to short to end the inning and Oogaki Nichidai is denied.

Bottom 3rd
Kassai gets two quick outs and is just about to get a clean inning when he hits Hashimoto. And while Hashimoto steals 2nd, and advances to 3rd on the errant throw, Kassai strikes out Nagata looking to end the inning.

Top 4th
Nagata doing a great job of holding the Oogaki Nichidai bats silent.

He gets Kassai to ground out to 1st, and freezes Nonobe on a fastball inside.

Ueki does get a 2-out single to right, but a lined shot by Yoshirou is right at Tanaka to retire the side.

Bottom 4th
Watanabe up for the 3rd time already this game singles to left. Usuda showing bunt, has to swing away with 2 strikes and hits one almost to the same place.

Things get even worse when Tanaka goes for the safety bunt! Ueki charging in, throws to 1st, but Tanaka beats out the throw! It's manrui with nobody out!

Satou pokes a ball up the middle! The infield, playing in, can't get back to field it and it goes into center! Watanabe scores! Usuda being sent home, and he scores. Tokimoto alertly sees Tanaka off the bag at 2nd and throws him out. But it's 8-0 Toukaidai Sagami.

Sakaguchi-kantoku finally gives in. Kassai is sent to RF as #11 Yanagawa comes in for Kenta and takes over on the mound.

Satou takes off for 2nd, but Tokimoto guns him down too.

And while Yanagawa walks Sugano, he gets Morishita to fly out to left to end the inning.

Top 5th
While it probably doesn't matter this game, starting pitcher Nagata is another lefty pitcher who throws in the high 12o's with a slider and curve and the upper 100s-lower 110s.

Yanagawa gets his first AB, and hit as he hits one to center. Hoshino with a grounder back up the middle glances off of Nagata's glove, and Hashimoto's glove before Tanaka fields it, reaches out his foot and touches the bag for the 2nd out.

Takada flies out to center to end the inning.

Bottom 5th
Isoami leads off the 5th with a base hit past Nonobe into center.

Hashimoto tries to bunt the runner along, goes for the "three bunt" and fails striking out.

Nagata successfully lays down the bunt as the lineup flips back to the top of the order.

Watanabe up again, with a drive to left center! That will go all the way to the wall as Isoami scores on the triple. It's 9-1 Toukaidai Sagami.

Usuda grounds to short to end the inning, and as we head to the break, it's almost all but a formality now that Toukaidai Sagami will be the last team in the Best 8.

Top 6th
Tokimoto starts off the inning lining one over Tanaka into right.

Kassai follows that up with a drive to left center! That gets past Usuda and goes all the way to the wall! Tokimoto scores on the double and it's 9-2!

#17 Shouji is warming up in the bullpen.

And now Nonobe with a hard liner! That's past a diving Hashimoto into left! Kassai advances to 3rd! That's 3 hard hits by the Oogaki Nichidai bats!

Monma-kantoku not waiting around. He pulls Nagata for #17 Shouji.

But Shouji walks Ueki and the bases are loaded!


Wild pitch from Shouji and the runners move up! Kassai scores and it's 9-3!

Yoshirou looking to keep the momentum going, gets ahead 3-1. Shouji gets the count full and...


Shouji hits the outside corner and Yoshirou goes down looking!

Back to the top of the order and Hata. He too gets ahead 3-1 before Shouji evens the count.


Hata swings on a change down and away and there's 2 outs!

#14 Gotou Ryouta comes in to hit for Yanagawa. Monma-kantoku counters by sending ace Kondou to the mound.


Wild pitch from Kondou this time! The runners advance again as Nonobe scores and it's 9-4!

And Ryouta singles to right! Ueki score and it's 9-5!!!!

Sugano up and it seems like whoever is pitching is all out of sorts! Sugano draws a walk!

Satou comes out to talk to Kondou.

Takada up, hitless on the day. Boy does he need one here. But he falls behind 0-2.

And boy does he lay off a close pitch. Count 1-2 now...

Liner to Kondou! He catches it! Takada can't believe his luck! The side is retired, Oogaki Nichidai does cut the lead in half, but they're still 4 runs down.

Bottom 6th
Kassai doesn't return to the mound, instead late substitute #12 Imai comes in for PH Ryouta and takes over on the mound. He a righty that throws in the mid 120s with a looping curve in the 90s.

And it's like Sagami hasn't seen a soft tosser. Against the heart of Toukaidai Sagami's order, Tanaka pops out to Nonobe, Satou grounds out to Ueki, and Sugano absolutely freezes on a 106 kph curve!

Top 7th
Tokimoto to lead off the inning again, strikes out swinging.

Kassai gets his 2nd hit of the day, a liner just over Matsumoto. Sugano gets to the ball quickly and he's limited to a single.

The is the first time we've seen ace Kondou in action. He has a righty with a mid 130s fastball with a slider in the mid 110s and a curve in the high 100-low 110s.

Nonobe draws a walk and there's runners on 1st and 2nd.


Another wild pitch from Kondou and the runners advance!

Dead ball!!!!

Ueki is given first when a ball comes up and in (although it didn't really hit him)! Manrui for Oogaki Nichidai!

Now #13 Toda comes in to hit for Yoshirou.

He's swinging! WHY ARE YOU SWINGING??????

He falls behind 0-2, and eventually goes down looking on a fastball that hits the inside corner! 2 outs!

Hata up, and he's swinging away! He hits the 2-1 pitch to left and Sugano is there for the catch.


Bottom 7th
One down for Toukaidai Sagami when Isoami singles through the right side, and Hashimoto singles to left. Sagami may be catching up to the pitcher. Sakaguchi-kantoku calls a conference...

Kondou up for his first AB. Gets ahead 3-1.

Kondou with a grounder to short. Hoshino boots it! All safe!!!

And the error compounds on itself! Watanave with a single through the right side and Isoami scores! Toukaidai Sagami hits double digits at 10-5!

Usuda with a hit to right center! Toda running back... and it's off his glove! He was all turned around and couldn't make the catch! Runners advance 90 feet and it 11-5!

Tanaka with a hot shot to 1st! Takada goes home for one, Tokimoto holds it. Manrui still for Toukaidai Sagami.

Sanshin! Satou is frozen on another slow curve! The inning is over, and any momentum Oogaki Nichidai had is gone.

Top 8th
Imai swinging on the first pitch flies out to left.

Hoshino tries to work the count, but when it runs full he grounds out to 2nd.

Takada too works the count full, and earns a walk.

Tokimoto swings away and he singles to center.

Kassai too swinging away and he pops it up. Usuda comes in and makes the catch to end the inning.

Bottom 8th
One down and Morishita singles past Ueki. Isoami strikes out swinging and there's 2 down.

But Hashimoto hits another single through the left side and there's runners at 1st and 2nd.

Kondou up, and he drives a ball to deep left! Hata sprints back, but it's over his head! Morishita and Hashimoto score making it 13-5.

After a ball to Watanabe, #16 Hiramichi comes in for Imai and takes over on the hill.

He takes over, but walks Watanabe. He does get Usuda to groundout to short to end the inning, and Oogaki will get one more chance at the plate.

Top 9th
Nonobe starts the inning with a hard shot that deflects off Hashimoto into center.

Kondoe wipes the runner off though as Ueki grounds into a 4-6-3 double play.

2 outs and Toda is their last chance. But he hits a routine fly to center. Usuda under it and the game is over!

Toukaidai Sagami looked to be in complete control of the game up 9-1. But a small crack opened up in the 6th. Oogaki Nichidai was chipping away at it bit by bit, and perhaps was on the verge of a breakthrough. But because of poor luck, and perhaps poor discipline/coaching, the door was slammed shut.

Toukaidai Sagami certainly has the offense to challenge for the senbatsu title. The pitching seems more suspect especially after today. We got a look at ace Kondou, and we perhaps see why he hasn't been used. In reality he's more of a soft tosser than a hard throwing ace. Which means that even though Kondou was used in the fall tournament, it appears that Monma-kantoku has Kondou as an ace by number only. And with Shouji's limited use, it's possible that for this tournament Shouji is the true ace. We'll find out two days from now against Kagoshima Jitsugyou.

For Oogaki Nichidai, it appeared that Kassai just never got settle in on the mound. There were times in the first inning when it seemed that he was looking for strike calls that he didn't get. He may have been unable to deal with the squeezed strike zone and as a result led to all the runs he gave up. If that's the case, then he'll have to learn how to make other adjustments to be successful.

Notable Players
Oogaki Nichidai
Tokimoto Ryou - 3-5, R, RBI
Kassai Yukiya - 2-5, 2B, R, RBI
Nonobe Satoshi - 2-4, R, BB

Toukaidai Sagami
Watanabe Masaru - 4-5, 3B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
Satou Hirotsugu - 3-5, 2B, R, 4 RBI
Isoami Yuuto - 3-5, 2 R, K

Day 8 - Game 2 - Jyounan (Tokushima) vs. Kagoshima Jitsugyou (Kagoshima)

Our matinee game features Jyounan, a 21st century team who led wire-to-wire against last year's Best 4 finalist Houtoku Gakuen, and looked pretty good doing it. Takeuchi did falter a bit near the end, but it was ok considering he hit a 3-run homerun himself!

Kagoshima Jitsugyou was in an early 1st round right with fellow prefectural winner Urawa Gakuin. The teams would exchange shots until the 5th where a fielding error by ace Satou led to 2 runs for Kagoshima Jitsugyou, and they never relinquished the lead.


Jyounan (Tokushima) - 21st Century Bid
CF Tada Kouki
2B Degucuhi Shouichirou
C Matsubara Naoyuki
P Takeuchi Yuuta
RF Okuura Kouhei
1B Iwamoto Shouta
LF Gotou Ren (#11)
SS Yanagawa Keita
3B Orihara Takashi

Kagoshima Jitsugyou (Kagoshima) - Kyushu Champions
RF Toyozumi Kouta
SS Hirayama Taikai
P Noda Shougo
3B Hamada Ryuunosuke
1B Agemura Kyouhei
C Kuroki Kentarou
CF Maruyama Tetsuhiro
2B Miyanaga Hiroyki (#13)
LF Sasaki Daisuke


11:37 - Game start!

Top 1st
Noda off and running to start the game. Gets Tada to fly out to center on the first pitch, then fools both Deguchi and Matsubara on sliders away for Ks.

Bottom 1st
Toyozumi getting the offense started on their side as he takes a 3-1 pitch past Yanagawa! Hirayama scoots him along to 2nd.

Noda with a hard grounder to short. Yanagawa with it, but Toyozumi was running on the play and Yanagawa has to go to 1st. Runner on 3rd, two down.

Hamada with a fly to deep center! Tada sprinting towards the wall, makes the catch at the wall for the 3rd out! Tada with a great play in center to keep the game scoreless early!

Top 2nd
One down for Jyounan and Okuura singles to right!

Iwamoto becomes Noda's 3rd K victim as he can't lay off a slider.

And Gotou grounds out to short to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Takeuchi in good control on the mound against the Kyushu champs.

After getting Agemura to fly to right, he gets Kuroki swinging on a fastball on the outside corner.

Maruyama prevents the 1-2-3 inning as he singles past Deguchi into center.

Then he works the count back full to Miyanaga after falling behind. But Miyanaga singles to center and now there's runners at the corners with 2 down!

Last batter Sasaki up. And he lines one to left center! Tada gets the ball back in quickly, but Maruyama scores! Kagoshima Jitsugyou lining up 2-out base hits to take the 1-0 lead!

Runners at the corners again as the lineup rotates up to the top of the order!

Toyozumi singles to left! Miyanaga comes in to score and it's 2-0 Kagoshima!

Oh no! Things are looking bad for Jyounan! Takeuchi walks Hirayama and the bases are loaded!

But Noda pops it up! Deguchi under it for the out and the side is retired! However, Takeuchi can't get the last out of the inning and Kagoshima scores 2!

Top 3rd
Noda was on his way to a 1-2-3 inning as he struck out a srubborn Yanagawa and got Orihara to ground out to 2nd, but on a grounder by Tada, Hirayama boots it!

Tada tries his luck stealing 2nd, but no dice! Kuroki makes a great throw to gun him down and end the inning!

Bottom 3rd
Hamada leads off with a base hit up the middle.

After Takeuchi strikes out looking, Kuroki bunts the runner to 2nd for a one-timer.

But Maruyama grounds out to 3rd and Jyounan goes back on offense.

Top 4th
Noda yields his first walk to Deguchi to start off the 4th. Matsubara can't bunt the runner over, and winds up striking out swinging.

Takeuchi hits a liner to center, but a charging Maruyama makes the diving catch! Nice play!

Two down for Jyounan.


Noda's pitch hits Okuura in the head! It ricochets off his helmet and he goes to the ground! He's certainly stunned and is led back to the dugout as an injury runner comes out for him.

But Iwamoto can't drive the runners in! He goes down swinging on a slider outside for the 2nd time to end the inning!

Bottom 4th
One down and Sasaki collects his 2nd hit of the day with a single to left!

Toyozumi with a shot to 1st, but Iwamoto is there for the catch! He steps on 1st for the double play to end the inning!

Top 5th
Yanagawa tries to get the Jyounan offense started with the team's 2nd hit, a single to center. Mori-kantoku has Orihara bunt the runner along for the top of the lineup...

But Noda gets Tada looking on a great pitch to retire the side!

Bottom 5th
Noda collects his first hit today with a one out single back up the middle. Hamada with a groundout to 1st advances the runner.

Agemura gets a hold of a pitch and hits it down the right field line... fair! Okuura has to fish it out of the wall, and Noda scores to make it 3-0!

Kuroki with a drive to left center! That's in for extra bases! Kuroki slides into 3rd with a RBI triple making it 4-0!

AHHH!!! A wild pitch from Takeuchi allows Kuroki to score and it's unraveling at 5-0!

Maruyama hits a grounder to short, and it bounces off of Yanagawa into center! Then he takes off for 2nd and he's in safely!

Takeuchi gets Miyanaga to ground to 3rd to end the inning, but Kajitsu opens it up before the break now leading Jyounan 5-0!

Top 6th
Deguchi earns his 2nd walk of the game to lead off the 6th. Matsubara not bunting but flies out to right.

Noda seems a bit off post break as he walks his 2nd batter this inning in Takeuchi.


A wild pitch from Noda! Deguchi comes in to score and Jyounan is on the board! 5-1!

Noda finally settles in and strikes out Okuura for the 2nd out, and gets Iwamoto to hit a comebacker to end the inning. Jyounan though avoids the shutout!

Bottom 6th
One down (again) for Toyozumi who draws a walk from Takeuchi.

Hirayama with a bunt down the 3rd base side! Takeuchi fields it but the throw is late and he's on with a bunt single!

Noda follows that up with a single to right! Toyozumi comes around to score making it 6-1.

A popup from Hamada make it 2 down.

But Takeuchi just cannot get out of the inning. Agemura hits a shallow fly to right, Okuura a bit late in coming in, slides - but it's off his glove! Hirayama comes in to score and it's 7-1.

Kuroki grounds to short to end the inning, but the last two innings for Takeuchi have unfortunately taken his team almost out of the game.

Top 7th
One down and Yanagawa singles through the left side. Orihara follows that up with a single to right!

What's this? Tada singles through to right! 3 consecutive hits and it's manrui for Jyounan!


A wild pitch from Noda and Yanagawa scores! It's 7-2 Jyounan!

And now Deguchi walks! Manrui again for Jyounan!

Matsubara pressing though, swings at the first pitch and dribbles up in front of home. Noda goes to field it and makes the force play at home for the 2nd out.

Takeuchi with a shot right at Noda! He gets his glove up to block and it knocks it off! He picks up the ball and makes the throw to 1st to end the inning!

A completely reflex play by Noda saves his head and the inning!

Bottom 7th
Takeuchi finally settling down after the last couple of innings.

Maruyama with a shot right at 3rd! Orihara makes a great stop and throw to record the out!

Miyanaga can't hold off on a slider, and goes down swinging.

And while Sasaki draws a walk, Toyozumi goes down swinging too to end the inning.

Top 8th
Having perhaps lost their best opportunity to get close, the batters begin to press more.

Okuura swings and miss on a slider. Iwamoto Ks for the first time on a slider down and in.

No clean inning for Noda though as he hits Gotou. #7 Inoue comes in to run for him.

Yanagawa walks, and Jyounan has 2 runners on.

But Orihara can't check his swing on a pitch away and the inning is over.

Bottom 8th
Inoue stays in the game and takes over in left.

While Agemura collects his 3rd hit of the day with a tricky grounder to 3rd that can't be handled by Orihara, Takeuchi retires the other batters. It'll be the last ups for Jyounan.

Top 9th
Matusbara collects just the 2nd hit from the 3-4-5 batters, giving ace Takeuchi one last AB. But much like how the game went, he goes down swinging on a slider down and away to end the game.

Kagoshima Jitsugyou put a lot of pressure on the 21st century invitees early and often. Jyounan ace Takeuchi was just not able to cope and eventually broke down. 3 runs in the 5th pretty much spelled the end for the team. They were able to mount scoring attempts in the 6th and 7th, but by that time it was too late, they needed too many runs, and the ball just managed to bounce Kajitsu's way.

Still, Jyounan played well for a 21st century squad, and it's possible that they can challenge for a spot in the Natsu Koushien.

Notable Players
Yanagawa Keita - 2-3, R, BB, K
Deguchi Shouichirou - 0-2, R, 3 BB, 2 K, SB

Kagoshima Jitsugyou
Noda Shougo - W, CG, 2 ER, 6 H, 13 K, 5 BB, 2 HBP
Agemura Kyouhei - 3-5, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, K
Sasaki Daisuke - 2-3, BB
Toyozumi Kouta - 2-4, R, RBI, BB, K

Day 8 - Game 1 - Riseisha (Osaka) vs. Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto)

Today winds up the 2nd round of games and finish the field of the Best 8.

Opening today's slate of games are two well-known teams in Riseisha and Kyushu Gakuin.

Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu faced an uphill battle against Riseisha after giving up 2 runs in the first via an error. While southpaw Watanabe sat down the Hiroshima batters, Riseisha's batters fared no better - a bit surprising for a runner-up from Kinki.

Kyushu Gakuin jumped ahead of Kokugakin Kugayama when they looked all of out of sorts in the first 2 innings. Kyushu ace Ootsuka was not able to hold off Kokugakuin as they made an incredible comeback to tie the game in the 8th. But much like how the game started, a ball off a sprinting outfielder and a wild pitch end the game and give Kyushu Gakuin the victory.

It almost appears that we are headed into yet another low scoring battle as both teams appear to be offensively starved with good pitching. Iidzuka should take the mound this time around as Riseisha doesn not have a left-heavy lineup. So it should be a rather fast-paced game with the first team to blink possibly going home.


Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto) - Kyushu 3rd/4th Place
SS Mizowaki Hayato
RF Shimoda Yuuto
CF Yamashita Tsubasa
3B Hagiwara Hideyuki
1B Okayama Shirou
C Sakai Soushirou
LF Tamura Takuya
P Ootsuka Takahito
2B Arima Ryousuke (#12)

Riseisha (Osaka) - Kinki Runner-up
CF Kaifu Hiroto
2B Masaki Kentarou
SS Ishii Gen
1B Masui Shouta
LF Oonishi Kouhei
C Sakamoto Seishirou
3B Kumamoto Hayato (#16)
RF Hirada Ryouhei
P Iidzuka Takafumi


9:00 - Game start!

Top 1st
Mizowaki leads off the game with walk against ace Iidzuka. Sakai bunts him along for the heart of the lineup.

However, Yamashita grounds out to 2nd for the 2nd out

And Hagiwara hits a liner, but right to Masui to end the inning!

Bottom 1st
Ootsuka off to a good start as he strikes out Kaifu on a slider outside.

Masaki watches a fastball hit the outside corner for strike 3, and there's quickly 2 down.

Sanshin! Ishii swings and misses on a fastball and Ootsuka strikes out the side!

Top 2nd
Iidzuka strikes out Okayama on a change inside that he can't get around on.

Sakai fares no batter swinging on a fastball high and away for the 2nd out!

Tamura gets the first hit for Kyushu Gakuin, taking a pitch back up the middle for a single.

Ootsuka lines the first offering for Iidzuka, but it's right at Kumamoto to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Masui with a foul ball to the right side. Okayama ranging near the camera well, makes the catch and tumbles in! He shows the ball to record the 1st out of the inning! Nice play!

Ootsuka continuing to pick apart the Riseisha batters! Oonishi watches a slider hit the outside corner for Ootsuka's 4th K!

Sakamoto with a grounder to 3rd. Hagiwara in front of the ball, but he loses it and it goes behind him. E5 and Kyushu Gakuin has another runner.

Temporarily at least. Kumamoto pops it up. Hagiwara in foul territory makes the catch to retire the side.

Top 3rd
This being the first time we see Iidzuka, he's a right that features a mid 130's fastball, a slider in the upper 110s-lower 120s, and a change in the low-mid 110s.

Arima for Kyushu is proving to be a stubborn last batter. He has a 9 pitch AB which is rewarded in a leadoff walk.

Mizowaki immediately bunts the first pitch sending him to 2nd.

Shimoda with a grounder to short, and Arima has taken off for 3rd! Ishii goes to Kumamoto who tags him for the 2nd out!

So runner on 1st for Yamashita, and he hits a sharp liner to short. Ishii can't handle the ball and it bounces away! Everyone's safe!

But Hagiwara strikes out on a slider away to end the inning!

Bottom 3rd
Hirada breaks through for Riseisha as he singles past a diving Arima! Iidzuka bunts him along for the top of the lineup.

And Kaifu hits a hanging slider to left center! Yamashita tries to chase it down, but it falls in! Hirada scores from 2nd and Riseisha gets on the board first at 1-0!

Masaki follows that up taking a pitch to left for single! Kaifu holds at 3rd.

あ! Ootsuka hits Ishii on the first pitch and now it's manrui for Riseisha! Sakai-kantoku calls for a conference. A double play can still get you out of the inning with minimal damage.

Masui pops it up! Okayama in foul territory makes the catch for the 2nd out!

It's not a double play though and Oonishi will get a chance to drive the runners in.

It's a hard grounder, but right at Okayama! He takes it to the bag to end the inning! However, Riseisha breaks though here with a run in the 3rd!

Top 4th
Iidzuka gets Okayama swinging for the 2nd time on a fork inside.

Sakai swings away on the first pitch and pops out to short.

Tamura though reaches base for the 2nd time today as he walks after falling behind in the count.

Ootsuka grounds out to 1st. Masui takes it to the bag himself and the side is retired.

Bottom 4th
Riseisha's batters may be figuring out Ootsuka. Sakamoto singles to left to start the inning.

Kumamoto tries to bunt, but accidentally pops it up when it looks like he was trying to pull it back! Ootsuka easily catches it for the 1st out.

Hirada hits a high fastball to right! That's down for a base hit as Sakamoto heads to 3rd! Runners at the corners for Iidzuka!


This looks odd though. Iidzuka was showing bunt, laid it down, but the corner fielders weren't crashing the plate. So it looked like a regular bunt attempt instead of a squeeze.

That means that Sakamoto scored easily and Riseisha leads 2-0!

Kaifu then with a liner past Mizowaki into left! Hirada being sent home, but the throw is offline and Kyushu Gakuin now leads 3-0!!!

Ishii hits a deep, but high fly to left. Tamura under it for the out, but Riseisha extends their lead over the boys from Kumamoto!

Top 5th
One down and Mizowaki earns a walk. However, that is quickly wiped away as Shimoda bats a ball back to Iidzuka who turns the 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Botom 5th
Masui gets Riseisha their 2nd leadoff runner with a single to right.

After a sac bunt, and a fly to right, there's 2 outs for Riseisha.

Kumamoto with a single to right! Masui comes around to 3rd and scores easily! It's 4-0 Kyushu Gakuin!

Ootsuka is careful around Hirada, who already has 2 hits, but I'm not sure walking him was part of the plan.

Now ace Iidzuka is getting in on the act! He lines one just into the center outfield grass, and Kumamoto comes in to score! Riseisha now up 5-0!

Kaifu flies out to center to end the inning, but Kyushu Gakuin is in a bad way heading into the break.

Top 6th
Mizowaki muffs a grounder from Yamashita giving Kyushu Gakuin a leadoff runner.

Hagiwara lines out to Kumamoto and Yamashita scrambles back to 1st.

Okayama with a comebacker to Iidzuka. He goes to 2nd! Yamashita dives back to the bag and everyone's safe!

Sakai takes the ball the other way to left! Oonishi up with it and Yamashita's being sent home! Throw from Oonishi is ahead of the runner, but Sakamoto can't hold onto the ball making the tag! Kyushu Gakuin is on the board here in the 6th! It's 5-1!

Okayama advances to 3rd, and there's runners at the corners.

Now there's runners on 2nd and 3rd! The 1-1 pitch gets away from Sakamoto and Sakai takes the base!

Manrui! Tamura lays off a 3-2 fastball that is just low and Kyushu Gakuin has a great oppotunity!

Ootsuka steps to the plate. Falls behind 1-2.

Liner to left! Oonishi charges in, makes the catch! Sakai was taking off on the pitch and isn't looking! Oonishi runs to the bag at 2nd for the easy double play to end the inning.


Okamoto was tagging up from 3rd! He scored before Oonishi tagged 2nd for the 3rd out, so the run counts! 3 outs thanks to the bad baserunning from Sakai, but Okamoto reaches home and the score is now 5-2!

Bottom 6th
After a bit of time for the head umpire to explain what happened, Riseisha is up to bat.

But Masaki hits a grounder back to Ootsuka. No one's covering first and he has to outrun Masaki to the bag.

Ishii with a big fly, but the park holds it and Yamshita makes the catch.

Masui strikes out on a fastball inside and the side is retired!

Top 7th
#15 Miyazaki in to hit for Arima, but he goes down swinging on an outside slider.

Back to the top of the order and Mizowaki tries to say alive after falling behind 1-2. 8th pitch he hits a grounder to Masaki, and he can't field it!

E4, and Sakai-kantoku will elect to go for the one-timer as he has Shimoda bunt the runner for Yamashita.

He hits a soft liner up the middle! Mizowaki scrambling back, reaches his glove out and makes the backhanded catch! Side retired and Kyushu Gakuin is running out of time!

Bottom 7th
#16 Numata comes in for PH Miyazaki and takes over at 2B.

One down for Riseisha and Sakamoto hits a ball that bounces off a diving Hagiwara into foul territory! They scramble to get it but Sakamoto is in with a double!

Kumamoto with a hard shot to short! Mizowaki with it, looks the runner back and throws to 1st! But the throw is into the ground! It takes several bounces before reaching Okayama, and he can't cleanly pick it! All safe!


Hirada connects on a ball to deep right center! Shimoda on a dead sprint goes back.. and makes the catch! Sakamoto tags up on the play and goes to 3rd! 2 down!

Iidzuka with a hard liner, but right at Numata who makes the catch!

Top 8th
Hagiwara's struggles at the plate continue. He works the count full, but grounds out to short.

Okayama fares no better, flying out to center and is also 0-4.

Sakai hits a fly down the left field line. Oonishi seems to be there in time, but then the ball lands in front of him! Sakai on with a gift single!

That gift though is short lived. Tamura grounds to Ishii who takes it to 2nd for the 3rd out.

Bottom 8th
Kaifu with a routine grounder to 2nd, but Numata can't seem to pick up the ball! Eventually he gives up as Kaifu reaches base!

Masaki looking to bunt and it's off Sakai and he's down. And he's on all fours in quite a bit of pain.

That only means one thing. The ball went off the jewels.

Sakai eventually gets up, jumps a couple of times to get the feeling back and he's ready to go.

Masaki eventually lays down the bunt to advance the runner.

Ishii with a grounder to the left side. Mizowaki over to field it and he overruns it! I can't tell if the ball took an irregular bounce, but it goes behind Mizowaki into left! Tamura takes a bit of time getting the ball in and Riseisha takes advantage sending Kaifu home! He scores and its 6-2!

Masui with a drive down the left field line, and that gets by Tamura to the wall! He chases it down as it hugs the wall! Masui's in with a triple and it's 7-2.

Oonishi up and the 1-1 pitch gets away from Sakai! Masui comes in to score and it's 8-2.

Oonishi and Sakamoto both fly out to center to end the inning. Riseisha clear now to advance

Top 9th
#4 Kimura in to hit for Ootsuka, pops out to 2nd.

#14 Koyama in to hit for Numata and flies out to center.

Mizowaki hits a grounder to 1st. Masui takes it to the bag and that's the game.

What seemed like an even matchup early on turned into a one-sided affair as the Riseisha batters started peppering the field with base hits. Kyushu Gakuin just coundn't get base hits off ace Iidzuka as he induced his fair share of groundouts.

Kyushu Gakuin played a solid game, but was just outmatched today. They're perennially a good team from Kumamoto, so it wouldn't surprise me to see them in the summer.

Notable Players
Kyushu Gakuin
Saaki Soushirou - 2-4, RBI
Tamura Takuya - 1-2 , 2 BB

Iidzuka Takafumi - W, CG, 0 ER, 3 H, 5 K, 5 BB
Masui Shouta - 2-5, 3B, 2 R, RBI, K
Kaifu Hiroto - 2-5, R, 2 RBI, K
Sakamoto Seishirou - 2-5, R
Hirada Ryouhei - 2-3, 2 R, BB

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 7 - Game 3 - Kousei Gakuin (Aomori) vs. Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama)

Our final game of the day features 2 regulars to Koushien.

Kousei Gakuin surprisingly had no trouble with Suijyou, although it was more of Suijyou looking not sharp at all more than anything else. They did have trouble against their relief pitcher, but they were also up a lot at the time, so they could have just shut things down so as not to overexert themselves.

Chiben Wakayama likewise had little trouble with Sado, winning 8-1. Sado didn't beat themselves in the game, rather they were just overwhelmed by the hitting of the Chiben Wakayama batters.

There's not much to really make a good estimation on, although Chiben's offense looks a lot more potent than Kousei. That combined with the fact that Chiben's pitching is much better than Suijyou's and you have to think the stalwarts from Wakayama are favored to advance.


Kousei Gakuin (Aomori) - Tohoku Runner-up
RF Sawa Tatsutoshi
2B Enomoto Shin
CF Kawakami Ryuuhei
3B Tamura Tatsuhiro
1B Kanayama Hirotaka
LF Ameku Shouto (#17)
SS Houjyou Fumiya
C Matsumoto Kenshin
P Akita Noriyoshi

Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) - Kinki 3rd/4th Place
RF Yamamoto Ryuuta
SS Ogasawara Tomohiro
C Michibata Shunsuke
CF Miyagawa Yuuki
1B Hiroaka Yukihiro
3B Shima Naohiro
LF Nakamura Kousei
2B Kawasaki Kousuke
P Aoki Yuuto (#10)


13:35 - Game start!

Top 1st
At the siren, Sawa grounds out to 3rd.

Aoki not looking as sharp to start, walking Enomoto. Nakai-kantoku elects to have Kawakami bunt the runner along for Nakamura.

And although Aoki may have been squeezed at times, he walks Nakamura.

So a small pinch for Aoki to start, but Kanayama strikes out on a high fastball to end the inning.

Bottom 1st
Akita on the other hand looks solid to start. He strikes out Yamamoto on a slider, then gets Ogasawara to swing on a 2-seamer that tailed back towards the plate.

Michibata's first AB fares only slightly better in that he made contact, but it's right at Enomoto who makes the routine play at first to end the inning.

Top 2nd
Ameku starts the inning with a blooper to left. Playing for the run again, Nakai-kantoku has Houjyou bunt.

Aoki though induces Matsumoto into a comebacker. Ameku has to hold at 2nd.

And Akita swings up, and as expected hits a high fly to center to end the inning.

Bottom 2nd
Akita dictating the tempo by throwing strikes, needing only 8 pitches to retire the heart of the Chiben order.

Top 3rd
Sawa becomes Aoki's 2nd K victim as he watches a slider hit the outside corner.

Enomoto falls victim to a fastball on the outside corner as well.

And Kawakami pops out to Ogasawara. Neither team is really getting any decent scoring opportunities as both aces are now on their game.

Bottom 3rd
Akita continuing to cruise. Just another 8 pitches retires the side as Nakamura pops out to Tamura in foul territory, Kawasaki grounds to 2nd, and Aoki waves at a fastball up and way away.

Top 4th
Kousei's batters continue to misread the offspeed pitches as evidenced by Tamura swinging on one such pitch away.

Kanayama makes contact, but flies out to right. And Ameku falls to another high fastball.

Bottom 4th
Akita leaves a fastball in the zone and leadoff batter Yamamoto sends it to right for his team's first hit!

Ogasawara lays down the bunt, but Matsumoto is on it quickly! Throws to 2nd, and pulls Houjyou off the bag! Everyone's safe!

Michibata swinging away!! But he hits a pop fly to right! Sawa under it to make the catch and the runners can't advance!

Hiraoka up, and Takashima-kantoku continues to call for the hit-and-run! Hiraoka works the count while fouling off pitches... and draws a 9 pitch walk!

Manrui for Chiben Wakayama as Shima comes up to bat!

Shima with a shot to the left side! Houjyou dives, but it goes past! Yamamoto scores! They're sending Ogasawara home! Wasa up firing, one bounces to Matsumoto who makes the swipe tag on a sliding Ogasawara for the out! Great play to nail the 2nd runner at home, but Shima's timely hit puts Chiben Wakayama ahead 1-0!!

Top 5th
Houjyou starts off the inning with a base hit that lands in front of Miyakawa. Matsumoto sends him along.

Akita with that uppercut swing pops it up again! Kawasaki going back to field it, and misses!!! Akita reaches 1st, but Houjyou has to stay on 1st as the ball should have been caught.

Aoki being a bit nibbly now as he falls behind leadoff batter Sawa 3-0! He manages to get the count full, but a wild pitch makes it manrui for Enomoto. Kousei must take advantage of the opportunity.

Enomoto showing bunt, but there's no attempt so far as the count goes to 1-1. A slider way outside gets called for a strike. And Enomoto just slumps the bat in resignation as he takes the same pitch for strike 3.

And in perhaps a sense of justice served, Kawakame takes the first pitch and sends it to left center! Houjyou and Akita both come home on the RBI double by Kawakami and Kousei Gakuin takes the lead at 2-1!

Aoki laboring on the mound as the count runs full on cleanup batter Tamura. But he can't check his swing on a high fastball and the side is retired!

Bottom 5th
With Chiben Wakayama looking for the douten run, Nakamura hits a comebacker back up the middle for a base hit. Kawasaki moves him along for last batter Aoki.

He hits a short fly to left, but Ameku is there for the catch. 2 down.

Yamamoto with a drive to right! Sawa running back to the wall, but it's over his head! Nakamura comes in to score on the RBI triple and Chiben Wakayama has tied the game at 2-2!!

Ogasawara immediately grounds to 2nd to end the inning, but as we head into the break the teams have traded blows, but are deadlocked once again.

Top 6th
After a quick groundout by Kanayama, Aoki's control issues continue as he walks Ameku.

Houjyou not bunting, but flies out to left for the 2nd out.

And with Matsumoto up, Ameku takes off for 2nd! The throw from Michibata looks to be there, but Ogasawara tags nothing but air.

Base hit could give Kousei the lead again, but Matsumoto grounds to short to end the inning.

Bottom 6th
Chiben batters trying not to attack the pitches early, but to little success.

Instead, 6 pitches are all that's needed to get 3 groundouts from the 3-4-5 batters.

Top 7th
Now both teams are trying to attack early in the count, but Kousei has no luck either. An Akima comebacker to Aoki, a grounder to 1st by Sawa, and a fly to center by Enomoto takes Aoki a grand total of 7 pitches and the teams change sides.

Bottom 7th
I haven't mentioned this until now, but I think because there is no brass bands allowed, the famous oen-dan "C" seems bigger than ever.

Shima, who got the timely hit to start the scoring, takes a pitch away for a leadoff hit.

Shima takes off for 2nd on the 1-1 pitch to Nakamura! The pitch is up and it allows Matsumoto to make a strong throw, gunning him down!

Kawasaki manages to bloop one to shallow right center, but he's stranded when Aoki flies out to Wasa down the left field line.

Top 8th
Kawakami collects his 2nd hit of the day as he pokes it right between short and 3rd!

Tamura not bunting here.

But doesn't have to! Aoki's 1-1 pitch bounces away from Michibata and Kawakami takes 2nd!

Aoki then issues his 5th walk in Tamura and there's runners on 1st and 2nd with no out!

Kanayama lays down a perfect sac bunt! Michibata fires the ball to 1st and barely gets a hustling Kanayama!

Chance for Ameku, who's 1-2 on the day with a K and a BB.

Ameku hits a fly ball, but it's too short! Shima in foul territory makes the catch for the 2nd out!

Houjyou now Kousei's last chance here in the 8th. Aoki gets ahead 0-2... and Houjyou just fouls off a ball.

He hits it, but it's a weak grounder to 2nd! Kawasaki makes the play at 1st to end the inning and Chiben Wakayama is out of the jam! Will they regret not taking advantage of the opportunity?

Bottom 8th
It's the top of the order for Chiben... and Yamamoto grounds one up the middle past a running Enomoto for a base hit!

Ogasawara tries to bunt the runner along, but falls behind 0-2.

Ogasawara "three bunts"! The pitch is outside and he's out on strikes!

Michibata up now for Chiben Wakayama.


Akita hands a pitch dead red and Michibata punishes it! It goes to left center all the way to the wall! Yamamoto scores all the way from 1st and Michibata does it again! It's 3-2 Chiben!

Akita manages to get the next two batters to fly out to left, but the damage has been done. Kousei Gakuin has just 3 outs to try and score the douten run!

Top 9th
8-9-1 batters up for Kousei Gakuin.

Matsumoto gets under one and flies out to left for the 1st out.

#15 Kawasaki in to hit for Akita... And he pops it up! Shima in foul territory waits for it and secures it for the 2nd out!

Last chance as #7 Wada hits for Sawa.

SANSHIN!!! Wada gets caught looking on a fastball on the outside corner and the game is over!

Kousei Gakuin did indeed give Chiben Wakayama all they could handle. Ace Akita held the Chiben offense in check the entire game. But one hanging pitch to the most dangerous batter on the team proved to be the difference.

Aoki struggled in this game allowing free passes to several baserunners. However, he managed to get out of most key situations thanks to some timely pitching (and some poor swings). They'll move on to the Best 8 not having used ace Uenoyama at all. One could argue that they're saving him, but with short turnarounds in the next couple of games, unless he's going to be used in relief or for a short number of innings, resting him now won't be of much use.

Notable Players
Kousei Gakuin
Akita Noriyoshi - L, CG, 3 ER, 8 H, 6 K, BB
Kawakami Ryouhei - 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI
Houjyou Fumiya - 1-3, R

Chiben Wakayama
Aoki Yuto - W. CG. 2 ER. 5 H, 8 K, 5 BB
Yamamoto Ryuuta - 3-4, 3B, 2 R, RBI
Michibata - 1-4, 2B, RBI
Shima Naohiro - 2-3, RBI

Day 7 - Game 2 - Seisei (Shizuoka) vs. Nichidai-san (Tokyo)

Our middle game features a David vs. Goliath matchup - that almost didn't happen.

Nichidai-san actually had fallen behind Meitoku Gijyuku behind the excellent pitching of ace Omatsu. And as they extended the lead to 4-1 it seemed all but curtains for the tournament favorites. However, Omatsu had been tiring from the multitude of offspeed pitches he was throwing and it started catching up to him. They would come back to tie the game in the 7th and pulled ahead in the 8th to cap off the comeback.

Seisei jumped on Kyoto Seishou ace Nishino early and often and cruised to a 9-3 win. However, the offense was mainly achieved in a couple of innings, which while it indicates they can score in bunches, it also means that their offense can be starved at times - Tohoka Kikugawa was like that several years back. It's a dangerous way to play, especially against a powerhouse team like Nichidai-san.

Again, on paper Nichidai-san should be the favorite to win the game although the lack of hitting early in the game is of concern. Seisei's defense isn't terrible, but it isn't stellar either. They'll have their work cut out for them if they want to advance.


Seisei (Shizuoka) - Tokai Runner-up
CF Kumagai Shougo
RF MasudaRyuusuke (#17)
3B Matsuda Shouji
P Nomura Ryousuke
C Katou Shou
SS Tsuge Ryousuke
LF Sasaki Kazunori
1B Ishibashiri Naoki
2B Minami Shunya

Nichidai-san (Tokyo) - Tokyo Champions
RF Takayama Shun
LF Taniguchi Yuuta (#4)
CF Azegami Shou
3B Yokoo Toshitake
SS Shimizu Kouki
2B Suganuma Kenichi (#7)
1B Kaneko Ryouya
P Yoshinaga Kentarou
C Suzuki Takahiro


11:10 - Game start!

Top 1st
One down for Seisei and Masuda lines a 3-2 pitch into center for a base hit.

And a wild pitch from Yoshinaga to Matsuda advances Masuda into scoring position!

And Matsuda hits a hanging sinker to left! That's in for a base hit! Suganuma fires the ball home, but it's up the 1st base line and Suzuki has no play! Seisei jumps in front 1-0 on Matsuda's single!

Now Katou with a base hit off the end of his bat into center! That's their 3rd hit this inning and Yoshinaga is in trouble!

Tsuge with a shot down the right field line... foul!

Yoshinaga gets Tsuge to ground to short. Shimizu takes it to the bag himself to end the inning, but it's a rocky start for the ace. If Seisei's batters can continue making contact like that, Nichidai-san may be in trouble.

Bottom 1st
Takayama with a low liner at Tsuge. He blocks it, picks it up and makes the play for the out.

Taniguchi swings and misses to a nice looking shuuto from Nomura.

Azegami stubborn at the plate, fouling off pitch after pitch once the count ran full. On the 11th pitch, he drives a ball to left! Sasaki can't get to it and Azegami is rewarded with a double!

But Yokoo swings on the first pitch and pops out to Nomura to end the inning.

Top 2nd
Sasaki makes good contact on a slow curve, but lines out to center.

Ishibashiri grounds out to 1st, and Asaga swings and misses on a high inside fastball.

Bottom 2nd
Shimizu flies out to left to start the inning. Suganuma watches a shuuto work back onto the corner for strike 3. And Kaneko also flies out to left for the 3rd out.

Top 3rd
Back to the top of the order and Kumagai is retired for the 2nd time as Shimizu ranges by 2nd to pick up the ball and make the play.

After a foul out by Masuda, Matsuda gets the green light at 3-1 but flies out to left to end the inning. It looks like since the 1st inning Yoshinaga has settle down considerably.

Bottom 3rd
Yoshinaga leads off the inning with a hit to left-center! Sasaki retrieves it, but not before Yoshinaga reaches 2nd!

Suzuki bunts the runner along for the top of the order.

But Takayama pops it up! Matsuda in foul territory makes the catch for the 2nd out!

And Taniguchi also pops it up! Tsuge with the catch and Nichidai-san leaves the runner stranded on 3rd!

Top 4th
Another quick inning for Yoshinaga as he retires the 4-5-6 batters in just 7 pitches. Seisei still maintaining that 1 run lead.

Bottom 4th
Ah.. Nomura hits Azegami to start the inning.

Yokoo can't figure out the shuuto and swings and misses for the 1st out.

Shimizu with a shot past Matsuda down the left field line! Sasaki gets to the ball quickly and limits him to a single.

Suganuma can tie the game with a base hit, but he hits a slow grounder to 3rd! Matsuda charges in, and the only throw he can make is to first. But the runners advance and there's a chance a base hit gives Nichidai-san the lead.

Kaneko delivers that hit as he connects on a shuuto that gets too much of the plate into shallow center! Kumagai in to field it, but both runners score giving them ahead 2-1!

Yoshinaga goes down swinging to end the inning, but the team has rallied to take the lead!

Top 5th
One down for Seisei and Ishibashiri break the hitless drought with a ball to the right of Suganuma into right.

Asaga bunts him along for the top of the order and Kumagai. Yoshinaga gets him swinging on a sinker to end the inning!

Bottom 5th
Nomura back to baffling batters as Suzuki and Takayama pop out to the infield.

With 2 down, Taniguchi singles back up the middle.

But then he tries to steal 2nd on the 1-1 pitch. Katou comes out firing and makes an accurate throw that leads Tsuge to the bag to make the tag.

So Seisei heads into the break in a close battle against Nichidai-san. Unfortunately, while they scored the opening run, timely hitting by Kaneko has Nichidai-san up by a 2-1 margin. Can the boys from Shizuoka find a way to get to Yoshinaga again?

Top 6th
One down for Seisei and Matsuda bloops one to center for a base hit.

Nomura strikes out swinging, but when Suzuki tries to make a snap throw to 1st, he nails Nomura in the head. That's going to hurt.

Katou with a single to center. Matsuda holds at 2nd.

Tsuge looking to get the douten runner in, looks at a fastball on the outside corner for strike 3!

Bottom 6th
Nomura feeling no ill effects of getting plunked in the head. He retires the 3-4-5 batters of Nichidai-san and Seisei will go back on offense.

Top 7th
Sasaki starts the inning off by takes a ball the other way for a leadoff single. Ishibashiri bunts the runner along for Asaga.

But Asaga swings and misses on a slider away, and he knows it too!

And Kumagai grounds out to short to end the inning! Seisei is only down 1, but is also running out of time!

Bottom 7th
Suganuma with a ground back up the middle for a base hit. Kaneko bunts him along for Yoshinaga.

Yoshinaga hits a pop fly to shallow right. Asaga, Sasaki and Kumagai all converge on the ball, but it falls in between all of them! Suganuma, thinking the ball would be caught, advances only to 3rd.


Suzuki lays down the bunt, but Katou is on it immediately! Suganuma is caught between the bases! He's run down and there's 2 outs!

Takayama with a grounder through the left side! Yoshinaga rounding 3rd, being waved home! Throw from Sasaki is up the 3rd base line, but it sets up Katou to make the catch and block the plate! Satou holds onto the ball and they get the out! Yoshinaga, jacket and all turns and lays on his back as if to say, "Dang it!"

Seisei keeps the deficit at 1 as they go back on offense looking for that tying run.

Top 8th
No luck though for Seisei. Yoshinaga just needs 8 pitches to retire the 2-3-4 batters. Time is running out for the first timers.

Bottom 8th
Nomura walks Taniguchi to start off the 8th - his first walk of the game! Katou goes out to meet with him and he does look a little tired. Azegami bunts him along for Yokoo.

And Yokoo drives one down the left field line.... FOUL! Wow, that was smashed. But Nomura gets him to ground out to 3rd! Matsuda looks the runner back and there's 2 down!

Shimizu with a ball back up the middle! Kumagai charging in, boots the ball! He keeps it in front of him, but he has no throw home! Taniguchi scores and Nichidai-san gets an all-important insurance run here in the 8th! 3-1!

Suganuma flies out to center to end the inning, but Yoshinaga will take the hill with a little more breathing room!

Top 9th
Katou to lead off the 9th, lines out to Azegami.

Tsuge with a grounder up the middle, Shimizu dives, and it's off the end of his glove into center for a base hit!

Sasaki up, but he can't check his swing on a slider outside! He looks up in disbelief as he realizes his error!

#18 Ishikawa is up for Ishibashiri as Seisei's last chance.


Ishikawa swings and misses on a change! Nichidai-san advances with a 3-1 win over Seisei!!

Seisei more than held its own against the powerhouse from Tokyo with ace Nomura yielding just 3 runs in a complete game effort. The bats were able to get to Yoshinaga's pitching, but they were never able to the timely hits when they really needed it. Seisei's always been a team that has been in contention to go to Koushien, and this performance proves that they're the real deal. Don't be surprised to seem them make another run in the summer.

Nichidai-san has to be a little disappointed at the performance. They did win to advance to the Best 8, but they haven't been as dominating as perhaps they were expecting. Yoshinaga too has proven to be hittable, which could be of concern as the team progresses in the tournament. While facing Kakogawa Kita isn't one of the big name squads per se, it seems their room for error is a bit smaller than once thought.

Notable Players
Nomura Ryousuke - L, CG, 3 ER, 9 H, 5 K, BB, HBP
Matsuda Shuuji - 2-4, RBI
Katou Shou - 2-4

Yoshinaga Kentarou - W, CG, ER, 8 H, 8 K
Kaneko Ryouya - 1-2, 2 RBI
Shimizu Kouki - 2-4, K
Azegami Shou - 1-3, 2B, R, HBP

Day 7 - Game 1 - Kakogawa Kita (Hyogo) vs. Hasami (Nagasaki)

There has been quite a few surprises so far this tournament, and as we head into the 2nd round of games, it'll be a test now to see if these teams can repeat their successes.

Hasami is easily one of those teams. Yokohama's, already suffering from an injury to a key player, had their ace Saitou look rather pedestrian against the Nagasaki squad. Team took full advantage, scoring 5 runs. The defense also played a role as ace Matsuda managed to yield just 1 run despite allowing 8 hits, and 8 walks/hit batters.

Kakogawa Kita was put back on their heels by Kanazawa ace Kamata early on as he sat down batter after batter after batter. It looked like that they had no answer to the strong pitching. But Kamata is only one person, and the defense behind him couldn't hold the fort. 2 poor rundowns between 3rd and home allowed 2 runs to score en route to a 4-0 win.

Hasami definitely looked like a very capable team in all facets, and while Kakogawa Kita did win, they were the beneficiaries of poor play - although I will credit them for not giving up after being hit in the face early.

While Kakogawa Kita may be from the better region, it might be Hasami that is a slight favorite to advance to the Best 8.


Kakogawa Kita (Hyogo) - Kinki 5th-8th place
2B Shibumura Ryousuke
SS Takeda Yuuki
CF Shibata Seiji
RF Tokura Kenshi
P Inoue Maito
LF Odashima Suguru (#10)
C Satou Hiroki
3B Ujihashi Yuuto
1B Yamamoto Takaki

Hasami (Nagasaki) - Kyushu 3rd/4th Place
CF Tanaka Yuuya
3B Yoshiyama Shuuhei
1B Komine Fumiya
P Matsuda Ryouma
SS Shibayama Jyunpei
2B Yamaguchi Yuudai
LF Matsuo Ryousuke
RF Shida Hiromasa
C Kanzaki Takuya


9:00 - Game start!

Top 1st
Shibumura with a base hit to right - and Shida whiffs of the ball! Yuuya backs the play up, but not before Shibumura's at 3rd! The defense of Hasami falters right off the bat and Kakogawa Kita threatens to score right off the bat!

Takeda with a grounder to short! Shibayama makes a great diving stop! He's able to look the runner back and makes the play at first for the 1st out!

Shibata with a comebacker up the middle! Matsuda can't grab it with his glove and it goes into center! Shibumura scores and Kakogawa Kita is out of the gates quickly at 1-0!

Togura up, and Shibata takes off for 2nd on the 1st pitch! Throw from Kanzaki is late and now he's in scoring position.


Throw from Kanzaki late again! Man, he is either a fast guy, is making a good jump, or they see something they can take advantage of.

But Matsuda strikes Togura out on an outside fastball for the 2nd out! One to go!

Inoue with a solid hit, but right to Shida to end the inning. Kakogawa Kita though strikes first!

Bottom 1st
Inoue wit a good start getting both Yuuya and Yoshiyama to ground to short.

But Komine breaks it up with a slice over Ujihashi down the left field just fair! It rattles around a bit near the catcher's part of the bullpen as Komine is in at 2nd!

However Matsuda hits a grounder to 1st. Yamamoto flips to Inoue to retire the side.

Top 2nd
Matsuda doing better this frame as he quickly gets Odashima to ground to 1st. He falls behind Satou, but given the green light he swings away and drives a ball to right! Shida going back, makes a last second leap to make the catch. That's a bit shaky there.

The inning ends though when Ujihashi grounds out to 2nd on the 1st pitch.

Bottom 2nd
After a lazy fly to center by Shibayama, Yamaguchi does the same but a bit shorter which fullas in for a base hit! Matsuo not bunting, but hits a comebacker to Inoue! He reaches down and is able to snag it! He starts the 1-6-3 double play to end the inning!

Top 3rd
Yamamoto with a base hit past a diving Komine and Yamaguchi into right!

Shibumura not bunting - but as he strikes out swinging, Yamamoto takes off for, and reaches 2nd safely.

One down, and there's a good opportunity for Kakogawa Kita to play add on!

Takeda with a liner back at Matsuda! His survival skills take over and he makes the catch! Throws to 2nd and Yamamoto is doubled off the end the inning!

Bottom 3rd
Shida leading off the inning getting hit by Inoue! Kanzaki not bunting, but Shida does take off for 2nd!

But it doesn't work both ways! Satou with a rifle throw to 2nd nails Shida and the bases are empty again!

And it's too bad as Kanzaki singles to center! So instead of runners on 1st and 2nd with no out, it's just a runner on 1st with one down.

It is back to the top of the order and Yuuya, but he pops it up! Takeda makes the catch just on the outfield grass for the 2nd out.

And Inoue sends his team into the dugout as Yoshiyama grounds to short.

Top 4th
Kakogawa Kita's batter taking more pitches this inning. Matsuda is still able to retire the batters in order, but takes 16 pitches to do so. His off speed stuff isn't really that accurate right now.

Bottom 4th
After a popup by Komine, Matsuda hits a shallow fly to right. Shibumura running back makes a nice running catch for the 2nd out!

Shibayama with yet another pop up to short. Ujihashi ranging over in front of Takeda and he drops it! Shibayama running all the way reaches 2nd!

Chance for Hasami, but Yamaguchi grounds to 2nd on the 1st pitch to end the inning.

Top 5th
The game is quickly going through each inning as Matsuda retires the side in just 6 pitches. Hasami will be back on the bats again looking to find the equalizer before the break.

Bottom 5th
Bottom of the order up for Hasami, and Matsuo goes down swinging on a slider outside.

Shida follows suit, swinging on a high fastball. And while Kanzaki is able to follow a change down, all he can to it tap it to 2nd to end the inning.

Inoue doing a good job of moving around the plate and making the batters uncomfortable. The control may not be all there, but it's good enough right now for have a 1-0 lead over Hasami heading into the break.

Top 6th
Yamamoto with a ball up the middle. Yamaguchi runs down the ball at 2nd, and the throw to 1st beats a diving Yamamoto! Yet another lost hit.

Shibumura tests Yamaguchi's range to his left, and he makes another good stop. Toss to Matsuda gets the 2nd out.

Matsuda can't get the clean 1-2-3 inning as he walks Takeda. Kanzaki helps him out of that one as Takeda takes off for 2nd and he guns him down to retire the side.

Bottom 6th
After Yuuya pops it up to Satou, #14 Tanaka Kousuke come in to hit for Yoshiyama.

Falling behind 1-2, he fouls off several pitches and works the count full. But Inoue induces a groundout to 2nd for out #2.

And Komine cannot do anything as he grounds to 3rd to end the inning.

Top 7th
Kakogawa unable to make good contact with the ball, as Togura strikes out on a slider away in between two flyouts from Shibata and Inoue. Outside of the 1st inning, which wasn't totally his fault, he's been very good.

Bottom 7th
Matsuda hits a popup to shallow center, Takeda and Shibata converge, and somehow it falls right in between them! A bit of miscommunication gives Hasami a leadoff runner!

Hasami's batters though have been swinging upwards all game. Shibayama hits a towering fly that Takeda fields just in the outfield grass, Yamaguchi does the same, and Matsuo reaches down and can only hit a grounder to 1st to end the inning.

Top 8th
Odajima with a rip past a diving Hashiguchi down the line! Matsuo over to get it at the wall and Odajima's in with a leadoff double!

Tokunaga-kantoku calls his first conference.

Satou puts down a textbook bunt to advance Odajima to 3rd. Now a sac fly can pad Kakogawa Kita's lead.

That works too! Ujihashi with a slow grounder to 2nd! Yamaguchi looking home, but has no play as Odajima was running home on contact! He goes to 1st for the out, and Kakogawa Kita leads 2-0!

Yamamoto goes down looking to end the inning, but 2 runs in this type of ballgame may be a tall order.

Bottom 8th
Shida up to start the inning for Hasami, and after a hard AB, gets a leadoff walk.

Kanzaki tries to bunt, but falls behind 1-2. They settle for the hit-and-run to advance him as he grounds to 2nd.

#16 Ono comes in to hit for leadoff batter Yuuya, and all he can do is the same.

2 down, runner on 3rd for Hashiguchi. He grounds to short! Takeda with the throw to 1st... and it beats out a diving Hashiguchi for the 3rd out!

Top 9th
#18 Eguchi comes in for PH Ono and goes to right. Shida moves to CF.

One down for Kakogawa Kita, and Takeda singles through the left side.

Fukumura-kantoku decides not to bunt in the heart of the order, and Shibata flies out to center for the 2nd out.

Now with Togura up, Takeda takes off for 2nd! He's in safely!

Matsuda gets Togura to pop it up! Eguchi coming in, Yamaguchi had already gone out, and it's Shibayama making the catch for the out!

Bottom 9th
Komine with a comebacker to Inoue. No one is covering first and it's a foot race! Inoue beats out a diving Komine for the first out!

Matsuda not letting the team die! He hits a drive to left! That's takes a hop to the wall and Matsuda is in with a double!

And now the count goes to 3-0 on Shibayama!

He gets the green light, but hits a grounder to 1st! Yamamoto takes it to the bag for the 2nd out!

And Yamaguchi is jammed! Ball rolls to Yamamoto, flips to Inoue, and that's the game! Kakogawa Kita defeats Hasami 2-0 and secures a spot in the Best 8!

Hasami, who looked very good in their game against Yokohama immediately dug themselves into a hole with a misplay on the very first play. The team would play catchup the rest of the game, except that Kakogawa ace Inoue would never let them get a serious scoring opportunity until the 9th. But by then, they were down 2 and running out of outs.

Outside of the two scoring innings though, Kakogawa Kita's offense was for the most part inert. Hasami ase Matsuda is a good pitcher, but should they face Yoshinaga and Nichidai-san, it'll be an ever bigger challenge. They'll have to lean on Inoue even more to carry the team.

Notable Players
Kakogawa Kita
Inoue Maito - W, CG, 5 H, 2 K, BB, HBP
Shibata Seiji - 1-4, RBI, K, 2 SB
Odajima Suguru - 1-3, 2B
Takeda Yuuki - 1-3, BB, SB

Matsuda Ryouma - L, CG, 0 ER, 5 H, 5 K, BB
Matsuda Ryouma - 2-4, 2B
Komine Fumiya - 1-4, 2B