Sunday, July 31, 2011

93rd Koushien Qualifying - Honshu Update (ex Osaka & Hyogo)

So since prefectures have wrapped up play, I can go over full coverage... except for Osaka and Hyogo. Their formats are weird.

So the battle of the older brother versus younger brother went... well... as expected.

Kousei Gakuin defeated (Kousei Gakuin) Noheji Nishi 9-1 for their 4th title, and first since 2003.

So Yamagata's semifinals had Tsuruoka Higashi surprisingly end Nichidai Yamagata's run scoring 6 in the first 3 innings and using that to win 6-5.

Meanwhile, my irrational pick Haguro was down 5-1 to Yamagata Chuo, then rallied to get up 6-5, blew that lead in the top of the 9th then lost it in the 10th. Nuts.

So it would be either Tsuruoka Higashi, who hadn't been in 30 years or Yamagata Chuo, who hadn't been at all.

It was Tsuruoka Higashi who scores 1st with 2 in the 3rd. Ace Furuichi had been holding Yamagata Chuo at bay until Takahashi hits a 2-run HR in the 6th to reset the game! Sugai with new life tried to keep things level until his team could score, but it wasn't to be. Tsuruoka Higashi would score in the next inning, giving them a 3-2 victory and their 3rd summer title!

In the Miyagi final, Rifu was certainly in the drivers seat against B seed Furukawa Kougyou. Yet Rifu couldn't get to Furukou's ace Yamada. In fact, it was Furukou that got the first lead, scoring on Katou. Rifu responded by firing right back to tie the game.

But when Furukou was threatening once again, Katou would be relieved by Mizuochi, but he was unable to clamp it down. Furukou takes the lead.

Furukawa Kougyou would add one more run in the 8th, and earn their first ever Koushien appearance, defeating both Tohoku and Rifu in the process!!

So, in the semifinals, it really was Seikou Gakuin and everyone else it seemed. They easily handled Iwaki Kouyou 5-0. Their opponent would be Sukagawa who scored the gyakuten 4-3 win over Odaka Kougyou with 2 runs in the 9th.

In the end, it'd be ace Saiuchi for Seikou Gakuin who would 3-hit Sukagawa and earn their 5th consecutive appearance!

So Tochigi was finally able to have their final, but it was rather lopsided. Utsunomiya Shougyou gave it their best, but lost 17-5 to Sakushin Gakuin. It's their 7th title and first in 2 years.

Nishi Tokyo
The semis for the Nishi Tokyo region almost went as expected. Waseda Jitsugyou (aka Soujitsu) defeated Kousei Gakuen 11-5, while Nichidai-san (aka Sanko) had early offensive struggles against Nichidai Tsurugaoka but pulled away in the 2nd half of the game, winning 9-3.

So, what's new? It's a finals matchup between two Tokyo powerhouses - Soujitsu and Sanko.

And this is one final that you know won't disappoint. And it didn't.

Aces Uchida (Soujitsu) and Yoshinaga (Sanko) were going to start and finish the game come hell or high water.

So it began, and the aces dominated the opening innings as neither team could score. Then in the 5th, after Taniguchi for Sanko gets hit in the head (ouch), he steals second and scores on a double to center, making it 1-0 Sanko.

Then in the very next inning, Uchida leaves one up for Suganuma and he bombs one to make it 2-0!

And in a game like this, a 2-0 deficit is rather huge. Soujitsu uses their lucky 7 to get a run back. Though it was via a double, bunt and wild pitch.

Yoshinaga though would not let another run cross the plate. He shuts down the Soujitsu offense and sends Nichidai-san to their 14th appearance and first in 2 years.

In the Kanagawa final, Yokohama looked to be more than beatable and Toukou showed a lot of fight. And it continued here.

Matsui opened for Toukou Gakuen and held Yokohama scoreless for 4+ innings. In the 5th though, after a couple of hits, he would be relieved by Kashiwara. Yokohama though would push home a run in the 5th.

Yet, the deficit would remain at 1, and in the 7th Toukou would find an equalizer! And it would be a new game once again.

Top 9, Toukou Gakuen gets a hit and after a walk with 2 down, Yokohama sends in #11 Souma. He strikes out the next batter to end the threat.

Yokohama looked to end things right in the 9th as Kashiwara hits the first batter, who was leaning waaaaaaaaaayyyy in. The dead ball stands, and the next batter takes advantage of a defense expecting bunt, and bounces one over the infield for a base hit! Now Toukou was in real trouble!

But when they tried to execute a bunt, Kashiwara charges in and makes a great throw to 3rd to get the lead runner! One down, but Toukou isn't out of it yet.

And a base hit to right is quickly fielded by RF Fujishima holding the lead runner at 3rd. Manrui with 1 down, normal baseball strategy would call for a bunt.

But there was none from Nakase and he goes down swinging! I wonder why they didn't try it.

2 down, and Aoki is up, but he pops it up! 2B Suzuki secures it and they go into extras!

However, given Yokohama's threats in the last couple of innings and the momentum they seemed to have, I thought Toukou would have to win this now, or they might lose immediately in extras.

Sure enough, Toukou goes down in order, and Otosaka starts things off in the 10th with a double. Another quick single to right puts the sayonara run 90 feet away...

...and C Kondou doesn't miss. He chops one up the middle for the win! Yokohama wins 2-1 in 10 for their 14th title and 1st in 3 years.

So in Niigata, it's 2 strong teams in the final. Nihon Bunri, the almost cardiac kids in 2009, versus Niigata Meikun.

And as expected it would be a low scoring affair at Hard-Off Eco Stadium.

In fact, it'd be another enchousen game. Niigata Meikun would have first crack, getting a runner on 3rd with 2 outs. But a flyout to left ends that.

#20 Tamura for Nihon Bunri (teams are allowed 20 on their roster during prefecturals). hits a double to left-center! But when he's bunted over, P Machinaga fields it and throws to 3rd getting Tamura out by a mile! What the heck happened there??

A base hit to left by Noguchi put runners at the corners.

Yumoto finishes the deal with a drive to right center giving Nihon Bunri their 6th title and 1st appearance since their final game in 2009.

In the Toyama finals, Toyama Kokusaidai Fuzoku down 1-0 quickly scored 4 to take a 4-1 lead over Shin-Minato. Kokusaidai ace Gotou continues to shut down the Shin-Minato offense, but in the 8th Shin-Minato breaks out with 3 runs to take a 5-4 lead! With just 3 outs left, Toyama Kokusaidai Fuzoku couldn't get to ace Hakamatani who denies them their first ever Koushien appearance! Instead it will be Shin-Minato who earns their 5th summer title and first since 1999!

As the tournament progressed, it seemed like some of the pre-tournament favorites didn't look to be actual favorites. Mie in the round of 16, struggled against Matsusaka Kougyou needed to score 2 in the 9th for the 4-3 gyakuten win.

Inabe Sougou was not as fortunate losing 3-2 to Kuwana Kougyou.

But Mie wouldn't be too far behind. Ise Kougyou, despite giving up the tying run in the 9th, defated Mie 2-1 in 11! Tsu Nishi bid sayonara to Tsu 5-4 in 9.

So Inabe Sougou was gone... now so was Mie. That left Komono as the only major team left.

Except they lost too in the quarterfinals to Kinkidai Tousen 6-3.

So that meant the entire field is wide open. And the semifinals really showed that.

Kinkidai Tousen vs. Tsu Nishi went something like this...

Tsu Nishi down 0-4, 1-4, 1-6, 1-7, 4-7, 4-8, then up 9-8, down 9-11, 10-11, 10-13...

And 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th gave them a 15-13 lead. With 28 runs already, 2 more seemed like a possibility.

But Tsu Nishi's 4th and 5th pitchers, Morimasa and Itou would put the games 4th zero (on either side), as they win 15-13.

The other semifinals was much more tame. Yokkaichi gets a 3-0 lead in the 3rd, Kurokawa can't hold it, gives up 4 in the 6th to Ise Kougyou en route to a 5-3 loss.

The final would be unpredictable given these teams, but Ise Kougyou took control early, jumping to a 6-1 lead. Tsu Nishi though would chip away, closing to within 2 in the 6th. But 3 in the 8th meant that Ise Kougyou wins just their 2nd title (their first was in 1988).

So, in Kyoto we had 3 well-known (and fairly long-named) schools in Ryuukokudai Heian, Fukuchiyama Seibi, and Ritsumeikan Uji, and a not-so much imposter in Kyoto Ryouyou (they did after all beat what could have been the 4th long-named team in Kyoto Gaidai Nishi).

Kyoto Ryouyou did show they belonged though, as they held with Ritsumeikan Uji, taking a 2-0 lead and a 3-2 lead. However, Ritsumeikan Uji took control in the 5th, scoring 5 runs and a 7-3 lead. Ryouyou scored 2 to cut the deficit in half, but Ritsumeikan put it away with a pair in the 7th to win 9-5.

Fukuchiyama Seibi is working to rebuild after their withdrawal following some rather offensive actions last year. They're back to the Best 4, but could not keep up with Ryuukokudai Heian. There were pinged in the middle innings to death and a 6-3 loss.

In the finals it was all Heian as they win their 31st title and a trip to Koushien after a year off.

Chiben Gakuen wins.

(What? What else do you want me to say? That they won their 5 games by a combined 45-6???)

Chiben Wakayama wins.

Ok, so in this case there's a little more to this. First Chiben Wakayama actually got a scare. Block semifinals against Hidaka, Hidaka actually took the lead 2-1 in the 3rd, then extended it by a run in the 5th! But it's a 9-inning game, and in the 8th Kadoguchi couldn't hold Chiben off. 3 in the 8th meant they were behind, and they never caught up.

But after Kouyou fell to Ito in the Block D final, that left only Minabe to challenge Chiben Wakayama. And suffice it to say, Minabe is no Kouyou, nor Minoshima (who lost earlier).

So Chiben Wakayama wins their 7th consecutive title. Chiben Wakayama winning Wakayama is like Tenri/Chiben Gakuen winning Nara. Just check the box and move on.

Championship game in Okayama, and Kanzei was poised to win another title. But Konkou Gakuen had other ideas. After falling behind 2-0, Konkou Gakuen scored 5 unanswered to take a 5-2 lead late.

Kanzei though showed fight by coming all the way back in the bottom of the 9th! 2 innings later, they secure their 8th appearance and first since 2006.

Perhaps as expected, it was Iwamichisuikan and Kaisei in the finals, though it almost wasn't. Iwamichisuikan needed to score 5 runs in the last 2 innings to pull out a 6-5 sayonara win.

And in that sense, it wasn't surprising then that Kaisei routed Iwamichisuikan 12-2 for the title.

Jyosuikan would be in the finals, that seemed assured (and it was with a 3-1 win). The question would be who would they face.

Soutoku was the seeded team, but Hiroshima Shinjyou was the one taking the initiative. After falling behind 3-1 they rallied for 3 to re-take a one run lead, eventually winning 5-4 in 10.

In the final, Jyosuikan did take the 1-0 lead, but then Shinjyou pinged one run, then another and perhaps we'd see an upset. But when Jyosuikan scored a pair in the 7th and 8th, it was all but over as they won their 7th title.

In the final, Yanai Gakuen would manage just 5 hits and 1 run. But their ace Yazawa held Sakuragaoka to just 2 hits and 0 runs meaning that they would earn their 1st ever appearance!

Friday, July 29, 2011

93rd Koushien Qualifying - Hokushinetsu/Chuubu Update

With games spaced out, Niigata wasn't affected as much by the rain. Round of 16 action at Sanjyou Kikai wound up being a surprise as both seeded teams, #3 Nagaoka Oote and 5-8 Sado both lost! Nagaoka Oote gave up 4 in the 1st and never recovered against Niigata Kenou Kougyou while Niigata Meikun scored all 3 of their runs in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Sado 3-2!

Nihon Bunri led 4-0 over Teikyou Nagaoka before Teikyou scored 6 to take the lead! But Nihon Bunri had time to recover, tied the game in the 6th and won 10-6.

#2 Hokuetsu too would fall at Shibata Ijimino as Shirone scores 3 in the bottom of the 8th for the gyakuten 6-5 win.

Onto the quarterfinals and Nihon Bunri got involved in one heck of a battle with Murakami Sakuragaoka! After falling behind 3-0 in the top of the 1st, they score 5, then give 4 right back! Things got worse in the 6th after Murakami scored 2 more. That meant they were trailing 9-5! But Nihon Bunri would finally respond. 3 in the 6th and one more in the 7th finally brought them level. And in the bottom of the 9th, they score the winning run, but a rather unusual game from them here in the quarterfinals.

Shirone on the other side surprised yet another team as Katou shut out Gosen 2-0!

To the semis, and Nihon Bunri struggled again, this time against Chuuetsu. Managing just 1 run early, Chuuetsu took the 2-1 lead in the 6th. It would be 1 inning later where they'd take a 3-2 lead, but even though they reach the finals, I don't know if they can get away with it against Niigata Meikun. They mercilessly end Shirone's run with a 9-1 mercy game.

In what could be considered a big upset, unknown Komoro Shougyou and ace Niimi(?) shutout Saku Chousei 3-0! That still leaves some big name teams, but it sure opens the door!

Joining Komoro Shougyou would be Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri, who scored 4 in the 4th but that was all they needed to beat Toukai Dai-san 4-3.

Meanwhile, emerging power Nagano Nichidai goes down in a shocker to to Matsumoto Dai-ichi 6-4!

Matsushou Gakuen does advance to the semis, but with a less than convincing 4-2 win over Iiyama.

In the semis, Matsushou Gakuen advanced to the finals with little resistance from Komoro Shougyou. It would seem like no matter the opponent, they should have no problem. After all, neither of them had been to Koushien before.

Their opponent would be Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri who won 2-0...

In the beginning though, it was Shidai who took the lead first. 3 runs in the 2nd and Matsushou was on their heels. It wouldn't be until the 6th inning when Matsushou would finally get on the board against ace Aibara. And the very next inning they knocked him out and scored 3 runs to boot to take the lead.

Things looked well for Matsuhou after that. All Kumatani had to do was close it out. But in the 9th he faltered. Shidai would score 3 runs in the 9th to take a 1 run lead. Matsushou once again was on the verge of being knocked out. Once again, they manufactured a run against reliever Kaneko to send it into extras.

That would be it for starter Kumatani as Miwa would relieve him, but 2 hits and only 1 out later, he would be relieved by their 3rd pitcher Hara. He gets them out of the mess, but he may be the end of the line for Matsushou.

As the game progressed, neither team was able to manufacture a run.

That was until the 13th when Shidai was able to push in a run, once again putting Matsushou on their heels.

This time though, there would be no comeback. The middle of the lineup couldn't deliver for Matsushou and Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri earns their 1st ever Koushien appearance!

Toyama had the benefit of going slowly given the number of teams. They've actually been able to go through just 2 games a day each at 2 sites.

One of those games was in the 2nd round when Sakurai and Shin-Minato go extras, with Sakurai taking a 2-1 lead in the 12th only to have Fukushima falter in the end giving up 2 for the loss.

Shin-Minato's next game against Fushiki was even crazier. Down 4-0 before getting their first AB, they quickly got 3 back. After trading some runs in the next couple of innings, Shin-Minato scores 6 in the 6th to take a 11-6 lead! That lasted all of... almost nothing. Fushiki scores 5 in the lucky 7 and we were tied! Shin-Minato finally puts it away with 3 in the 8th for a 14-11 win!

Even by the Best 8, things had going pretty much as normal. The top 2 seeds advanced, but certainly not convincing. Toyama Kokusaidai Fuzoku managed just 6 hits against Namerikawa but scored the only run. Takaoka Shougyou limited Fujikoshi Kougyou to just 2 hits, but won 4-1.

Shin-Minato's quarterfinal game had to be pushed back due to rain, but when it finally got underway, it was another nail-biter. Takaoka Nishi kept the game close until the 8th when Shin-Minato scored 3 for the eventual 5-3 win.

In the semifinals, Toyama Kokusaidai Fuzoku uses a 4-run 5th to distance themselves from Tonami Kougyou for a 6-3 win. Shin-Minato will be their opponent as they win 15-6 over Takaoka Shougyou. Interestingly, it's Shin-Minato who's been to Koushien before, and seeded Takaoka Kokusaidai Fuzoku who hasn't!

Not surprisingly, 3 of the 4 semifinalists were Fukui Koudai Fukui, Fukui Shougyou and Tsuruga Kehi. The 4th seeded team, Nyuu, who seems to at least be above average, lost to Takefu Shougyou in the round prior.

So in the semis, Koudai Fukui had no trouble with the outlier of the bunch as they won 6-0. The Fukushou-Tsuruga Kehi game on the other hand was close as expected. Neither team was able to scratch out a lead bigger than 2 until the bottom of the 8th as Fukushou got to Tsuruga Kehi's ace Yamamoto for 2 to get a 3-run lead. It was left to Fukushou's Yamamoto to shut things down. Except he wasn't able to cleanly. 1 run was in for Kehi, then 2... But Yamamoto managed to record the 3rd out and it setup a familiar final between two powerhouse schools.

Sadly though the finals were all Fukui Shougyou. Despite keeping the deficit at 1 early, they couldn't stop Fukushou from scoring in the middle innings. When all was said and done, Fukushou had earned their 2nd consecutive appearance and 21st overall.

As the tournament moved into the round of 16 we could start noting some of the favored teams such as Kanazawa and Yuugakukan though you could be assured they'd advance far.

Looking at the other teams, there were some interesting battles. Komatsu defeats Hakui 3-2 in 12, Kanazawa Sakuragaoka rallies from down 6-0 to defeat Kanazawa Izumigaoka 9-6.

But in the end it would be Kanazawa and Yuugakukan who would meet in the final. Kanazawa would build a 4-0 lead early and not relinquish it, winning 8-5 for their 13th appearance and first since 2008.

Much like other rural prefectures, certain teams dominate the area. Here in Shiga, it's primarily Kita-Ootsu and Oumi.

Yet this year they didn't seem as dominating. While Oumi won their first games 4-1 and 5-0, Kita-Ootsu won 3-1, then won 1-0 in 12 over Hikone Higashi (who really isn't that bad of a team).

That meant the door was possibly opened for other teams. Takashima, down 5-1 to Youkaichi in the bottom of the 9th score 5 to win the game and earn a crack at Kita-Ootsu.

Surpringly, it was not Kita-Ootsu, but Oumi who would fall first. Seta Kougyou scores 4 in the 8th and 9th innings to win 9-6! Kita-Ootsu survived yet again with a 3-1 win over Takashima.

Perhaps the only team that showed some domination was a different seeded team - Hachiman Shougyou who had won their first games combined 15-2 before defeating Kawase 4-1.

In the semis, Hachiman Shougyou flexed its muscle again, mercy-ruling Seta Kougyou 7-0 in 7. Kita-Ootsu makes it to the final with another close game against Oumi Kyoudaisha 4-2.

To the finals, and Kita-Ootsu seemed to be destined to be one of those teams who liked playing low scoring affairs. They build a 3-0 lead early, and looked to be in control. But in the 5th, Hachiman Shougyou out of nowhere goes on a run and scores 6 runs! Kita-Ootsu, who has played a low scoring strategy suddenly needs to keep up. But trying for runs at this point is difficult and as a result they lose 6-4 and Hachiman wins their 7th title and heads to Koshien for the first time in 5 years!

So in the semifinals, Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku had no trouble with Koufu Shougyou after pulling off the upset on A seed Toukaidai Koufu. Meanwhile Nihon Koukuu had their own upset to pull off against Koufu Kougyou and succeeded 6-4. Interestingly, all 4 semifinals were a Natsu Koushien representative in each of the last 5 years except last year (Hikawa).

In the finals, Gakuindai opened the scoring in the 4th with a run but JAA responded with 3 in their half. But Gakuindai started chipping away in the 6th, tying it in the 7th then blowing it open with 7 runs in the last 2 innings for the 10-3 win. This is their 5th title, and 1st in 2 years.

Well, for almost all seeded teams remaining in the block semifinals, they all advanced. Though for teams like Seki Shoukou, they went from tied at 1-1 into the 9th, to down 4-1, to a sayonara 5-4 win!

The only seeded team remaining not to advance was Tounou Jitsugyou. They fell 9-5 to Gujyou.

To the block finals, and the shocker of them all came in the first game. Block A saw Seki Shoukou take a 4-1 lead over Oogaki Nichidai with 4 in the 5th! After extending it to 4 with a run in the 7th, ace Naijyou(?) gave it all right back, and was knocked out. And so, Oogaki Nichidai with new life, seemed to be back in control of the game. But Oogaki's 3rd pitcher of the game, Ueki, couldn't record an out. 2 hits later, and Kassai was tasked to save the inning.

Yet, he would be unable to do so. Seki Shoukou plates a run and takes the lead once again. Reliever Yasue shuts the Nichidai offense down, and they pull off the 6-5 upset!

Joiing Seki Shoukou would be Oogaki Shougyou, Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou, and Gujyou.

In the redraw for the semis, the expected blockbuster matchup game not in the finals, but the semis. Yes, Oogaki Shougyou and Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou drew each other. The game started off competitive as Oogaki Shougyou nudged out to a 2-1 lead. But in the 7th, Oogaki Shougyou scored 6 runs putting Kengishou on mercy watch. And sure enough, they were unable to score and Oogaki Shougyou advanced to the finals.

And though Seki Shoukou advanced to meet them, it was all but a certainty that Oogaki Shougyou would go to Koushien.


No one told Seki Shoukou that...

In the 2nd and 3rd innings, Seki Shoukou scores 2 runs apiece to take a shocking 4-0 lead on the favorites! Meanwhile, Naijyou scatters 7 hits across the board as he gives his team their 1st ever Koushien appearance!

Almost 2 full weeks after the first games started in Aichi, the seeded teams finally start their games in their blocks. This is because the format chosen means these teams get not 1, but 2 bye rounds before they even play a game.

All the seeded teams did advance, though some not without some difficulty. Block A, Shigakukan scored 4 in the 9th to beat Douhou 10-7. In Block D, Kikuka needed all 15 innings before scoring the sayonara run to beat Niwa 3-2. And in Block F, Oobu gave up a 1-run lead to Bihoku before winning in 10.

In other block games, Kira scored in each of the last 3 innings to defeat Kariya Kita 3-2. Meijyoudai Fuzoku and Shouwa played to a 2-2 draw. The following day, it would be Meijyoudai who jumped out to an early lead and win 8-5.

There'd be more trouble for the seeded teams in the block semis. Shigakukan got into trouble yet again, but not in the way you'd think. Down 3-0 To Aichi Sangyoudai Kougyou they score 7 in the 7th and the game seems to be under control. Yet the very next half-inning Sangyoukou scores 6 to retake a 2-run lead! Well, with just 2 innings to go, and getting punched in the mouth like that it seemed like this time it would be the end. Yet they score 3 in the bottom of the 9th and advance 10-9!

Oobu too was in trouble. Down 3 to Tojyaku in the bottom of the 9th, they find a way to tie the game up and win 5-4 in 10.

Aichi was not so lucky in Block B. They fall 3-2 to Toyokawa and become the first casualty. Next, and perhaps most surprising of all was 2009 Natsu Koushien winner Chuukyoudai Chuukyou who lost to Jishuukan 3-2!

We also had our 2nd draw as Chiryuu and Aichi Shougyou played to a 5-5 draw. Chiryuu would win the replay 6-2.

Of the 8 seeded teams, the 6 remaining after the upsets did advance.

Perhaps the weakest of the bunch may have be Oobu who though seeded played 3 consecutive enchousen games, including their block final against Chiryuu. That went the full 15 before they scored 2, and yet almost blew it again (Chiryuu scored 1).

The Final 8 was redrawn, and it was very lopsided. The 2 favorites, Aikoudai Meiden and Touhou were on one side of the draw, along with Aichi Keisei who while never has to Koushien, has fared really well in the prefecture. On the other side the only team to have advanced to Koushien was Oobu.

Aikoudai Meiden and Touhou did win their games, though by margins of 5-2 and 3-1. Oobu's run did indeed run out against Toyokawa 6-3, and Shigakukan went 14 innings against Kikuka before winning 2-1.

In the semis, Aikoudai Meiden was able to edge out Touhou 6-5 through a 5-run 5th. Shigakukan would be their opponent as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead after 1 and used the cushion to win 10-7.

The finals were held the very next day amidst not to friendly clouds. The conditions seemed to favor Shigakukan as they overcame a 2-0 deficit in the first to lead 4-2 when the game went into rain delay at the end of 5. When the game resumed, Aikoudai Meiden would immediately pull within 1 against 3rd pitcher Iwata.

But Iwata would be able to shut down Ichiro's alma mater and Shigakukan earns their 1st ever Koushien appearance with a 4-3 win!

As Shizuoka moved on in their tournament, the teams to watch out for would be Tokoha Kikugawa, Shizuoka and Seisei.

In the meantime, the other teams needed to keep advancing to even have a shot, no matter how small. Iwata Kita almost blew that chance twice. First, they lose a 2-run lead to Seikei in the top of the 9th, then Seikei scored a run in the 11th. Iwata Kita was able to score 2 to advance 6-5. Fuji Shiritsu had to go 15 innings against Hamakita Nishi to win 3-1.

Seeded Hamamatsu Nishi was not so fortunate, having to rally against Touyou from down 3-0 early, but lost 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th. Shizuoka Shougyou was next in the round of 16, falling 9-1 in 7 innings to Iwata Higashi!

So on one side of the best 8, all 4 seeded teams advanced. On the other side, only Nirayama remained.

The quarterfinals saw Nirayama and Iwata Higashi advancing on one side with 5-0 victories, Shizuoka defeating the weak link Hiryuu, and Tokoha Kikugawa and Seisei battling the full 9 innings before Tokoha Kikugawa made the sayonara victory 3-2.

In the semis, the last seeded team on the left side of the bracket finally fell as Nirayama lost to Iwata Higashi 6-3. But to win their first ever natsu title, they'd have to go through Shizuoka who dominated Tokoha Kikugawa 12-4.

But Iwata Higashi put up a great fight. Ace Abe kept Shizuoka to 1 run early, and allowed them to tie it up in the 4th with a HR from 1B Moriguchi. Except he'd give the 1-run lead right back to them. An insurance run in the bottom of the 8th spelled doom for the potential first-timers as Harazaki gives Shizuoka their 22nd title and first in 8 years!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

93rd Koshien Qualifying - Kanto Update

By the time I have come back to the Kanto region, we're pretty much approaching the finals in all prefectures. Such is the price of me trying to update every single bracket and trying to blog it while holding a regular 9-5 job. There's got to be a better way of doing it, but I need to book up on excel, access or something to figure out how...

As the rounds progressed from the 3rd (which is what they were starting last I recapped), the lower seeded teams such as #7 Maebashi Ikuei, started falling by the wayside. In their case it was a shutout to Oomama (Please, no jokes here).

Also in the 3rd round, Shiritsu Isesaki, held scoreless for 6 innings and down 8, score 11 runs in the final 3 innings for the gyakuten win over Takasaki Keizaidai Fuzoku.

But the first real shoe to drop came in the quarterfinals. Top seed Maebashi Shougyou broke out to a 6-1 lead over Maebashi Kougyou before Maekou scored 4. Then when Maeshou extended the lead back to 3, Maekou got all those runs in the 9th to send it into extras. And in 12, Maekou would score the eventual winning run for the upset!

And if that weren't enough, in the very next game Takasaki Kenkoufukushi scores a run in the 9th to break a 4-4 tie with Jyutoku (who never led), to send the #2 seed home 5-4!

In a more milder upset, #5 Takasaki Shougyou scores 7 in the 8th to defeat #4 Takasaki 7-4.

The semis were not blowouts, but you seemed to know who was in control early. Takasaki Shougyou and Takasaki Kenkoufukushi advance to the finals, with one looking for their first Natsu Koushien appearance in over 2 decades, and the other looking for their first ever.

The final got off to a roaring start. Each team scored in the first two innings. The difference however is that Takasaki Kenkoufukushi continued scoring. For each of the next 5 innings. Takasaki Shougyou couldn't keep up with the scoring and as a result Takasaki Kenkoufukushi earns their first ever appearance with a 10-6 win!

Tochigi has gone from wrapping up the 2nd round to the semifinals (which is still going).

Finishing up Round 2, we had Ashikaga Minami scores 5 in the 8th to defeat Kurubane 5-3.

Round 3 saw another seeded team fall in Oyama who lost to Ashikaga Koudai Fuzoku 3-2 in 13.

But for the most part, things have gone as "planned" with the seeded teams advancing on. So the semifinals had Sakushin Gakuin defeating Bunsei Keidai Fuzoku 5-3 to reach the finals. But their opponent is not yet determined.

That's because the last remaining unseeded team in Utsunomiya Shougyou and Kokugakuin Tochigi battled to a 4-4 draw! This after Kokugakuin had to stave off elimination twice, down 2 in the 10th and down 1 in the 12th.

In the replay, seeded Kokugakuin Tochigi struggled. Despite giving up just 7 hits, Utsunomiya Shougyou made the most of those hits scoring 5 runs en route to a 5-1 win. So it's heavily favored Sakushin Gakuin versus the underdog Utsunomiya Shougyou, whose last Natsu Koushien appearance was in 1923. That's 88 years ago!

Wrapping up the 2nd round, some of the seeded teams had trouble with their very first game. Tsuchiura Kohoku barely beat Tamataukuri Kougyou 1-0, and Mita Kiryou edging Ina 3-2 in 11.

Sadly for one of those teams, their run wouldn't last much longer. Mita Kiryou loses in the next round 6-4 to Tsukuba Shuuei.

In the round of 16 there were some close calls. #4 Fujioka almost got upset by Ishioka Dai-ichi, but won 2-1 in the bottom of 9th. Tsuchiura Kouhoku gets another scare as they were in a scoreless draw with Hasaki Yanagawa. In the 14th, Hasaki would score 2 putting a ton of pressure on the 7 seed. But I'm not sure how, but they found enough strength to rally for 3 runs and the win!

And finally there was Shimotsuma Dai-ni who had to stave off elimination in the 9th with 3 runs before defeating Tsuchiura Nichidai 8-7 in 12.

Remarkably, the entire bracket with the exception of Mito Kiryou went chalk. All higher seeds won their quarterfinal games and while not blowouts, they weren't in stressful situations either.

And yet for some reason, after going scratch for pretty much the entire tournament, it decides that the semifinals is a good time to turn everything on its head.

First, Fujishiro, despite being outhit 9-6 and committing 2 errors, find a way to upset top seed Jyousou Gakuin 2-0! Then Kasumigaura's ace Itou limits Suijyou to just 4 hits as they beat them 2-1!

So the top 2 seeds are gone, and it's the 4 and 6 seeds battling for the title! Kasumigaura had never been to Natsu Koushien (they did have a spring appearance in 1990), and Fujishiro went back in 2005 (plus 2 spring appearances in the early 2000's).

It was a back and forth battle as Kasumigaura came out to a 2-0 lead after 2, then Fujishiro came back with 2 in the next 2. Kasumigaura with 3 in the 5th retake the lead, but 2 in the 6th make the deficit 1. Fast forward to the bottom of the 9th, and Fujishiro is still down 1. #16 Yamaguchi had taken over for ace Itou on the hill and had gotten himself into some messes, including a bases loaded jam that he got out of with no damage.

3 outs to go and Fujishiro leadoff batter starts it off with a base hit. Needing only one run, they bunt the runner along. After a grounder to 1st, there were one out away. Cleanup batter Nakamura would step in. Yamaguchi gets strike 2 and gets excited. But on a full count, Nakamura walks! The sayonara run now was on base! Mitsu now stood in and once again Yamaguchi gets ahead 0-2, and again he's fired up. But then Mitsu hits one to left! The LF comes in but then pulls up! The ball falls in and Fujishiro ties the game! The LF didn't want to risk a miss on a diving catch and allowing the sayonara run to score! So it was now 5-5!

Satou up now and on any base hit they're sending the runner home...

2-0 pitch and the ball hits Satou. It's originally called a strike, but the umpire has to go over and call it a ball.

So 3-0 now and the risk of a manrui situation...

But Satou takes the pitch the other way into the right center field gap! Neither of the outfielders can get to it and it falls in! Nakamura scores as Yamaguchi falls to the ground. What was on the verge of excitement and joy was completely reversed for Yamaguchi and Kasumigaura... Whether it may have been the extra delay to get the count right, or the excitement that Yamaguchi may have felt being just 1 pitch away, it slipped away. And as much as we should congratulate Fujishiro for not giving up, Kasumigaura and more importantly Yamaguchi should be consoled for their loss.

We were wrapping up the 3rd round in Saitama, and today are the finals.

Rounding up the 3rd round, Honjyou Dai-ichi down 3 scores 4 in the bottom of the 9th for the win over Fukaya Dai-ichi. They continued it in the next round winning in 10 over C seed (5-8) Shiritsu Kawagoe 3-2.

Kawagoe Higashi scores 4 in 9th reverse 2-run deficit to crush Kawagoe Nishi's hopes 4-2.

Just to show how hard it can be to win a prefecture, of the 16 seeds (2 A, 2 B, 4 C, 8 D), 8 advanced to the round of 16. 1 B seed , 2 C seeds and 5 D seeds all fell before then.

And just because you got here, doesn't mean you're there yet. Ageo though reaching the round of 16 was upset by Sayamagaoka 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th! Oomiya Higashi and Washimiya were fall here as well - along with powerhouse Seibou Gakuin who were defeated by Kasukabe Kyouei 4-2.

In the quarterfinals, all teams were in play on the 24th instead of on 2 separate days. Hanasaki Tokuharu, the only A seed remaining left, advanced without issue, much like the other games. Kasukabe Kyouei, thanks Sayamagaoka for defeating Ageo by letting them enjoy their summer with a 4-1 win. Urawa Gakuin, a faux D Seed mercy rules C Seed Oomiya Higashi. And unseeded Honjyou Dai-ichi upsets their 2nd seeded team in B seed Urawa Jitsugyou 4-2!

We had quite the semifinal battle early between Hanasaki Tokuharu and Urawa Gakuin. But tied at 2-2 after 5, Hanasaki pulls away with 4 runs in the next 3 innings for the 6-2 win. Battling them for the title would be Kasukabe Kyouei who had no trouble with Honjyou Dai-ichi 5-2.

The finals were set, and it slated to be a great matchup. And it was. The game was scoreless for the first 3 innings before C seed Kasukabe opened the scoring with a run. But an inning later, Hanasaki Tokuharu would respond with 2 runs to take the lead! It would be up to ace Kitagawa to hold it down for the top seed, and in the end he would, shutting down the Kasukabe offense and given Hanasaki Tokuharu their 2nd Natsu Koshien appearance, and 1st in 10 years!

As Chiba was going into the Round of 16, when in theory all seeded teams could be remaining, we had our biggest upset of this tournament this year when Senshuudai Matsudo, an A seed, was upset by unseeded Tokyo Gakkan Urayasu 3-2!

More C & D seeds fell going into the round of 16, but in some cases it was unseeded vs. unseeded. Such was the case between Chiba Kokusai versus Chiba Shougyoudai Fuzoku. Shougyoudai had a 1-0 lead early, but the pitching couldn't hold Kokusai scoreless forever. As they started scoring from the 7th inning on, it seemed like Shougyoudai was lost. But they scored 4 in the 8th to comeback and win the game 5-4!

In another unseeded match last year's representative Narita went the distance against Tateyama Sougou before losing 3-2 in the bottom of the 15th.

Needless to say though, that the 2nd day of action to determine the round of 16 was much more kinder to the very top seeds. All in all, only 1 A seed (1-4) and 1 B seed (5-8), were lost.

In the round of 16, Tokyo Gakkan Urayasu in another unseeded game, fell behind 5-0 in the 1st 3 innings then came back to score a pair of runs in each of the next 3. Add an insurance run in the 9th and they were in the quarterfinals with a 7-5 win. Other than that everything went as expected though B seed Shigakukan was blitzed by C seed Kashiwa Nittai 6-1.

The quarterfinals began with an scare for A seed Narashino. Up 2 in the 9th against Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku, reliever Kimura squandered the lead allowing Keizaidai to tie the game! Luckily for Narashino though, they were able to regroup one inning later and score the sayonara run.

Toukaidai Urayasu though wasn't as fortunate. Takushokudai Kouryou would score 6 in the middle innings and take a commanding 6-0 lead. The A seed would try to make a comeback late, but there just wasn't enough time. 3 runs in the 9th were not enough as they fell 6-4!

And finally, Tokyo Gakkan Urayasu would upset their 2nd seeded team in Awa by a comfortable margin of 5-1!

The semifinals saw more of the usual with Narashino as Takushokudai Kounan was mercy ruled in 7. But the 2nd semifinal was another shocker in the making. Right out of the gate, Tokyo Gakkan Urayasu would build a 5-0 lead on the A seed Ryuukeidai Kashiwa. Ryuukeidai would score 4 in the 4th to pull within 1. They kept the deficit at 1 after trading a pair of runs later on. And then in the 9th, they'd finally pull level with Tokyo Gakkan Urayasu. It seemed like perhaps the tide was changing.

But in the bottom of the 9th, TGU would open the inning with a ball over the outfielder's head for a leadoff triple! Instead of loading the bases, they elect to pitch to the next batter... who hits a single for the sayonara walk-off! Unseeded Tokyo Gakkan Urayasu upsets their 2nd A seed this tournament and 3rd seeded team overall and found themselves in the finals!

In the finals though, stood a stout and formidable Narashino squad, who mercilessly opened the game with runs in the first 3 innings to get a 4-0 lead. TGU was unable to get any timely hits to narrow the deficit. While the relief staff was able to stop the bleeding, the offense was unable to make any ground.

Eventually the relief corps would break down, first with a run in the 7th, then 5 in the 8th and 4 in the 9th. And while Tokyo Gakkan Urayasu would prevent the shutout in the bottom of the 9th, Narashino would win their 8th summer title and go to Koushien for the first time in 10 years with a 14-2 win!

Nishi Tokyo
When it comes to prefectures, or in case part of a prefecture, where there are a lot of teams, it takes a while for the good teams to emerge. I always wonder if it's worth it to mention those teams that will in all likelihood never make it, but pull off comeback victories and the like because at that time it continues their summer.

For instance, Eimeikan versus Kodaira Minami down 3-1 tie the game in the 8th and go into extras. Threatened with elimination again in the 12th, they score a run to extend the game. Then in the final inning, the bottom of the 15th, they score the winning run to advance.

But as we approached the Best 8 is when the good teams (or perhaps lucky) started to shake out. 2 instances were Kokugakuin Kugayama blowing a 4-run lead in the 9th to Toukaidai Sugao before winning 6-4 in the 11th on a 2-run HR by ace Kawaguchi. The 2nd was Horikoshi who down 1 in the bottom of the 9th tied, then scored the sayonara run with 2 down.

Meanwhile Oberlin, despite 2 HRs from 3B Yamaguchi, were only able to hold the lead of a half-inning before Eimeikan took the lead for good winning 7-5. On a similar note, Shouwa, who may not be long for the tournament after this game (as they're facing Waseda Jitsugyou aka Soujitsu), down 1 in the 9th to Meijidai Meiji, scores 2 for the walkoff win.

And while I could say, "and so it was" since Soujitsu did indeed beat them, but despite getting 10 hits and 6 free passes, they managed just a 2-1 win. Nichidai-san (aka Sanko), had some trouble with Hino... for a while. Up 7-0, Hino started chipping into the lead. 2 in the 4th, 3 in the 5th, and one more in the 7th off Yoshinaga (who came in part-way through the 5th), meant that Sanko's lead was just 1!

Then Sanko decided to floor it. 8 runs later and Hino was threatened with the mercy rule. 3 runs against ace Yoshinaga in 1 inning was too much to ask, and that was that. Waseda Gakuin reached the round of 8 again, with a 9-7 win over Kougakuindai Fuzoku that was less competitive than the score indicated, and Kousei Gakuen who has submariner Mizoguchi.

In an odd turn, and I'm not sure if it was to prevent games possibly running late, or of it was due to not wanting both Waseda schools at the stadium, but Waseda Gakuin's game versus Nichidai Tsurugaoka was moved to Hachiouji Municipal. The game was close early, as Waseda quickly closed a 2-run deficit early. But Tsurugaoka started pulling away late, capped off with 4 in the 9th for an 8-2 win.

The other quarterfinals, were just not competitive at all. In fact, Soujitsu, Sanko and Kousei combined shut out their opponents to the tune of 34-0, and all but Kousei went 5 (Kousei played just 1 inning more).

Higashi Tokyo
Higashi Tokyo, also had similar stories. For instance, Nittai Ebara bids sayonara to Sumida Kougyou right after Sumida scored a run in the 9th to tie the game up. Nichidai Buzan rallied with 2 in the the 8th and 9th innings to wipe out a 3-run deficit incurred after giving up 7 in the 7th to Sundai Gakuen.

In what could be considered a quarterfinal-type matchup, Kanto Dai-ichi survives against Yukigaya in the 3rd round 3-2.

And in perhaps an example of needing those extra vowels, Shutoku wins their game over Tokyo Shidai Todoroki and will play Shuutoku (the more well-known school) who shut-out Shouin.

Going to the round of 16 we had teams like Nisshougakushadai Fuzoku who scored 3 in the top of the 9th to defeat Tokyo Jitsugyou 4-2 interdispersed with quite a few regulars.

I think what's been surprising about the Tokyo tournaments is that the quarterfinals have been so lopsided. All 4 games ended via the mercy rule. That leaves us Teikyou v. Seiritsu Gakuen, and Nishogakushadai Fuzoku v. Kanto Dai-ichi.

Kanagawa had some good stories in the beginning. Yamakita scored 3 in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Seya 7-6. Course, they faced Yokohama next. But they put a good fight against Yokohama. In fact, ace Dotemoto limited Yokohama to just 3 hits. 3! And Yamakita out-hit Yohohama 5-3! But it's the final score that matters, and that was 2-0 Yokohama.

Keiou oddly had trouble with their 3rd round opponent Yurigaoka. The final score was 3-2 and they managed just 7 hits. Nichidai Fujisawa would be next. And in that game, Keiou just didn't look the same. No offense, no pitching, and no win. Nichidai Fujisawa moves on with a 5-2 win.

Chigasaki Nishihama had a sayonara homerun from no other than their ace Furumura to win 6-3! And in the next round they almost did the same thing against Touin Gakuen. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the 9th they once again made their push. But it fell one run short as they lost 3-2.

In a bit of a surprise, Hosei Dai-ni advances to the round of 16 with a 4-0 win over Kamakura Gakuen. I don't think I can recall a time when I really mentioned a Hosei team.

The round of 16 saw my dream of a back-to-back haru-natsu renzoku yuushou disappear. An early HR from Usuda wasn't enough for them as Yokohama scores 3 to end Toukaidai Sagami's bid. Next up would be Tachibana Gakuen (立花学園 - that one) who handled Nichidai 5-0.

Koujyou would have to wait one more day to figure out their opponent. Yokohama Sougakukan and Yokohama Ouyou both scored a run in the 6th, both aces - Sueyoshi and Sawada went the full distance, and the teams combined for just 11 hits in a 1-1 draw. Possible note for the replay, Ouyou batters struck out 19 times.

So onto the next day of games, and I don't think I had talked about Toukou Gakuen in years past, but here they are in the round of 16 beating Nichidai Fujisawa 2-1! Next up would be Hosei Dai-ni and ace Asano who shutout Sagamihara Sougou 1-0.

Touin Gakuen is looking to make a deep run yet again, and perhaps not get disappointed as in years past. They draw Busou next.

And finally, in the replay of the 1-1 tie, Yokohama Ouyou did indeed have problems, though they only struck out twice. Yokohama Sougakukan alone had 14 hits, more than the 1st game in total. And it would be Yokohama Sougakukan who would advance with a 3-0 win.

To the quarterfinals and Tachibana Gakuen gave Yokohama yet another challenge. Behind 3-0 they score 3 in the 7th to tie the game! Yokohama though would eventually win the game with a run in the 8th. But they've had some very close calls throughout the tournament. Yokohama Sougakukan would give it a crack next as Koujyou fell to them 5-1.

On the other side, Hosei Dai-ni's run ended rather flat against Toukou Gakuen 10-3 in 7. Touin Gakuen would be their opponent, though it required 12 innings to do so. One letter kanji difference between the two schools. Just a random observation.

To the semifinals and yet again, Yokohama gets a scare. Scoreless for the first 5 innings, they score 4 in the 6th. Despite that, Yokohama Sougakukan would start a comeback. Down 0-4, to 1-4, 1-5, 2-5, then 2 in the bottom of the 8th to make it just a 1 run ball game! Ace Souma retakes the hill in the 9th for the win, and they're in the finals - though perhaps not necessarily in the manner perhaps we were expecting.

And the other semifinal was a tug of war between Toukou and Touin, with neither side really able to break free from the other. That was until Kubota hit a 2-run HR in the 6th to give Toukou a 5-3 lead. But that wouldn't last either as Touin brought the deficit to 1 again. Though they had their chaces, Touin couldn't get that equalizer and as such Toukou advances to meet Yokohama!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

93rd Koushien Qualifying - Chuugoku/Shikoku Update

Yazu seemed to have the game in control after scoring 4 in the 3rd. But they had other opportunities to extend the lead and was not able to. That would hurt them in the end as Sakai would score a pair of runs in the 7th and 8th for a gyakuten 5-4 victory!

Sakai's opponent in the championship would be Tottori Shougyou as ace Hashimoto throws a 4-hit shutout over Tottori Ikuei.

In the finals, Sakai would have to play catchup, not once, but twice. Right after Tottori Shougyou scored their 2nd run in the 5th, Sakai scored a pair of their own. Same thing happened right after Tottori Shougyou scored a run in the bottom of the 6th. While it gave them the tie once again, they were unable to take the outright lead.

And Tottori Shougyou would ensure Sakai would have no time to rally. They score the sayonara run for the win and only their 2nd title - the first being 7 years ago.

Kanzei and Okayama Rikaidai Fuzoku was easily the most competitive game of the 4 quarterfinal games. Both teams struggled to get hits, though Rikaidai did get the opening run in the 1st on a HR by Fujioka. Kanzei tried fighting back throughout the game, and finally broke through in the 8th scoring the douten run. In the 9th, they would get to reliever Fujioka and score the gyakuten run. Rikaidai was not able to mount a 9th inning rally and fell 2-1.

Outside of that game, Okayama Gakugeikan, Sakuyou and Konkou Gakuen all advanced with little difficulty.

And the semifinals were actually much of the same. Okayama Gakugeikan got mercy ruled in 5 by Okayama 12-2, and while Sakuyou managed to get a 2-0 lead early, a 10-1 run by Konkou Gakuen in the 3rd-6th innings made the game out of reach.

So it'll be Kanzei and Konkou Gakuen for the final.

It seemed to be getting easier for top seed Iwamichisuikan. In the quarterfinals they won 11-0 over Iinan in 5 innings. Their opponent would be #4 Taisha, though it didn't seem that way at first. Masuda Higashi scored 7 unanswered to take a 8-1 lead going into the 5th. Then suddenly Taisha went on their own run the next two innings, scoring 10 unanswered!! Masuda wouldn't give it up that easily as they scored 3 to tie the game at 11! Taisha would finally put Masuda Higashi away with 2 in the 9th for the 13-11 win!

On the other half of the bracket, 2 seed Kaisei under the managing of Nonomura-kantoku again helped rally the troops against Yasugi. 3 runs in the 5th would tie the game, and a pair of runs in the 7th and 8th gave them the win. 3 seed Matsue Shougyou would make it a scratch bracket as they used a 4-run 5th to defeat Izumo 7-5.

The semis have been postponed to today due to rain.

Our 3rd seeded team in Hiroshima was to fall in the 4th round. Hiroshima Kokusaidai Gakuin after building a 4-1 lead on Shiritsu Kure, saw that lead turn into a one-run deficit before tying it at 6 in the 8th. But it would be Kure who would have the final laugh, scoring the sayonara run in the 11th.

Kinkidai Fukuyama who had beaten Kouryou, got mercy ruled by Hiroshima Kougyou 11-0 after they scored 10(!) in the 5th.

Hiroshima Sougyou Gijyutsu for the 2nd game in the tournament showed offense, scoring 10 runs in a 10-5 win over Miyajima Kougyou. They did give up the runs late which could be worrysome against harder competition.

Miyoshi, who had upset Hiroshima Shougyou was soundly defeated by Hiroshima Shinjyou 13-5.

Soutoku went from mercy rule to enchousen back to mercy rule as took take care of Aki Minami 10-0 in 6.

Onomichi Shougyou would be the next to fall by the wayside. They trailed 2-1 to Hatsukaichi Nishi in the bottom of the 9th when they were able to force extras. Yet they still had trouble getting to ace Nakai. And in the 13th it would be Hatsukaichi who would get to ace Maeda, scoring a run in the 13th. With no response from Onomichi they would fall 3-2.

And finally Jyousuikan advances with a 4-2 win over Onomichi Higashi.

So moving onto the quarterfinals at Shimanami Stadium, Soutoku stayed with Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu responding to each score that they put on the board. But when Sougou Gijyutsu scored a run in the 6th to take the lead, not only did they tie it in the 7th, they scored again in the 8th to take their first lead! Down 1 with just 3 outs to go, Sougou Gijyutsu was unable to plate the tying run.

In the matinee game, Jyousuikan and Hiroshima Kougyou battled it out in the middle innings, with Jyousuikan maintaining the one-run lead they held in the first. An insurance run in the 7th to make it 6-4 is enough for a ticket to the semis.

Over at Kure Nikou, Sanyou completely had their way with Hatsukaichi Nishi, getting their 4th mercy win in as many games, 15-0!

The field would be rounded out by Hiroshima Shinjyou who only trailed 0-1 in the 1st inning. 7 innings later, they had a 15-8 mercy win.

The round of 16 was predominantly dominated by low-scoring affairs.

Yanai Gakuen woke up to find themselves in a pitchers' battle with Suou-Ooshima. Making things worse was that Suou-Ooshima tied the game at 1 in the 8th. In the end though they would pull it out, but not until the bottom of the 9th. Fellow B seed Onoda had the same issue with Ube Kougyou, except for the fact they were actually down 1! They won the game by scoring a run in the final 2 innings.

We would have an upset though, Shimonoseki Kougyou ace Matsumoto would limit A seed Shimonoseki Shougyou to just 1 run on 8 hits in a 4-1 win.

And despite getting just 2 hits, Shimonoseki Kokusai makes those count as LF Fujita hits a home run in the 7th to give them a 1-0 win over Hayatomo!

The quarterfinals would see every single favorite lose save for one.
  • Yanai Gakuen would limit Ube Koujyou to just one run in a 2-1 win.
  • Nanyou Kougyou and Shimonoseki Kokusai are in a close game until Nanyou gives up 4 in the 8th for the upset!
  • Iwakuni never takes the lead over Onoda and falls 5-2!
  • The only favored team to win is Sakuragaoka, who defeats Shimonoseki Kougyou 12-1 in 8.
That meant that no A seed would be in the semifinals, only 3 B seeds. Yanai Gakuen would dispatch the only unseeded team, defeating Shimonoseki Kokusai 7-0. In the other semi, Onoha would have to play catchup the entire game, and while they tied the game in the 2nd at 2, that's the furthest they get. Down 7-2 in the 7th they'd rally for 4 but could never tie the game again.

After blowing a 6-1 lead to Miki in the 3rd round, Sakaide Shougyou scores more runs in the 13th inning then they did the entire game. They win 15-6.

Shoudoshima, down 1 in the 9th ties the game then wins it in 12 against Takamatsu.

Onto the quarterfinals and Eimei, though unseeded, advances with at 5-1 win over Takamatsu Shougyou. Sakaide Shougyou comes from behind against Shoudoshima to win 7-6 in the bottom of the 9th. Marugame uses a 5-run 5th and uses it to hold onto a 6-5 win over Sangawa. And finally, Kanonji Dai-ichi just takes Marugame Jyousei to task, mercy ruling them 8-0 in 7!

After rain washes out a couple of days, play get back on track on the 21st. Tomioka Nishi allows Anan Nishi to tie the game in the 9th, but it only extends it for one more inning.

In the quarterfinals, Jyounan gets shocked by Seikou Gakuen (no, not Seikou Gakuin) who despite getting just 4 hits, scores the one and only run in the ballgame!

Naruto Kougyou's bid gets derailed by Komatsushima as they score a run in the bottom of the 8th and 9th for the win.

And the remaining seeded teams, Naruto and Tokushima Shougyou advance with ease.

Let's see, what to note...

Matsuyama Kougyou gets its 2nd close game in as many played. Up 6-1 after 1 they allow Niihama Minami to tie the game, the after taking the lead, they give it up. Down 10-8, they score 3 to take the lead this time for good.

Teikyou Dai-go scores just 1, which is enough to beat Yawatahama, though it's not a great start.

Tanbara not only upsets #2 Kawanoe, they mercy rule them in 8 innings 9-2!

Either Nitta likes the score 7-5, or they like the game close. Up 6-0, they allow Saijyou (albeit a good team) to score 5 in the last two innings. An insurance run in the 9th gives them their 2nd 7-5 win.

Saibi ends Teikyou Dai-go's season early yet again with a 6-2 win. And Uwajima Higashi will be their next opponent as they defeat Matsuyama Kougyou 2-1.

Well, things were pretty much going as planned, with games not really being a tug of war so to speak. Meitoku Gijyuku advances to the semis, though they did have a bit of a scare against Kochi Chuo. They didn't win that game until the bottom of the 8th.

Okou and Tosa played to a scoreless draw in regulation, and it wouldn't be until the 11th when Kakehi would drive in the sayonara run for Tosa and send their team to the semis.

Joining them would be Kochi and Kochi Shougyou. That should setup to be an amazing game.

But as is the case during this time of year, rain gets in the way again.

93rd Koushien Qualifying - Kyushu Update

Fukuoka had wrapped up regional play and was about to start the prefectural brackets.

Round 1 of the prefecturals didn't see anything too out of the ordinary. Oomuta mercy ruled Asakura 12-5 in 7. Kokura held on 2-1 over Hokuchiku... and oh yeah, in the game between Iidzuka and Higashi-Fukuoka, the game was tied at 2 going into extras - which isn't surprising - but Iidzuka scored 9 in the 11th. That is.

Obviously, there are certain teams to key on for the prefecturals, Iidzuka and Higashi-Fukuoka were 2, Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku is another, Jiyuugaoka, the other university schools - Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku and Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou, and to a lesser extent Touchiku.

Kyukoku having to play on back to back days, almost had a hiccup in the quarterfinals against Fukuoka Kougyou. The game was tied 4-4 before they scored 5 in the 9th to put it away.

Jiyuugaoka in their first game against Touchiku fell flat losing 4-3! Touchiku followed up that win scoring 5 in the 2nd inning against Iidzuka and putting them on their heels early. While Iidzuka was able to tie the game 2 innings later it may have taken something out of them as they were unable to respond when Touchiku scored 2 in the 7th!

Meanwhile Oomuta continued to surprise everyone giving Tankidai a punch in the gut scoring 5 to take the lead in the 3rd after Tankidai has scored a pair of runs in the first 2 innings. Tankidai was able to tie the game, but wound up losing 8-7! Combine that with a 3-2 win over Touyou and they're into the semis against Kyukoku.

Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou advanced to the quarters with little issue, probably could consider them having the easiest time getting to the semis.

We left Saga in the middle of the quarterfinals and with Karatsu Shoguyou and Saga Nishi playing to a 2-2 draw. They'd have to play the next day along with the other 2 quarterfinals. In that replay (which was the last game of the day), it was all Karatsu Shougyou winning 7-3.

They'd wind up playing Saga Gakuen, who needed 2 in the bottom of the 9th to bid Kashima Jitsugyou sayonara 3-2. Saga Kita, who has won their game the prior day would play Saga Kougyou who nursed a 1-run advantage over Kyuuragi to the semis.

The semis were rather anti-climactic. Karatsu Shougyou, despite the extra game controlled the game against Saga Gakuen winning 11-5. And as nice as Saga Kita was a few years ago, Saga Kougyou showed no mercy, winning 11-2.

And in the finals, it was the Kitagata Yuujyou show. He throws a 2 hitter in the finals striking out 12 in a 2-0 win giving them their 4th title and 1st in 27 years!

The semifinals here was just as anti-climactic as in Saga. Both Kaisei and Seihou mercy ruled their games, so it was onto the finals.

The finals were nuts. Kaisei got a 3-0 lead after 2 only to see Seihou tie it in the bottom of the 2nd. Kaisei rebuilt the lead to 4 by the 9th, but Seihou somehow scored 4 in the bottom of the 9th to send it into extras! The game would be scoreless for 2 innings until Kaisei scored a run in the 12th. Seihou had no response this time and Kaisei earns their 16th appearance and first in 9 years!

Kumamoto was going into their quarterfinals. Kumamoto Kougyou was the first to advance with a 1-0 win over Kumamoto Gakuendai Fuzoku despite being outhit 6-4. They'd play Kyushu Gakuin who had a less than convincing win over Buntoku 7-4.

The 22nd had the 2nd set of games. Both seeded teams, Shuugakukan and Senshuudai Tamana both advanced.

Which brings us to the semis. Kumamoto Kougyou and Kyushu Gakuin could easily be seen as a good matchup and indeed it was. Both teams managed just 5 hits the entire game. However, Kumamoto Kougyou managed to score 3 runs on those 5 hits and they proceed to the finals with a 3-0 win! The other semi looked to be all Shuugakukan's. They had built a 4-0 lead and seemed in control. But in the 8th Senshuudai Tamana scores 5 for a successful reversal!

And so it's Kumamoto Kougyou versus Senshuudai Tamana for the title!

Interestingly enough, all seeded teams advanced into the Best 8... though Touin needed the 4 runs in the 6th through 8th innings to win 5-3 over Nakatsu Higashi, and Hita Rinkou needed 3 in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Beppu Shougyou.

Onto the quarterfinals, and A seed Meihou out-dueled Oita Houfu 1-0, who really took the loss hard. Oita Shougyou was barely able to beat Oita 2-1. Nihon Bunridai Fuzoku scores a sayonara run to defeat Tsurusaki Kougyou 2-1. And in the only upset, Hita Rinkou holds off a late charge by Touin to win 4-3.

The final round of 16 games went to the seeded teams Houshou and Miyazaki Shougyou with little resistance.

Onto the quarterfinals with all but one seeded team playing. Nobeoka Gakuen behind 4-3 was able to push through 4 runs late to defeat Miyazaki Kita 7-5. Nichinan Gakuen got involved in a pitchers duel with unseeded Miyakonojyou Higashi. The one run they scored in the 2nd proved to the only one as they advanced.

The next day, Miyazaki Shougyou held a comfortable lead before watching Miyakonojyou Shougyou started rallying in the 9th. Though they scored 3 runs, Miyashou still won 10-7. And in the final quarterfinal, Miyazaki Nichidai and Houshou each got 7 hits, but it was Houshou who scored the only and sayonara run.

The semifinals have been played yesterday, which is where we stand presently. Miyazaki Shougyou could not recover from a 7-0 deficit after just 2 innings. Nobeoka Gakuen would advance with a 10-6 win. And in the 2nd semifinal. Nichinan Gakuen and Houshou who were both in 1-0 games were evenly matched with the game tied at 3 heading into extras. Not until the 12th did the stalemate get broken when Nichinan scored 3. Houshou was unable to make a reply and Nichinan Gakuen will meet Nobeoka Gakuen in the finals.

Probably one of the biggest shocks of the tournament, unseeded Satsuma Chuo scored a pair of runs in the 6th & 7th innings and defeated Kagoshima Jitsugyou 4-2!!

With that upset, it seemed that the road was wide open for Kamimura Gakuen to reach Koushien. And yet they almost blew it. Kanoya Chuo scored 3 runs early and held a 2 run advantage for a couple of innings. Kamimura then scored a run in the 4th to make it just a 1-run deficit and 2 more in the 5th to finally take the lead. Ace Kubo, who actually came in relief, made the lead stick.

And finally given the opportunity to go to Koushien, they take it. Satsuma Chuo can only manage 3 hits off of Kubo as Kamimura Gakuen goes to just their 2nd Natsu Koushien - the other appearance being 4 years ago.

Monday, July 25, 2011

93rd Koushien Qualifying - Hokkaido/Tohoku Update

Ok, we're at the point now where I can throw out the dates and just cover the games.

Minami Hokkaido
As much as Komadai Tomakomai dominated the early-mid 2000's as of late they've struggled to get back there since 2007 - the year after Tanaka Masahiro left.

Yet here they are in 2011, just one game away from returning to Koushien.

Just one problem.

Hokkai and their 34 appearances stood in their way.

So off we went in the championship game. While Komadai Tomakomai scored the opening run in the bottom of the 1st, Hokkai would score one in the next half inning. Then proceed to score 2 in the 5th and one in the 9th for a 4-2 lead. But Komadai would find a way against ace Tamakuma to score 2 and extend the game!

Except that in the next half inning Hokkai would put the pressure once again on Komadai. They'd score a run in the 10th.

Tamakuma would not let Komadai Tomakomai extend the game. He shut them down to give Hokkai their 35th appearance and 1st in 3 years.

In the final 2 quarterfinals, Kidzukuri pulls off their 2nd upset in as many games by defeating Top 4 seed Towada Kougyou 8-4!

And in a surprising twist, the game between Kousei Gakuin and Aomori Yamada is not a low scoring affair, but a high scoring one! After Aomori Yamada scores 2 in the bottom of the 1st, Kousei scores 9(!) in the 2nd and 6 more in the 4th! That's a 15-2 lead after 4!

Aomori Yamada isn't a team to give up, and facing the mercy rule go into action. 3 runs in the 4th cut the deficit to 10, which still isn't enough. So they score 5 more in the 5th to make it 15-10 and thus avoid both mercy rules (10 after 5 or 6 innings, 7 from the 7th to 9th).

But just as surprising, no further scoring is done! The final score is 15-10 in favor of Kousei Gakuin!

Onto the semifinals. Kousei Gakuin Noheji Nishi and Seiai battled in the first one. It seemed like Noheji Nishi had the game in control after 2 runs in the 7th gave them a 8-2 lead. But ace Kobayashi Taisei couldn't hold the lead. 3 runs in the 7th and 3 in the bottom of the 9th meant that they'd have to played extras. The game would remain at 8 until the 14th inning where Noheji Nishi would score 3 for the 11-8 win.

The question then would be, would they face their parent school Kousei Gakuin?

The short answer is, yes.

Kidzukuri's run was impressive, but when facing prefectural stalwart Kousei Gakuin, it ran into a wall.


Kousei Gakuin wins 10-0 in 6 innings setting up a sibling rivalry of sorts for the title.

The championship game was all that was left between Morioka Dai-san and Hanamaki Higashi. And while Morioka Dai-san kept up early with Hanamaki Higashi, they would give up 3 runs in the 5th and 2 in the 6th. 5 runs would be all that ace Ohara(?) would need as he shuts out Morioka's offense. Hanamaki Higashi earns their 6th appearance and 1st in 2 years.

Yamagata had their 2nd set of quarterfinals. 4 seed Yamagata Chuo was barely able to get by Shinjyou Kita 2-1. And my Haguro squad mercy ruled Toukaidai Yamagata 8-0 in 7!

Oh my....

I wasn't expecting this.

In the semifinals of Miyagi, top seed Tohoku... lost! 4 seed Furukawa Kougyou and their tandem of Uemura and Katagai limit Tohoku to just 1 run! And combined with 3 runs scored against Tohoku ace Yamada, and Furukawa Kougyou advances to the finals, not Tohoku!

Their opponent, not surprisingly will be Rifu after all. 6 runs in the 1st means they were able to cruise to a 7-2 win.

Both teams will be playing for their first Natsu Koushien appearance.

Fukushima had their quarterfinal action. On one end, Seikou Gakuin easily handles Shirakawa 7-1. They'll play Iwaki Kouyou who defeated Higashi Nippon Kokusaidai Shouhei 3-2.

The other semifinal will have Sukagawa, who upset #2 seed Shouin Gakuin Fukushima 4-3, versus Odaka Kougyou who too pulled off an upset against #3 seed Nichidai Tohoku 6-3!

That means that only Seikou Gakuin, the top seed, is the only seeded team left in the tournament!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

93rd Koushien Qualifying - July 13th-23rd (Kinki Region)

A lot to go over here, but it will have to be summarized more than usual.

Games began at Yokkaichi on the 15th with Tsu Nishi mercy ruling Subaru Gakuen 8-1 in 8. Since then we have reached the round of 16.

After the opening game all teams started play. Hisai Nourin scores 3 runs late to beat Matsusaka Shougyou 4-3. Akatsuki Gakuen scores 6 in the 5th, but needs every run as Yokkaichi Yogou scores 5 in the last 4 innings to barely get beaten 7-6. Tsu Shougyou fights back to tie the game at 5, after being down 3, in the 8th then goes on to beat Hisai in the bottom of the 12th. Yokkaichi scores the sayonara run over Yokkaichi Chuo Kougyou 2-1.

Rain started to impede play on the 18th. Games at Ise and Tsu were cancelled. After Ouka's 7-3 win over Toba, Yokkaichi Minami and Kinan can only get through 4½ before the game is called. Yokkaichi was the only place to play a full slate. And that wound up being fortunate for Kawagoe, not so much for Nabari Kiyougaoka. Nabari held a 7-1 lead through 7 innings. Kawagoe scores 4 in the 8th and 3 in the 9th for the 8-7 sayonara victory. The rained out games would be played on the 21st. Owase scores 3 in the 9th for a 6-4 win over Asake.

Onto the 2nd round, Tsu outlasts Nissei Gakuen Dai-ichi 2-1 in 12. And Tsu Higashi plates the only run in the top of the 9th to beat Kogakkan. Kaisei and Ouka tango for 13 innings, with Kaisei prevailing 3-2. Kawagoe continues its narrow escapes, scoring their runs late to win 2-1 over Minami-Ise.

When we last left Kyoto, they were in the middle of round 2.

Kyoto Kyouei scores late to beat Tanabe 4-3. Kumiyama down 5-1 in the bottom of the 9th scores 5 for the win! Yes, it's heartbreaking for Nantan, but at the same time it's what kokoyakyu is all about.

3rd round and Kyoto Gaidai Nishi defeats Kyoto Gakuen 7-2. Suzaku outlasts Rakutou 5-4 in 12. Yamashiro scores 3 in the 10th to defeat Ayabe. Ryuukokudai Heian scores 1 run in the 1st against Kyoto Kyouei, and surprisingly that's the only run scored!

Round of 16 play and my team - Kyoto Gaidai Nishi gets blitzed by a 5-run 5th from Kyoto Ryouyou 10-5... My more irrational team in Kyoto, Kyoto Subaru, scores in each of the last 5 innings, but can't make up for its pitching. They fall 11-8 to Toba.

In one of the most bizarre games, Ritsumeikan Uji had just scored 3 in the top of the 7th to lead 6-1 when Kumiyama out of nowhere scores 8! Not only that, but Uji comes back with 3 the very next inning to tie the game! The game would only go one more inning as Uji would win 12-9.

The next game that day would also go into extras where Yamashiro scored 3 in the 8th to tie it up. And even though they scored 2 in the 10th, they almost blew that lead.

What those first 2 extra inning games meant though was that Ryuukokudai Heian's game against Higashiyama, which they were winning 7-2 after 5½ was called a no-game expending extra effort. Fortunately for them they had 2 days off due to the rain. When play resumed Ryuukokudai Heian won 8-1 in 7.

The last games finished up with Fukuchiyama Seibi shutting out Doushisha Kokusai, and Nishi-Jyouou mercy ruling Rakuhoku.

Onto quarterfinal action, and Kyoto Ryouyou continues their surprising run with a 5-2 win over Toba. But they'd face their toughest test against Ritsumeikan Uji who handled Fukuchiyama 8-1 in 7. Meanwhile, Ryuukokudai Heian was in trouble versus Yamashiro, but scored 6 in the 8th for a gyakuten win! There'll be a blockbuster game next as they face Fukuchiyama Seibi who themselves had to hold off Nishi-Jyouyou 4-3.

Until I see someone challenge Chiben Gakuen, it's almost pointless covering this prefecture.

But to note some close games:
  • Round 2 - Sakurai scores 4 in the 9th to beat Heijyou 7-5.
  • The coverage in Nara could be made even more pointless as the only other team to break the Tenri-Chiben Gakuen barrier, Kooriyama, loses in their first game to Unebi 3-1.
  • Gose Jitsugyou gets the lead against Yamato Kouryou with 3 in the 8th for a 1 run lead, loses it with 2 in the top of the 9th, then wins it 7-6 with 2 in the bottom of the 9th!
  • Ichijyou wins 6-5 in 10 over Kashihara Gakuin.
  • Round 3 - Nara Jyouhou Shougyou pulls off the sayonara win after allowing Takatori Kokusai to score 2 in the 9th to tie it up.
  • Nara scores 4 in the 8th and achieves the gyakuten win over Ichijyou!

While there are some competitors now to Chiben Wakayama, which include Minoshima and Kouyou, it's still Chiben Wakayama's prefecture.

We advance to coverage of the 3rd round which sees one contender in Minoshima faltering late, giving up the tying and sayonara runs to Shiritsu Wakayama 2-1, and Touin taken to 14 by Hatsushiba Hashimoto but winning 4-2.

Looking at block play we had the following notable games:
  • Kantodai Dai-ichi ties the game in the bottom of the 9th against Sakuranomiya, but loses 9-7 in 11.
  • Osaka Shougyoudai scores 2 in the bottom of the 9th for the gyakuten sayonara win over Momoyama Gakuin.
  • Nougei and Izumi-Ootsu start scoring runs like there's no tomorrow. Nougei leads 5-0, then Izumi-Ootsu leads 6-5, then Nougei leads 8-6. Izumi-Ootsu would try to come back, but Nougei just had one more run, winning 11-10.
  • Tondabayashi, just 6 outs away from elimination, rallies to tie the game then wins 5-4 in 10 against Yuuhigaoka.
  • Takatsuki Kita scores 3 in the bottom of the 9th to force enchousen, but ultimately falls 6-4 in 12 to Minoo Gakuen.
  • Fukui tries repeatedly to put away Settsu even in the 12th inning, but Settsu rallies time and again, eventually winning 5-4 in 13.
  • Kishiwada Sangyou scores 3 in the bottom of the 8th for a 8-7 win over Ootsuka.
Block play was going on in Hyogo. Notable games include:
  • Block 11 Seed Touban Kougyou looks to be in dire straits against Himeji, but they score 5 in the 8th for a 7-6 gyakuten win.
  • Kobe Kita rallies late to send it to extras, then wins in 14 over Koudera.
  • Akashi Tousen barely beats out the transition team of Amagasaki Higashi/Amagasaki Sousei 1-0.
  • Kenritsu Itami and Amagasaki Kita finally get their game in, and sure enough it goes into extras. Amagasaki Kita forces enchousen, but loses in 10.
  • Right before the aforementioned game,Block 4 seed Mukonosou Sougyou looked to have the game in hand scoring 2 in the 9th to go up 3. But Ikawadani rallies for 3 to tie it, then also won in 10.
  • Block 12 seed Sanda Shousei with 3 runs in the 7th and 8th innings tie the game at 7 with Himeji Kougyou. They would win in 12.
  • In another 8-7 game, Aboshi scores 6 unanswered after Nishinomiya Kabutoyama scored 6 in the 3rd. And in 12, Aboshi would finish the job.
  • Block 14 seed Touyoudai Himeji is yet another seeded team that has trouble in their first game. Against Takaradzuka Kita, they were 1-1 going to extras. Not until they scored 5 in the 11th did they finally win the game.
  • Kawanishi Midoridai pushes Akashi into enchousen where they win 9-6 in 12.
  • In Block 16, seeded Awaji Mihara loses a 3-run lead to Seiryou, giving up 2 in the bottom of the 9th in the process. Seiryou completes the comeback with a run in the 10th.
  • Block 7 seed Kobe Murano Kougyou becomes the next seeded team to fall, as Himeji Nishi upsets them 2-0.
  • Block 2 seed Kansei Gakuin behind late to Amagasaki Sangyou 7-5 scores 6 in the 8th to win 11-7.
  • Mikage scores the sayonara run to beat Higashi-Nada 4-3.
  • Kounan and Iwa play the first 9 innings without either scoring a run. It isn't until the 11th before Kounan scores the only run.
  • Himeji Higashi tries to rally against Kenritsudai Fuzoku, but falls one run short 8-7.
  • And anime-related, Nishinomiya Kita wins a game! They beat Hokuetsu Sanda 8-0 in 7 innings!
Block Semifinals
  • Block semis started on the 17th. Takigawa Dai-ni, seeded team from Block 5, becomes the next to fall, losing 3-2 to Wadayama. Shinkou Gakuen, Block 6 seed, has similar troubled though they defeat Kakogawa Nishi 4-3.
  • Sumoto scores 5 runs in the last 3 innings to defeat Kita-Suma 6-4.
  • Part of the games on the 18th were rained out, but it wasn't a total loss of games. Sanda Shousei got another score from Aioi Sangyou, but won 4-3. Hyogo Shougyou outlasts Akashi Kita 2-1 in 11. Seiryou continues their run with a 4-3 win over Nagata.
  • Ikawadani's run end in the 3rd round as Suma Higashi scores the winning run in the 11th.
  • Oh my gosh! Nishinomiya Kita wins a 2nd game! They hold on to beat Kenritsu Itami 4-3 after Itami scores 3 in the 9th!
  • Shiritsu Shinkou scores the only run in their game against Sayou. Suma Gakuen wins 1-0 over Kobe Tousen as well.
  • Kansei Gakuin's run ends in their 2nd game. They rally, but fall to Himeji Shikisai 4-3.
  • Mikage goes 13 against Takaradzuka Higashi winning 2-0.
Block Finals
  • Despite there being just 1 day turnaround, Suma Gakuen rises to the occasion to defeat Wadayama 4-3 to win block 5!
  • Houtoku Gakuen finishes out strong with a 8-1 win in 8 over Sumoto in Block 1.
  • Touban Kougyou survives to win Block 11 with a 1-0 win over Himeji Minami.
  • Kakogawa Higashi after defeating seeded Izushi moves on from Block 15 with a 4-3 sayonara win over Akashi Nishi. This inlcuded having to score a run in the 10th to keep the game alive!
  • Touyoudai Himeji shuts out Hyogo Shougyou 4-0 to advance out of Block 14.
  • Akou upsets Sanda Shousei 2-1 to win Block 12!
  • Suma Higashi defeats Shiritsu Shinkou 3-2 to win Block 4.
  • Shinkou Gakuen mercy rules Kobe Kouryou Gakuen to win Block 6.
  • Himeji Shikisai rallies in the last 2 innings, but falls short against Nigawa Gakuin 4-3 in the Block 3 final. Kawanishi Midoridai survives in Block 2 over Kotogaoka by the same score.
  • Oh well, it was good while it lasted. Yashiro advances out of Block 9 with a 7-0 win over Nishinomiya Kita. At least they weren't mercy ruled.
  • Block 10, Kakogawa Kita has no problem with Kobe Takatsuka.
  • Block 13, Ichikawa was the seeded team, Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku was the favorite. They win 8-2.
  • Migake suffers whiplash in the Block 7 final. Ono mercy rules them 10-0 in 5.
  • Akashi Shougyou calmly advances out of Block 8, defeating Shikama 4-1
  • And rounding out things, in Block 16 Seiryou edges out Suma Shoufuu 2-1.