Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 4 - Game 3 - Miyazaki Nishi (Miyazaki) vs. Aikoudai Meiden (Aichi)

Wrapping up Day 4 has a surprise invitee facing what was the 2nd best team in the fall.  Yes, yet another underdog battle.

Miyazaki Nishi probably wasn't imagining being invited to Koushien after losing in the quarterfinals 2-0 to Kyushu Gakuin.  I mean, they invite 4 teams and generally it's those that make the semifinals.

Yet when the announcements came out, the committee maybe to (a) get another 21st century team invited since they were the Kyushu nominee and (b) make it appear that it's not automatic to get an invitation, punished Souseikan for their 9-0 loss in the semifinal by giving Miyazaki Nishi a bid.

It's rather remarkable that they even made it as far as they did.  Their offense is on par with Takasaki's offense.  They have a team batting average of 0.246, and just 8 extra base hits of the 56 hits overall.  They don't walk and they rarely steal bases.

Their ace Todaka isn't terrible at allowing baserunners, but probably posts the lowest strikeout rate of all the ace number pitchers in the tournament (2.36 K/9!!).  That means a lot of balls in play and a lot of pressure on the defense.  Even then in 7 games they committed just 7 errors.

But something tells me that their defense will be pushed to the limit, because they've drawn Aikoudai Meiden.

If there was any team that probably had been tested this past fall, it was Ichiro's alma mater.  They played 20 tournament games this past fall.  20!  And went 19-1 with their only loss being the Meiji Jingu final to Kousei Gakuin!

Now, 13 of them were played in prefecture, so there's a good chance a lot of the numbers are skewed a bit.  But on the surface, the numbers look absolutely sick.  The offense (in 20 games) has a slash line of 0.362/0.458/0.603!  Ace Hamada recorded slightly more than a K/inning, while allowing less than a baserunner/inning!  And as for the defense, they only committed 6 errors in those 20 games (sorry, there's no way I can do sabermetrics to evaluate defense, so this is all you get for analysis).

Now certainly, the offense isn't as good as that, and the pitching isn't as dominant as shown either.  But it has to be good to a big extent, and regression from such a high level would still suggest a title-contending team.

Which is not good news for Miyazaki Nishi...

Miyazaki Nishi (Miyazaki)
CF  Okamoto Taito
SS  Hiwatashi Satoru
LF  Gotou Kouhri (#9)
C  Harada Taiki
P  Todaka Tatsurou
1B  Tomita Hiroki
3B  Takahashi Yuuta
RF  Takahashi Ryou (#7)
2B  Watanabe Ryuutarou

Aikoudai Meiden (Aichi)
2B  Kimura Toshiki
CF  Matsubara Fumiya
LF  Araki Yuuto
SS  Satou Daisuke
RF  Matsuoka Daisuke
1B  Torii Tatsunori
3B  Nakano Yoshiki
P  Hamada Tatsurou
C  Nakamura Yuutarou


13:24 - First pitch!

Top 1st
Aw!  Miyazaki Nishi has "宮西" in white on a red background in their oen-dan!

Okamoto fouls off several pitches before being frozen on the outside corner for the 1st out.  And after a groundout, Hamada strikes out Gotou on a slider away

Bottom 1st
Kimura with a swinging bunt.  Harada with the strong throw and that beats a diving Kimura.


And Todaka retires the next two batters on groundouts and it's a scoreless first frame.

Top 2nd
After two quick outs, Tomita singles to right.  And while Yuuta lines a ball, Nakano makes a leaping catch for the 3rd out.

Bottom 2nd
Well, that can't be right, can it?  Todaka's fastball is in the high 110s??  And he has a slider in the 100's and a slow curve in the high 70s-low 80s???!!!

This might be a problem for Meiden in that they've probably never seen anything that slow as a fastball, and thus their timing might be off?

After a flyout by Satou, Matsuoka grounds out to 2nd, except that Tomita loses the ball?!  So man on via the error.

Hit-and-run!  Kurano-kantoku starts the hit and run and Torii singles to left!  Matsuoka heads for 3rd and the throw isn't in time!

Nakano with the safety bunt, but fouls it off!  Count goes to 2-2.

Nakano swings away and hits one to left.  Gotou coming in making the catch, and they're sending the runner home anyways!  Gotou's throw isn't in time and Nakano gets the sac fly.  Meiden takes a 1-0 lead!

Hamada gently placing a hit into right and runners are at the corners again for last battter Nakamura!

Nakamura tries a safety bunt, Todaka throws to first... and just gets him!  Three outs and Todaka gives up just the one run.

Top 3rd
Hamada's fastball isn't that fast (low-mid 130s), but he's very effective with them, locating them with great accuracy.  Combine that with the slider in the high 110-low 120s and I can see why.

He tries out Ryou swingin and Watanabe looking on 2 fastballs on the outside corner.  Okamoto grounds to short and it's an easy 1-2-3 inning.

Bottom 3rd
Kimura leads off the 3rd slicing a ball past a diving Hiwatasi for a base hit.

Matsubara pops it up on the hit-and-run, but Kimura doesn't notice to return!  Watanabe flicks the ball to 1st, and Tomita makes the stretch for the double play!

And Araki's timing n the slow curve is all off and he grounds out to 1st to end the inning!

Top 4th
Hamada continues to pound the outside corner as he strikes out Gotou for the 2nd out of the inning.

But he leaves one just a little fat and Harada singles to center.

But now that he's getting the outside corner, he's getting batters to chase, just like Todaka to end the inning.

Bottom 4th
Satou takes the first pitch away and bloops it to left for a single. Finally they go for the straight steal and Satou makes it in easily.

Todaka then loses Matsuoka and now there's runners on 1st and 2nd for Meiden.

Torii goes for the safety bunt, Todaka to field it, but can't field it cleanly!  The throw is late and it's manrui for Meiden as Kodama-kantoku calls for time.


They try the squeeze!  It goes up the 1st base line, Tomita charging, quick throw home... OUT!

Harada's foot blocks the slide and he makes the stretching pick for the force!

Hamada with the grounder to 1st.  Tomita throwing home again, and they get the force again! 2 down!

Nakamura with a hard grounder to the left side, under a diving Hiwatashi!  One run scores, two runs score and Meiden now leads 3-0!

Kimura flies out to left, but they finally get that timely base hit to extend the lead!

Top 5th
There's a delay as it appears that Satou was injured when his slide home was blocked by Harada's foot.

After a while, Kurano-kantoku gives the maru signal, and soon thereafter he takes the field.

8th K for Hamada as Tomita goes down swinging.  Yuuta goes down looking on the outside corner.

And make it 3 K's in the inning as Ryou is a victim of the outside corner - much like everyone else it seems.

Bottom 6th
One down, and Todaka give up just his 2nd walk to Araki.

Satou with a base hit over Takahashi down the line, Gotou there, AND IT GOES UNDER HIS GLOVE!

He has to turn around, but Araki easily scores as Satou gingerly gets to 3rd on the error!  4-0 Meiden!

Matsuoka with a soft base hit to left, and that makes it 5-0.

They're putting the pressure now as Matsuoka takes and steals 2nd.  It's getting to them as a wild pitch sends the runner to 3rd.

Torii with a hard hit past the drawn in infield makes it a 6-0 ballgame.  Nakano tries the safety bunt, though it ends up looking like a regular one.

Todaka can't get out of the inning yet though.  He walks Hamada to put runners at 1st and 2nd.

Nakamura tries the safety bunt, but fails for the 3rd out.  To the break, and Todaka has probably been figured out.

Top 6th
Post-break, and #17 Uomoto comes in to PH for Watanabe, but grounds out to 1st.  Nakano makes a nice running pick on a grounder from Okamoto.  And Hiwatashi hits a hard ball up the middle, but Kimura makes a great sliding block and his throw just beats out Hiwatashi.

Bottom 6th
#11 Kutsukake comes in for PH Uomoto and takes over on the mount.  Todaka goes to 2nd.

Kutsukake doesn't seem any different than Todaka, but induces 2 comebackers for 2 quick outs.  Araki reaches out on a ball outside and flies out for a 1-2-3 inning.

Top 7th
Harada gets Miyazaki Nishi's 3rd hit, taking a ball away to left. Todaka's woes extend to the plate as he strikes out for the 3rd time.  And Tomita grounds into a fielder's choice.  Miyazaki cannot do anything about Hamada's control of the outside part of the plate.

Bottom 7th
Satou lines one over Todaka and into right for a base hit!

#16 Matsui comes in to PH for Matsuoka.  But Matsui grounds into the 1-6-3 double play.

Torii continues the inning as he singles past a diving Todaka.  Nakano follows that with a single to left.  Hamada hits a hanging fastball to right center.  Ryou runs it down, but both baserunners score to make it 8-0.

Nakamura with a drive to left...  Gotou runs back and makes the catch just as he stumbles!  But it's clear that Miyazaki's run will end hee.

Top 8th
#18 Oosuka comes in for PH Matsui.

One down and #18 Hidaka comes in to PH for Ryou, but goes down swinging.  Kutsukake becomes Hamada's 13th victim and it's been a clean game.

Bottom 8th
#10 Yokogami comes in for PH Hidaka and takes over in RF.

Kimura just gets the ball on the end of the bat and lines it over Hiwatashi for a leadoff single.  Matsubara tries the safety bunt, but it's just a sac bunt in the end.

Araki with a liner at 2nd, Todaka reaches out and it deflects off the glove!  Everyone's safe.  He then takes 2nd on indifference.

Kodama-kantoku calls for time.

Kutsukake gets Satou to hit a comebacker.  Runners have to hold and there 2 down.  Oosuka walks on 4 straight and it's manrui for Torii.

Torii makes contact, but at the end of the bat and he flies out to left.  Three out, and three more left to go barring a comeback.

Top 9th
#6 Satou finally leaves the game as #14 Wakahara comes in for him and takes over at 2B while Kimura goes to SS.

Okamoto's grounder finds the new SS but Kimura makes a nice pick and throw... #16 Kawagoe PH for Hiwatashi, but becomes the 14th K for Hamada... And Gotou grounds to short to end the game.

Miyazaki Nishi certainly earned their bid, but had the unfortunate fortune of facing Aikoudai Meiden.  They can be proud of what they accomplished this past fall in reaching Koushien, and now can proudly say they were the first team from Miyazaki Nishi to get to Koushien.

Next up for Aikoudai Meiden... Riseisha.

Notable Players
Hamada Tatsurou (Aikoudai Meiden) - CG, 0 ER, 3 H, 14 K, 0 BB - 2-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB
Torii Tatsunori (Aikoudai Meiden) - 3-4, 2 R, RBI
Satou Daisuke (Aikoudai Meiden) - 3-5, R
Harada Taiki (Miyazaki Nishi) - 2-3

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