(photo courtesy of Mainichi)
Well, here we are again. Shuugakukan finds their way back after the debacle that was last year’s Natsu Koushien. They’ve lost 2 of their 4-headed monster and perhaps their best opportunity to win a title. But their road starts again against the Meiji Jingu bid invitee Takada Shougyou.
As mentioned, Shuugakukan was polarizing because they had amassed 4 above average pitchers that Kajisha-kantoku could have mixed and matched to save their arms and win the title. Yet somehow, he failed to do that and they exited under dubious circumstances. He’s back, but the question is whether or not he’s learned. Not to mention the fact that he has less flexibility than before, both on the mound losing half of his staff, and offensively from their blanking against Fukuokadai Oohori.
Takada Shougyou was about as questionable of a pick as I could have thought of. Given the results of the nominations, it was clear that the committee loathed to give Osaka a third team even though they (Uenomiya Taishi) deserved it. The one positive you can take for this team is the fact that they played Chiben Gakuen close in the prefectural final, but the close game against a Wakayama prefecture that has fallen with the loss of Chiben Wakayama and a mercy rule loss to Riseisha mean that I don’t think this team is ready. But, if they had to face a hard team, this one would be it because I think even still they could have a chance. Not great, but a better one.
- SS Hanjyou Touma
- 2B (#14) Watanabe Rui
- 1B Kimoto Ryuuga
- 3B Hirobe Shuuhei
- LF (#18) Ishii Takuya
- CF (#17) Hirayama Rikuto
- C Kouchi Tatsuya
- RF Akasaka Ginjirou
- P (#10) Kawabata Kento
- CF Nakao Tsubasa
- 2B Ueda Yuuki
- 3B Yamazaki Tomoya
- RF Ookubo Takumi
- LF Takahoko Souma
- 1B Kamibeppu Shun
- SS Yamamoto Tomoya
- C Takemura Kouhei
- P Furukawa Hibiki
11:40 – First Pitch!
Furukawa with a quick tempo, but doesn’t throw hard at all. Looks like high 120s-130 with a curve in the upper 100s and a slider in the mid 110s. Can locate the fastball, the breaking stuff not as much. Still gets a clean first inning.
No surprise from Kawabata, upper 130s-140 stuff. Cutball, slider and changeup in the arsenal. But Takashou is seeing it well early. Nakao flyball to center. Ueda laces a single to center.
What’s bad though is that Yamazaki as the #3 hitter looks really bad at the plate flailing at a couple of pitches before grounding into the 4-6-3 double play.
Shuugakukan not exactly doing much better, though Ishii gets a break when his grounder 5-holes Yamamoto. That is compounded by Furukawa when he hits Hirayama.
Kouchi though really wants a base hit and swings on two straight sliders outside for the 2nd out. And Akasaka swings at a ball outside and fouls out to end the inning. They don’t look all that comfortable either.
Takada Shougyou does get a walk in the 2nd, but they test Kouchi’s arm and lose pretty badly. Which is unfortunate because the next batter also walks which means they are showing patience. However you also need to survive in an AB and Yamamoto can’t do that.
Shuugakukan jumps on that momentum as Kawabata hits a ball that just lands fair down the LF line. It gets by Takahoko and to the wall and Kawabata hustles for a leadoff triple. Hanjyou with a clean single past Kamibeppu makes it a 1-0 game for Shuugakukan. Furukawa leaves the damage there, but perhaps that run came a little earlier than they’d like.
After the 4th inning for Takada Shougyou wherein their 2-3-4 batters looked pretty bad at the plate, I mentioned on twitter that at this point all that is needed is for Shuugakukan’s bats to come alive and the game was over.
Little did I know that as soon as I said that it happened.
- Akasaka – Double to left
- Kawabata – Bunt base hit
- Hanjyou – Clean single through the right side, 2-0
- Watanabe -Single to left, 3-0
- Kimoto – Double past diving Yamazaki, Watanabe out at 3rd, 4-0
- Hirobe – Walk
- Ishii – Grounder bobbled by Ueda
- Hirayama – K
- Kouchi – Manrui HR to left, 8-0
Well, that’s pretty much game. And Uenomiya Taishi must be thinking we could do better than that.
Perhaps Kajisha-kantoku is learning. Bottom 6, Kawabata walks Furukawa and after a double play Ueda works the count full. At that moment, there was #11 Nishimura warming up.
But an error prolongs the inning, and then Yamazaki doubles to right center. Ueda scores making it 8-1. And after a hit batter, Kawabata should be relieved. But with the large lead, he stays in and does get out of the inning thanks to Takaoko swinging on a pitch way outside. But still, with the game supposedly in hand, he should be in the dugout.
Before he is pulled for a PH in the 9th, Shuugakukan scores 3 more runs to make it 11-1.
When he is pulled #11 Nishimura comes in. He certainly is not like the 2 pitchers that remained. A sidearmer, he tops out in the low 130s. It’s not pretty, but he closes out the game.
So unless Kajisha-kantoku is planning to run one of his pitchers out each game instead of running them all out, he hasn’t learned. In fact, you could see Kawabata having a harder time of it after the 5th. And with the game out of hand there was no reason not to put in Taura for instance to finish the game. He gets some work in, you rest Kawabata for the following game, and you should have both arms fresh.
I guess we’ll have to see.