(photo courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
Boy, that was one heck of a game for Chiben Gakuen, or was it a poor game from Kumamoto Kougyou? Probably a bit of both. At least for one game they look like a team that could repeat as Haru Koushien champs.
And that’s not news that Moriokadai Fuzoku wants to hear. They were involved in a match of equals in Takaoka Shougyou. Both sides with pitching which was very vulnerable and hit and hit often. And seeing what Chiben Gakuen did to what supposedly was one of the better pitchers (who by his own accord struggled mightily), it’s not a good sign for them at all.
Which means at face value they’re understandably coming in as a heavy underdog. As mentioned in my twitter headline, they’re hoping all is not what it seems.
- RF Fukumoto Yuuma
- CF (#7) Kadou Youta
- LF (#5) Nishioka Kazuto
- SS Oota Hidetake
- 1B Hatakeyama Kaisei
- C Ishida Kouta
- 3B (#13) Okano Ryuuta
- 2B Tabuchi Ryuushin
- P Matsumoto Ryuuya
- CF Ueda Taku
- LF Hayashi Kazuki
- 2B (#5) Oosato Kousei
- SS Higa Kenshin
- 3B (#13) Sutou Hayate
- C Matsuda Nao
- RF Usui Haruki
- P (#10) Miura Mizuki
- 1B Nabana Tomoki
13:50 – First Pitch!
Miura with a good start. Give up a two out walk, but comes back with an outside slider to retire Oota. For now, peace is maintained.
Yet it might be Moriokadai Fuzoku who wishes to break the ice first! Ueda gets a pitch to hit and takes it to the gap in right center for a leadoff double. He’s bunted to 3rd, but Oosato gets caught looking on a pitch over the plate that was supposed to be outside (if you believe the C’s glove) and then Higa lays a swinging bunt that dies in front of home plate and he’s tagged out before he can take off for 1st.
They threaten again. Sutou earns a leadoff walk, bunted to 2nd and moved to 3rd. But Miura can’t pull the trigger on a Matsumoto pitch that runs back over the plate. 3 outs, change and Chiben Gakuen has dodged some early shots.
That’s immediately turned in offense when Tabuchi lines a ball past a diving Sutou and down the LF line for a leadoff double. A bunt puts their runner 90 feet from home now.
Miura though says, “2 can play this game”. Buries a changeup that Fukumoto chases, and a slider retires Katou for the 3rd out!
The game continues scoreless with neither side really able to eke out any offensive output as both P’s breaking stuff drives them into fits. And at the break, they sit facing each other at an impasse. The ratings for each team prior to the tournament perhaps then are fairly accurate then and it was just Kumamoto Kougyou which severely under-performed.
Chiben Gakuen tries to put something together and it’s Matsumoto himself that gets it started with a walk. But when Fukumoto tries to bunt, Sutou charges in throws to 2nd which starts the 5-4-3 double play and as quickly as the chance appears, it’s gone.
Moriokadai Fuzoku tries to turn that into momentum for themselves as they create a small opportunity with 2 down. Hayashi catches a fastball over the plate and doubles to the right center gap.
Oosato drives a shoulder high fastball deep to right, and that goes over Fukumoto’s head! It falls at the base of the wall and in an instant Moriokadai Fuzoku leads 1-0!
It seems like post-break it’s Moriokadai Fuzoku who is slowly pulling ahead. Lucky 7, Sutou who made the great play earlier for a double play, drives a ball to the right center wall for a leadoff double. Later, runners at corners and one out, Mizuki grounds a ball to 2nd. And instead of the double play, Tabuchi goes home and is not in time. 2-0 on the fielder’s choice and what’s worse still one out.
And when Nabana lays down the bunt and actually beats out the throw, they threaten to blow the game wide open.
Matsumoto avoids one bullet as he strikes out Ueda. However, he can’t dodge the 2nd bullet as Hayashi drops a single to center, scoring 2 and extending the lead to 4-0.
They actually tack on one more run in the 8th to make it 5-0. Chiben Gakuen is serenaded to Jock Rock as they mount one more rally. Fukumoto gets ahead 3-1 and singles back up the middle. Kadou draws a walk and things get a little interesting.
Nishioka with a grounder to 2nd, and Oosato boots it! The defense, which had been so good, fails them at a key moment! Manrui for Chiben Gakuen and still no out.
Miura doesn’t back down! He attacks Oota and gets him swinging on a slider! One out. #15 Takatsuka steps in for Sakou.
Three pitches outside, all three just miss. Blows a fastball by for 3-1. Another fastball, ramps it up to 140 and is fouled back.
Grounder to short! Higa to Oosato for 1, throw to 1st, not in time. 5-1, but there is only one out to play. Ishida pops it up and Matsuda secures it at the back netting to end the game.
Too little, too late for the now-former champs. Moriokadai Fuzoku outlasted them and while there was a small hiccup at the end, they will move on. It really was surprising how ineffective they were in this game even if you accounted for how badly Kumamoto Kougyou played. But credit should be given to Miura Mizuki for bouncing back after his last start. He’ll need the confidence because he’ll need it in facing Riseisha to advance out of “A” Block.