(photo courtesy of Mainichi)
Fukuokadai Oohori at least to start showed that they aren’t just a lucky Kyushu title winner having led Soushi Gakuen wire-to-wire. However, Miura looked a bit shaky in the 2nd half of the game and it being the first game could be attributed either to shaking off the late rust or to potential problems going forward.
Shiga Gakuen on the other hand struggled with Toukaidai Ichihara Bouyou, only winning when they outlasted them heading into extras. And with all other teams in the Kanto ex Tokyo region moving on it shows how even of a matchup it was. And they’ll have to possibly outlast Miura as well. The question is if they will be able to.
- SS Kubota Yuuya
- RF Hirano Koutarou
- C Koga Yuuto
- 1B Higashi Reo
- 3B Inamoto Yuusei
- 2B Saitou Tomoya
- CF Nishi Hayato
- LF Kabashima Ryuutarou
- P Miura Ginji
- CF Shindou Tsukasa
- SS Kohama Ryouji
- C Gotou Katsuki
- LF Takei Ryuuji
- 1B Chinen Ryoutomo
- 3B Yamamoto Shunpei
- RF Tai Kaishuu
- P (#11) Miyagi Ryouta
- 2B Nakanishi Ryouta
11:15 – First Pitch!
Shiga Gakuen going to their bullpen again, this time in Miyagi. He throws in the high 130s with a slider, curve and changeup.
Kubota all tied up but still manages to get enough on it for a base hit up the middle. He’s bunted over and moved to 3rd on a ground ball. Miyagi jams another batter in Higashi and he harmlessly grounds out to short to end the inning. Not a bad start for a bench player.
The same cannot be said for Miura. Shindou chops a letter high pitch back past Miura into center. Kohama takes a running pitch away and deposits it in left. The runners advance when Miura bobbles a comebacker, which leads to a run when Takei singles to center. 1-0 Shiga Gakuen and they’re having the better of it early.
They try to add a 2nd on a contact play, but instead Kohama is thrown out at home. Shiga Gakuen ends up settling for 1.
Fukuokadai Oohori tries to create something in the 2nd when Nishi chops one back up the middle for an infield single and Kabashima walks with 2 down, but it’s with 2 down and Miura just can’t bring them home.
An inning later, they have the perfect chance. Kubota with a well placed ball to the left side, leaving Kohama with no chance to make the throw to 1st. Then Hirano bunts the ball and Miyagi thinks it’s a foul ball, except it isn’t. Add Koga’s single to center and it’s manrui for Fukuokadai Oohori, no out!
But when all they would need is a fly ball, Higashi grounds to 1st and they get the force at home. And the ultimate Houdini act is done when Inamoto hits one back to Miyagi and he starts the 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.
What has also stymied Fukuokadai Oohori has been Shiga Gakuen’s 2B Nakanishi as he has made two great diving stops which have robbed batters of base hits.
Right before the break Shiga Gakuen makes one more play to add to their lead. Tai starts with a soft liner down the right side for a single. After a failed bunt attempt, the aforemention Nakanishi singles to center putting runners at the corners. Miura escapes striking out Shindou and getting a groundout to end the inning.
So at the break once again, it’s an early run that is holding up. But unlike the other games, the team behind has life behind it.
After the break, it’s Fukuokadai Oohori that seems to be getting the chances. 7th inning they get a leadoff runner along after Nakanishi boots a ball (sorry, we jinxed it), but the bottom of the lineup couldn’t get him in.
8th inning, Kubota starts with a clean single through the left side. After a bunt, Koga battles, takes a borderline 2-2 pitch and draws a walk.
Next thing you know, Higashi with a ball up the middle and past a diving Kohama into center! Kubota scores and we’re tied at 1-1!! It wasn’t that bad of a pitch. Slightly above letter high and away and still pounded up the middle.
That also knocks out Miyagi as #10 Tarahara comes in to try and keep it tied. And that he does as he gets a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning!
The tie game seemingly adds pressure to both sides. Both on the defense to continue delivering, on the mound to keep the game tied, and on the offense to find a run.
It stays deadlocked with no real chances until the 9th. Bottom 9, Shiga Gakuen’s Takei draws a walk. 2 down Yamamoto with an easy swing singles to center. Sayonara run stands at 2nd.
But on the first pitch, Tai hits it weakly back to Miura and he makes the out at 1st to send the game to enchousen!
The pendulum seems to be swinging back to Shiga Gakuen’s way though. Tarahara stands in and manages to draw a leadoff walk. He’s bunted over for the top of the lineup. Perfect chance to end the game.
Except that Shindou falls for the same changeup on the outside corner and Kohama flies out to right sending the game to the 11th.
In the 11th though, Shiga Gakuen give Miura a 4-pitch inning. To me that easy inning flips the confidence over temporarily to Fukuokadai Oohori.
If only they could bunt…
Nishi gets his 2nd base hit off of Tarahara. But Kabashima fails to bunt him over, meaning that Miura has to do it. Not only that, there’s 2 outs now.
But Kubota gets plunked! Does create more force plays, but the pressure is turned up just a little more…
Tarahara induces a grounder from Hirano, and now that temporary momentum is lost.
13th inning comes around and time starts to run short. Koga looks to end it sooner rather than later singles back up the middle. Higashi welcome to bunt him along.
Inamoto almost gets the key base hit, but his short liner goes foul. He chases a ball high and wide instead and there’s 2 outs. A grounder to 3rd though ends the threat.
What’s this? Bottom 13, 2 outs. Gotou off the end of the bat takes one the other way for a base hit. And then Takei rockets one past Higashi into right! Shiga Gakuen has the sayonara runner 90 feet away!
Except Chinen lines out to center, and we’re to the 14th!
Bottom 14th, Shiga Gakuen threatening again. Yamamoto gets hit by Miura to star the inning. Tai tries to lay down the bunt but instead gets Yamamoto put out at 2nd. To make up for that he successfully steals 2nd Tarahara is unintentionally intentionally walked to create a force.
Now Miura gets that ground ball from Nakanishi, but Saitou eats the ball after getting it from Kubota since it was not hard hit. 2 outs, runners at corners.
The rain starts to fall as Shindou is also eventually unintentionally intentionally walked. Force at all bases, but a walk ends the game.
Instead it’s a fly ball to left! Kabashima secures it and we’re to our last ABs!
Fukuokadai Oohori quickly up and down so now all they can do is play for a tie.
Knowing that Gotou takes a hanging curve and singles to center! He’s bunted to 2nd and the pressure immediately on!
Fly ball to center. 2 outs, Gotou to 3rd. Wild pitch or passed ball could end it here too! Time called by Yagi-kantoku.
First pitch to Yamamoto, curve reached out and fouled straight back. Slider outside, strike 2…
Yamamoto jammed! Liner back to Miura and the game ends in a 1-1 tie!
This means that the teams will have to come back the next day as the new late game and replay the matchup. They will switch home/away, but it really hampers either team’s chances for winning the title because they will have to play one extra game and a game on 3 consecutive days.
That really hurts.