(photo courtesy of Yahoo)
Houtoku Gakuen has yet to give up a run so far this tournament, annihilating Tajimi and demoralizing Maebashi Ikuei though in that second game they scored 4 in the first and nothing else. But despite the fact that they seem dominating, if you exclude that first inning in the game against Maebashi Ikuei there may be signs that they could still be a bit average.
Now, normally seeing them play Fukuokadai Oohori and the grades given pre-tournament, you would think that they would have no shot. But then you take into account their run so far, which has been 3 games long and with their ace (and probably their only pitcher) Miura Ginji with the following lines:
- Day 3 – v Soushi Gakuen – 9 IP, 149 pitches
- Day 7 – v Shiga Gakuen – 15 IP, 196 pitches
- Day 9 – v Shiga Gakuen – 9 IP, 130 pitches
So already, he’s pitched in 3 games and thrown 475 pitches and would be coming back on 0 days rest. In fact he would be pitching on 0 days rest until they are elminated. There is only so much he can do on the mound before the body finally gives. The question only becomes when.
But for now, it appears he will be on the bench, for how long, we don’t know.
- SS Kubota Yuuya
- RF Hirano Koutarou
- C Koga Yuuto
- 1B Higashi Reo
- 3B Inamoto Yuusei
- CF (#11) Nakata Keisuke
- 2B Saitou Tomoya
- LF Kabashima Ryuutarou
- P (#10) Tokuwara Sera
- SS Kozono Kaito
- CF Nagayama Yuuma
- 2B Kataoka Kokoro
- C Shinohara Shouta
- 1B Kantou Yuusuke
- 3B Ikegami Hayate
- LF (#17) Nagao Ryouya
- RF (#7) Okamoto Sou
- P Nishigaki Masaya
11:00 – First Pitch!
For Fukuokadai Oohori the start offensively couldn’t have gone any worse. Nishigaki strikes out the side, Tokuhara retires the first batter then walks the next 2. Toss in a stolen base and a blooper to no mans land in right center and it’s quickly 1-0 Houtoku Gakuen.
That gets things moving. #8 Nishi comes in to take over on the mound and Miura is sent to warm up. He gets them out of the jam, but even if he is able to hold serve, the offense will have to do better than 5 Ks in the first 2 innings…
Unfortunately however, Houtoku’s offense gets to Nishi first. 4 In the blink of an eye the top 4 of the lineup gets base hits culminating in a Shinohara triple down the RF line, making the score 3-0 (Nagayama was thrown out going from 1st to 3rd). Ikegami singles later to make the lead 4-0.
And yet, Nishigaki almost lets them back into the game. 2 down in the 4th, he hits higashi, walks, Inamoto and then hits Nakata to load the bases. A base hit here cuts the lead in half, a walk at least scores a run.
Instead, Saitou swings on a 3-1 pitch and grounds to short. Side retired.
5th inning and things continue to happen to Houtoku Gakuen. Kabashima gets a leadoff hit and is bunted to 2nd. No big deal until Kubota hits a ball to short and Kozono just about whiffs on the ball. It trickles into the outfield and Kubota scores to make it 4-1.
Hirano walks, and is there something there for Fukuokadai Oohori?
Koga really works the count, runs it full, but just can’t check his swing and goes down. Higashi pops out early and nothing more results from it.
Houtoku Gakuen jumps on that momentum in the 5th. Nishi gives up a single to Kataoka and then a double down the line to Shinohara puts more runners in scoring position. A wild pitch and then a single brings both runners home, extending the lead to 6-1. With the break coming this should allow Houtoku Gakuen to consolidate the gains and move on to the 2nd half of the game.
Except they don’t.
Inamoto with a leadoff single. Then Saitou and Kabashima both single past a scrambling Kataoka and a run scores to make it 6-2. With only one down there’s another chance to claw back the lead. However, Nishi grounds into a double play and again an opportunity is lost.
Not only that, but when C Koga takes the mound, it’s clear Miura won’t be coming in to save them. Houtoku Gakuen adds on another run in the 6th to restore the margin at 7-2. There doesn’t appear to be a path to victory for Fukuokadai Oohori. Because getting 1 run at a time just won’t be enough. It was enough to knock out Nishigaki as 3B Ikegami took the hill, but 7-3 with 2 innings isn’t going to cut it.
The final score ends up being 8-3 for Houtoku Gakuen with Miura never having taken the mound. That’s 2 kantoku’s now that have made a conscientious decision not to start their pitchers who certainly have been overworked over the last couple of games. Whether this is the start of a welcome trend I don’t know, but two teams have lost in part because of their principles, and you can’t fault them for that.