Natsu Koushien Qualifying Update (7/23) – Finals and champs!

Well, mother nature didn’t exactly play nice as 4 of the 11 finals were rained out. But that still meant 7 champions were crowned.

Tickets Punched

Minami Hokkaido – Hokkai (38th appearance, 3rd consecutive)

The game yesterday seemed a bit like the Mariners game I watched yesterday. Toukaidai Sapporo jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, and watched as Hokkai slowly brought back the margin inning after inning, tying the game in the 6th. In games like this the team who loses the lead needs to regain it sooner rather than later because as the innings tick on, the momentum swings permanently to the other side.

And that’s what happened in the 9th as reliever (RF) Tama delivered a base hit to give his team the 6-5 lead. He’d close out the game and Hokkai once again heads to Natsu Koushien.

Tochigi – Sakushin Gakuin (13th appearance, 7th consecutive)

This went non-competitive quickly. 3 runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings, and 4 more in the 4th made it 10-0 and a cake walk. Didn’t matter who Kokugakuin Tochigi put on the mound, it didn’t help. They eventually called off the horses at 15-0, winning 15-1.

Yamanashi – Yamanashi Gakuin (7th appearance, 2nd consecutive)

Here, Toukaidai Koufu made it interesting, leading 1-0 up right until the break when Yamanashi Gakuin scored 3. After that, it was all downhill. What was 1-0 became 1-3, then 1-6 then 2-13. Final margin was 14-3 in favor of Yamanashi Gakuin.

Kagawa – Sanbonmatsu (3rd appearance, 1st in 12 years)

The game was close early as the teams felt each other out in this key matchup. But a 4 spot by Sanbonmatsu in before the break seemed to decisively put the game in their favor. I can’t tell you why, but I see the kanji in their name and it seems to stand out, maybe it’s the name. But because of it I knew they had been toiling in Kagawa for so long being good but not good enough. They certainly had an easier schedule, this time around, but sometimes you need the breaks to come your way.

Saga – Waseda Saga (1st appearance)

Well, I suppose for Waseda and Waseda Gakuin it was going to be hard to make 2 Waseda schools go to Koushien. But Waseda Saga in just its 8th year of existence, takes the title in a 6-1 win. Not completely dominating, as the duo of Anzai and Morita struck out 2 batters on the day. But you can bet this will go a long way to cementing Waseda Saga in the prefecture. Which isn’t good news for anyone. And it means you’ll hear more of this in the future. Though it perhaps needs a bit of work to make it like the more famous Waseda.

Nagasaki – Hasami (3rd appearance, 1st in 16 years)

Well, it didn’t come true for my wish of Seihou to win. Hasami led 2-0 early and Seihou couldn’t find an answer so I had written them off to watch the Minami Hokkaido final. Of course that’s when I see on the twitter feed that they somehow had found a way to tie the game in the 9th! I was so excited to turn the game back…

…only to find that Kawaguchi for Hasami had hit a 2-run HR in the 10th to make it 4-2, and that was basically that. They did change pitchers in the bottom half, but otherwise it was basically an easy closeout for the title.

Miyazaki – Seishin (St.) Urusla (2nd appearance, 1st in 12 years)

Well, it was all St. Ursula right from the get-go with 3 runs in the opening frame. With ace Togou limiting them to 4 hits, with 9 Ks there was little Hyuuga Gakuin could do to answer which meant an open and shut case for the eventual champs.

Finals contested

Well, today was going to be more of a quiet day, but with 4 finals rained out, it’ll be a busy Monday. 5 title games will be played, with the 4 rainouts and now Kumamoto. The notes on the other 4 can be found in yesterday’s post.

Kumamoto – Shuugakukan v Kyushu Gakuin

Absent from the Shuugakukan semifinal was Kajisha-kantoku who I found out later was hospitalized due to fatigue which later was found to be due to heart arrhythmia. Now, I know that I’ve been hard on the guy for his poor managing of a dream pitching staff, but you don’t wish anything bad for the guy. He’s sidelined for at least a week which means assistant manager Yamaguchi Koichi takes over duties.

And it was more than just business as usual as despite a shaky 1st inning from Kawabata, the duo of him and Taura pitch a 2-hit shutout of Yatsushiro, winning 7-0 in 8 innings. Oy.

As for the other semifinal, Buntoku and Kyushu Gakuin traded blows throughout the match, but it was 5 runs for Kyushu Gakuin against a tiring Matsuoka that sealed the deal. With that 10-8 performance though I do wonder if they have any chance because Shuugakukan is hitting it’s stride at the complete wrong time for them.

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