(photo courtesy of Shizuoka Shinbun)
Last game of the day features two teams reaching Natsu Koushien for the first time and as such will be looking for their first win.
Fujieda Meisei (1st appearance)
- Location – Fujieda-shi, Shizuoka
- Private school
- Student Body – 945 students (253 female)
- Club Size – 67
- Kantoku – Mitsuoka Kouji(?) (光岡 孝)
Road to Koushien
- def Shimizu Nishi 4-1
- def Kosai 3-2
- def Shizuoka Gakuen 9-1 (7 inn)
- def Katou Gakuen 4-1
- def Shizuoka 14-6
- def Nichidai Mishima 23-10
Fujieda Meisei survived a bloodbath versus Shizuoka in the semifinals and then had no letdown defeating Nichidai Mishima. The biggest problem you have with Fujieda Meisei is that the pitching suffered in the final two games. And while you can throw out the final 3 innings of the final since that it was in a downpour ace Kubota still gave up 6 runs and 13 hits in the semifinal. Which means against the upper tier teams he could easily struggle. Fortunately for him, that’s not their first round opponent.
The offense really came alive in the final 2 games (even before the rain delay in the final), so it’s possible it will continue to translate here even adjusting for competition.
|1||P||久保田 蒼布||Kubota Sou||3||R/R||176||68|
|2||C||服部 恵汰||Hattori Keita||3||R/L||168||73|
|3||1B||清水 一真||Shimizu Kazuma||3||R/L||168||68|
|4||2B||松村 太智||Matsumura Taichi||3||R/R||173||70|
|5||3B||一戸 輝彦||Ichinohe Teruhiko||3||R/R||171||78|
|6||SS||西村 竜馬||Nishimura Ryouma||2||R/L||175||66|
|7||LF||河合 郁拓||Kawai Fumihiro||3||R/L||167||67|
|8||CF||常盤 勇汰||Tokiwa Yuuta||3||R/L||173||73|
|◎||9||RF||中田 悠斗||Nakata Yuuto||3||R/L||180||78|
|10||BN||小野 弘人||Ono Hiroto||2||R/R||181||78|
|11||BN||遠藤 大支||Endou Taishi||3||R/R||175||67|
|12||BN||鈴木 大翔||Suzuki Hiroto||2||R/R||171||62|
|13||BN||秋山 玲津己||Akiyama Ritsuki||2||R/R||187||82|
|14||BN||大滝 敬||Ootaki Kei||2||R/L||176||65|
|15||BN||高田 竜希||Takada Ryuuki||2||R/R||170||77|
|16||BN||堂前 塁||Doumai Rui||3||R/L||168||70|
|17||BN||落合 瞳伊||Ochiai Toui||2||R/L||173||63|
|18||BN||浦野 光市||Urano Kouichi||2||L/L||175||78|
Tsuda Gakuen (1st appearance)
- Location – Kuwana-shi, Mie
- Private school
- Student Body – 750 students (330 female)
- Club Size – 68
- Kantoku – Sagawa Tatsuo (佐川 竜朗)
Road to Koushien
- def Hisai 6-1
- def Kuwana Nishi 11-0 (5 inn)
- def Kinan 7-0 (7 inn)
- def Yokkaichi Minami 10-1 (7 inn)
- def Komono 10-3 (7 inn)
- def Mie 4-3
Tsuda Gakuen also exorcised some demons by defeating both Komono and Mie in the final two rounds. The latter game especially since Mie continued to have chances throughout the game yet they still held on for the title. The pitching was about average, and the offense appears even from top to bottom, though again at best average.
|◎||1||P||水谷 翼||Mizutani Tsubasa||3||R/R||182||88|
|2||C||久保田 拓真||Kubota Takuma||3||R/R||183||78|
|3||1B/OF||上下 大地||Ueshita Daichi||2||R/R||184||88|
|4||2B||宮木 滉生||Miyagi Kousei||2||R/R||170||66|
|5||3B/1B||仲林 泰生||Nakabayashi Taisei||2||R/R||170||80|
|6||SS||中島 貴良||Nakajima Takara||2||R/R||166||64|
|7||LF||藤井 久大||Fujii Hisahiro||1||L/L||167||64|
|8||CF||菊池 翔矢||Kikuchi Shouya||3||R/L||174||67|
|9||RF||間道 永吉||Mamichi Eikichi||3||R/R||178||78|
|10||BN||廣井 秀哉||Hiroi Shuuya||3||R/R||168||71|
|11||BN||河村 信吾||Kawamura Shingo||2||L/L||174||69|
|12||BN||内田 蓮||Uchida Ren||3||R/R||169||74|
|13||BN||石川 竜也||Ishikawa Tatsuya||3||R/R||175||80|
|14||BN||前川 夏輝||Maekawa Natsuki||1||R/R||178||74|
|15||BN||石川 史門||Ishikawa Shimon||1||R/L||186||75|
|16||IF||稲垣 宏汰||Inagaki Kouta||2||R/R||166||66|
|17||OF||中村 太一||Nakamura Taichi||3||R/R||168||78|
|18||P||若林 潤||Wakabayashi Jyun||3||L/L||166||65|
With both teams looking to record their first win in their first ever Natsu Koushien game, there may be pressure on both sides. There doesn’t appear to be an advantage on the mound for one team or the other, as both pitchers neither strike out batters nor avoid free passes. Both teams had landmark wins against a top team in the prefecture and had similar results in their victories.
To that extent it’s probably a tossup with perhaps the edge going to Fujieda Meisei due to the offensive output showed late as opposed to Tsuda Gakuen.
- CF Tokiwa
- 2B Matsumura
- 1B Shimizu
- RF Nakata
- C Hattori
- LF Kawai
- 3B Ichinohe
- P Kubota
- SS Nishimura
- CF Kikuchi
- 2B Miyagi
- 3B Nakabayashi
- 1B Ueshita
- RF Fujii (#7)
- C Kubota
- P Mizutani
- LF Ishikawa Shimon (#15)
- SS Nakajima
17:00 – First Pitch!
Mizutani reportedly has a curve, slider, fork and changeup in his arsenal. He would have had 3 routine groundouts, but Nakajima whiffs on the 3rd one and the inning continues.
Mizutani’s velocity nothing to write home about, average for most pitchers here. Location on the fastball is good, but the off-speed a tad spotty. Nakata continues the inning hitting a high changeup through the left side. Runners at the corners, but Mizutani should be out of the inning.
Oh and now a double steal goes awry when Kubota’s throw goes awry. Shimizu scores to make it 1-0 Fujieda Meisei on the mistake.
Miyagi looks to get Tsuda Gakuen level hits a 1-out seeing-eye single through the left side. But he’s quickly erased when Nakabayashi hits into a 6-4-3 double play.
Mizutani had an unfortunate first inning, but he’s showing good control of his pitches and gets a 1-2-3 inning in the 2nd. Looks like he might be able to hold serve and allow his team time to get back the run.
Problem is Kubota is just as effective, and while he does leave a fastball over the plate for his named counterpart to hit a double, he strikes out the side otherwise. Could be in for a nice pitching matchup.
I say that and then Mizutani gets into a spot after Tokiwa bloops one to right and following a sac bunt he hits Shimizu.
But a K of Nakata followed by a great stop from Ueshita bails him out.
Tsuda Gakuen gets a couple of favorable bounces. Nakajima rips a shot so hard to Nishimura he can’t field the ball. Then Kikuchi hits a chopper back to Kubota who deflects it away from a backing up Matsumura.
However, Kubota gets out of his own jam much in the same manner as Mizutani – with a strikeout and a groundout. Runs certainly will come at a premium here.
Tsuda Gakuen applying pressure again in 4th. Fujii and Kubota both attack the first pitch from Kubota and deliver singles. Mizutani goes to bunt, but instead pulls it back and hacks it through the drawn in infield for a base hit! Manrui!
Ishikawa with a chance to tie the game grounds to short. Nishimura to Matsumura for 1, Mizutani tries to break it up, and delays the throw just enough for Ishikawa to reach! 1-1!
Nakajima draws a walk to load the bases as the lineup turns over.
Kikuchi with the count full, swings on a letter high pitch and drive it deep to left center! The fielders have to run back to fetch it and a bases clearing triple makes it 4-1 Tsuda Gakuen!
Miyagi can’t drive him in, but how will Fujieda Meisei answer?
Tokiwa singles to center. After a sac bunt, Shimizu singles to left quickly clawing back a run at 4-2.
And then in succession, no matter where Mizutani places it, the batters drive it back into open space.
Nakata reaches down and singles to left. Hattori on a high fastball singles to center though Shimizu is thrown out at home.
Kawai then lines a single to right, followed by Ichinohe to center and with 5 consecutive hits we’re all square at 4-4!!
How strange that despite Mizutani not missing badly on his pitches, he’s still given up the lead!
The bottom half of the inning though gives more surprises.
2 outs, Fujii singles to right. Then Kubota on a pitch he had no business swinging at (way up and in), he singles to left putting runners at the corners.
And then Mizutani, on the very first pitch drives a ball to right center and right in-between the fielders! Fujii comes in, Kubota comes in all the way from 1st and Tsuda Gakuen retakes the lead at 6-4!
Recognizing perhaps that Mizutani is vulnerable on the mound now, they send him to left and replace Ishikawa with #18 Wakabayashi who takes the hill. It’s feast or famine for the sidearmer as he hits Nishimura, then with 2 outs hits Shimizu. He plunks Nakata, but the home plate umpire deems he didn’t get out of the way. Wakabayashi almost hits him on the next pitch.
There’s more bad-ball hitting. Nakata swings on a letter high pitch and singles through the left side bringing Fujieda Meisei within 1 at 6-5. Then Hattori hits a shallow fly down the LF line, Nakajima and Mizutani collide and can’t come up with the ball! Shimizu scores and we’re tied again at 6-6!
Wakabayashi doing better in the 7th (doesn’t hit anyone), but Kubota has also settled down as well. It’s possible the teams are slowly moving towards enchousen.
But if a team was at-risk it would be Tsuda Gakuen as Wakabayashi easily on the shakier footing.
He plunks Matsumura who is quickly bunted over. A deep fly to center allows him to reach 3rd.
Another HBP for Wakabayashi as hit hits Hattori. And yet it results in no damage as Kawai flies out routinely to left. Lots of playing with fire.
Kubota meanwhile, is getting assists from his defense. Kubota rips a ball to the right side, but Matsumura makes a great stop to prevent the base hit. 1-2-3 on his end and the end of regulation is at hand. Can Wakabayashi somehow hold on?
Outside of a scorcher by Ichinohe lined right to Nakajima, Wakabayashi has a non-eventful top of the 9th inning, sending the ball back into Kubota’s court as he plays to extend the game.
One down Kikuchi draws a walk. Tsuda Gakuen looking for one base hit as they call for, and get the bunt.
But they’re depending on Nakabayashi, who’s 0-4 on the day.
Even still, he catches hold of one and drives it to right! Nakata has to chase back after it, continuing back.. and makes the leaping catch! Nakata saves the game and we are heading to our first enchousen game of the tournament!
Touchy times for Tsuda Gakuen now after that play as it can easily turn into momentum. Matsumura gets things going with a one-out single to center.
But after the throw in, Kikuchi seems to be in a bit of distress. Sagawa-kantoku goes out to him and things seem fine but just to make sure he has him take a couple of throws. He doesn’t like what he sees and has Kikuchi go off for treatment. Not too much later he comes out and the game continues.
Shimizu asked to bunt for a 2nd straight time, leaving it to Nakata, but instead after some close calls down the line, he hits a lazy fly to left.
And the infield defense from Fujieda Meisei is really assisting him here as Ichinohe makes another great stop on a hot shot from Ueshita. 2 routine outs later and we continue on underneath the lights.
Wakabayashi had a rough couple of innings to start, but has appeared to finally settled in, getting a clean inning and putting the pressure back on Kubota.
Mizutani looking to help his fellow pitcher out, goes paperboy again and slaps a ball through the left side for a leadoff single. Wakabayashi clearly looking for a bunt, but doesn’t seem to mind a walk either. Does lay it down, just slow enough to make a throw to 2nd out of the question and makes the putout at 1st.
Nakajima really trying to find a way on base, gets called out on strike 3 on a borderline pitch inside. 2 outs, and Fujieda Meisei decided to intentionally walk Kikuchi to get to Miyagi.
It’s over! Kubota 172nd pitch is a slider too much over the plate and Miyagi lines it to center! Tokiwa scrambles back, but it’s no use! It’s over his head and that’s the ballgame! Mizutani walks home and Tsuda Gakuen advances 7-6!!
172 pitches. Yeah, we know it’s a lot. But in kokoyakyu it’s the traditional burden the ace must bear. And in the end it, as it generally is, it can take just one pitch to change the game. Fujieda Meisei goes home, but at least they can say they fought valiantly.
Tsuda Gakuen prevails, but there’s questions to be had as Mizutani was good for 4 innings, but faltered in the 5th. Wakabayashi was shaky early and could have easily lost the game, but did just enough to keep his team alive long enough to pull out the victory. Facing Fujieda Meisei was one thing, but what about Saibi in the next round?