(photo courtesy of Gunosy)
Sakushin Gakuin (13th appearance, 7th consecutive)
- Location – Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi
- Private school
- Student Body – 3,579 students (1,558 female)
- Club Size – 93
- Kantoku – Kobari Takahiro (小針 崇宏)
Road to Koushien
- def Utsunomiya Kougyou 11-4
- def Utsunomiya Minami 13-2 (6 inn)
- def Oyama Nishi 5-1
- def Yasaka Chuo 8-0 (7 inn)
- def Seiran Taito 3-2
- def Kokugakuin Tochigi 15-1
Sakushin Gakuin comes back to defend its title, and is looking fairly good so far through their prefectural qualifying. And the part you have to like is that the pitching didn’t give up a bunch of runs in any of the games save for maybe the first. Even in the final against a lesser team in a blowout they still gave up just 1 run.
In the spring, it seemed like Oozeki was the better pitcher at Koushien, though he certainly was a pitch-to-contact ace. But Shinohara has seemingly made some progress since then and could compete for more time on the mound though perhaps it’s more about matchups since Oozeki is a southpaw and Shinohara is a righty.
The problem is their offense. Admittedly their loss was against Shuugakukan, who should be a title contender so you can give them a pass. But you can also look at the Seiran Taito game in the prefectural semifinals where they scored 3 runs on 8 hits and struck out 8 times. The good part to take away is that the bottom of the lineup wasn’t absent in that game, so there is some hope (though they did account for half of the Ks).
|1||P/OF||大関 秀太郎||Oozeki Shoutarou||3||L/L||172||70|
|2||C||加藤 翼||Katou Tsubasa||3||R/R||174||68|
|3||1B||七井 祐吏||Nanai Yuuri||3||R/L||175||73|
|4||2B||石戸 智也||Ishido Tomoya||3||R/R||165||60|
|5||3B||中島 淳||Nakajima Jyun||3||R/R||178||80|
|◎||6||SS||添田 真聖||Soeda Masato||3||R/L||170||67|
|7||LF||相原 光星||Aihara Yuusei||3||R/L||174||74|
|8||CF||鈴木 萌斗||Suzuki Moeto||3||R/L||182||75|
|9||RF||大久保 湧史||Ookubo Yuushi||3||R/R||177||75|
|10||P||篠原 聖弥||Shinohara Seiya||3||R/R||182||68|
|11||P||高山 陽成||Takayama Yousei||2||R/R||176||67|
|12||BN||磯 一輝||Iso Kazuki||2||R/R||176||68|
|13||BN||池沢 快斗||Ikezawa Kaito||3||R/R||173||72|
|14||OF||宇井 健人||Ui Kento||3||R/L||175||67|
|15||BN||小田桐 大||Odagiri Dai||2||R/R||170||70|
|16||BN||丸山 翔平||Maruyama Shouhei||3||L/L||168||68|
|17||BN||原田 祐貴||Harada Yuuki||3||R/R||172||72|
|18||BN||染谷 凛太郎||Soeya Rintarou||3||L/L||174||74|
Moriokadai Fuzoku (10th appearance, 2nd consecutive)
- Location – Morioka-shi, Iwate
- Private school
- Student Body – 554 students (216 female)
- Club Size – 121
- Kantoku – Sekiguchi Seiji (関口 清治)
Road to Koushien
- def Oono 10-1 (7 inn)
- def Morioka Minami 13x-3 (6 inn)
- def Ichinoseki Gakuin 7x-0 (7 inn)
- def Hanamaki Minami 6-3
- def Morioka Dai-yon 9-1 (8 inn)
- def Kuji 9-0
As I mentioned in the bracket review, the pitching for Moriokadai Fuzoku appears to be fairly good (though one would have to adjust it for the level of competition). Ace Hiramatsu Ryou hasn’t really shown any reason to doubt his ability, but then #10 Miura Mizuki (三浦 瑞樹) pitched vs Chiben Gakuen and Riseisha.
Their trajectory seems to be a gradual rise, going from one-and-done to reaching the 3rd round to reaching the quarterfinals earlier this year losing to the eventual runners-up. But if they’re going to make a run, they’ll have to defeat the defending champs.
|1||P/OF||平松 竜也||Hiramatsu Ryouya||3||R/R||182||83|
|2||C||松田 夏生||Matsuda Natsuo||3||R/R||180||80|
|3||1B||菜花 友紀||Nabana Tomoki||3||R/L||163||75|
|4||2B||小林 由伸||Kobayashi Yoshinobu||3||R/R||168||66|
|5||3B||大里 昂生||Oosato Kousei||3||R/L||177||74|
|◎||6||SS||比嘉 賢伸||Higa Kenshin||3||R/L||180||81|
|7||LF||林 一樹||Hayashi Kazuki||3||L/L||173||68|
|8||CF||植田 拓||Ueda Taku||3||R/R||165||73|
|9||RF||三浦 奨||Miura Shou||3||R/L||175||65|
|10||P||三浦 瑞樹||Miura Mizuki||3||L/R||175||65|
|11||P/OF||臼井 春貴||Usui Haruki||3||R/R||175||71|
|12||BN||大宮 海星||Oomiya Kaisei||3||R/R||170||65|
|13||1B||須藤 颯||Sutou Hayate||3||R/L||175||80|
|14||IF||三浦 豪||Miura Gou||3||R/R||163||60|
|15||BN||伊藤 大智||Itou Daichi||2||R/R||165||65|
|16||IF||籔内 海斗||Yabuuchi Kaito||3||R/R||167||80|
|17||BN||松本 跳馬||Matsumoto Shuuma||2||L/L||180||73|
|18||BN||青木 耀平||Aoki Youhei||3||R/L||177||73|
Sakushin Gakuin would have loved to have had a game to get the team warmed up, but they’re playing a tough team right off the bat. They should still be favored to move on, but it’s not going to be easy.
- LF Aihara
- SS Soeda
- CF Suzuki
- 3B Nakajima
- 1B Nanai
- 2B Ishido
- RF Ookubo
- C Katou
- P Oozeki
- LF Hayashi
- 3B Oosato
- CF Ueda
- SS Higa
- C Matsuda
- 2B Kobayashi
- 1B Sutou (#13)
- P Hiramatsu
- RF Usui (#11)
08:00 – First Pitch!
Sekiguchi-kantoku with an early timeout as Hiramatsu struggles right from the siren. A HBP, a loud lineout to left, a low liner over Oosato’s head for a single, and a 4-pitch walk makes it manrui for Sakushin Gakuin.
Hiramatsu gets Nanai to just swing enough on a pitch in the dirt, but that strike 3 also gets away from Matsuda! Everyone advances and like that it’s 1-0 in favor of the defending champs!
Ishido also strikes out in the dirt as well, but this time the ball doesn’t go far away and he’s retired to end the inning.
Oozeki on the other hand is off to a great start. Gives up a nubber for a base hit, but otherwise retires the side. Control looking decent early.
Still a bit of trouble for Hiramatsu, walking the leadoff batter, but he gets Katou to hit one back to him which he turns into a 1-6-3 double play. A ball on the inside corner to Oozeki makes a quick inning.
Oozeki getting himself into trouble in the 2nd. Kobayashi rips a ball to the left side, and while Nakajima can get a glove on it, it deflects away for a base hit. Sekiguchi-kantoku then lets him run and he takes 2nd fairly easily. Throw in a walk to Sutou and Moriokadai Fuzoku could tie the game up.
Hiramatsu though gets under a ball and flies out in foul territory down the LF line leaving it to last batter Usui to get the base hit.
But instead it’s made easier! Kobayashi takes off for 3rd, and he takes that base with time to spare!! Now a wild pitch can bring him home too.
Except that isn’t necessary. Oozeki tries to get a high swinging strike on Usui, but instead he catches it and gets enough to push it through the infield to left for the timely single. 1-1!
Both aces settling down into a groove. Hiramatsu not quite all there with his control, but he’s missing in the right places. Does allow a baserunner each inning, but nothing comes of it.
Oozeki pretty much in the same boat right now. Gives up a base hit to Matsuda after letting the count run full. But an attempt to push the action fails after a sac bunt doesn’t work and then the subsequent runner is thrown out trying to take 2nd.
The game looked like it was going to go into the break tied but Moriokadai Fuzoku had other plans.
Usui collected his 2nd base hit on a grounder that split the SS and 3B. Which by itself wasn’t anything bad, but then Hayashi reaches out on a slider and dumps it to right for another hit. Runners at the corners with one out which can be a problem, but a double play would be all he needs to get out of it.
Instead, a ball goes through the 5-hole of Katou and allows Usui to score giving Moriokadai Fuzoku their first lead at 2-1!
2 outs now after a contact play out at home and Oozeki makes his first real mistake, leaving a ball over the plate for Higa, and he hits it all the way to the wall in right center. Both runners score and now the defending champs face a 4-1 deficit as they hit the break!
Worse for Sakushin Gakuin, they’re giving Hiramatsu easy innings. Nanai drives one to deep center, but Ueda is able to run it down before the wall.
Oozeki too has a quick inning, but at this point Moriokadai Fuzoku doesn’t mind if this game ends quickly.
Sakushin Gakuin should be mounting some type of coordinated rally, and yet the impression I’m getting is that they’re just flailing away and that is surprising.
And with them spinning their wheels Moriokadai Fuzoku looks to put the game away for good. Ueda and Higa with solid back-to-back singles knock Oozeki out of the game as his backup #18 Shinohara comes in. Gets a hard grounder right to 1st which prevents the runner from scoring, but a walk loads the bases.
Shinohara shuts the door striking out Sutou and getting his counterpart to ground out.
But Sakushin Gakuin is down to their final 3 outs…
It seemed like Sakushin Gakuin was just going to go quietly as the first 2 outs were recorded. But then perhaps out of pressure, Hiramatsu hits not 1, but 2 batters and then walks PH Ikezawa to load the bases! It’s not full red alert time, but if a run scores it’s all hands on deck.
Aihara though, hitless on the day finishes hitless as he fliers out to right to end the game. We will not have a repeat winner as Sakushin Gakuin cannot get out of the first round.
And to be honest they didn’t really feel like they were in it, and that run back in the first now looks more like a fluke than anything else. Which it kinda was.
So the book closes on another summer, and perhaps not the one we were expecting, but at the same time not all that surprising – though perhaps the manner of it was.