99th Natsu Koushien – Day 2, Game 4 – Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi) v Nichidai Yamagata (Yamagata)

99th Natsu Koushien – Day 2, Game 4 – Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi) v Nichidai Yamagata (Yamagata)

(photo courtesy of Kochi Shinbun)

Nichidai Yamagata (17th appearance, 1st in 4 years)

  • Location – Yamagata-shi, Yamagata
  • Private school
  • Student Body – 1,170 students (411 female)
  • Club Size – 82
  • Kantoku – Araki Jyunya (荒木 準也)

Road to Koushien

  • def Yamagata Denpa 8-3
  • def Sagae Kougyou 7-0
  • def Yamagata Minami 5-1
  • def Sakata Minami 5-4
  • def Yamagata Chuo 16-3
No Pos 選手 Name Yr B/T Ht Wt
1 森田 南々斗 Morita Nanato 2 R/R 172 60
2 舟生 大地 Funyuu Daichi 3 R/R 181 83
3 近藤 大成 Kondou Taisei 3 R/L 174 77
4 斎藤 史弥 Saitou Fumiya 3 R/L 175 68
5 板坂 拓海 Itasaka Takumi 3 R/L 168 64
6 鹿野 佑太 Kano Yuuta 3 R/L 183 74
7 後藤 裕弥 Gotou Yuuya 3 R/L 168 64
8 鈴木 琉生 Suzuki Rui 3 L/L 183 84
9 石川 陸貢 Ishikawa Riku 3 R/L 164 70
10 控え 近藤 皓介 Kondou Kousuke 2 L/L 173 87
11 沼沢 拓実 Numazawa Takumi 3 R/L 176 80
12 控え 信田 拓人 Nobuto Takuto 2 R/R 168 80
13 控え 斎藤 好誠 Saitou Kousei 3 R/R 179 85
14 中西 翔 Nakanishi Tsubasa 3 L/L 169 67
15 控え 深瀬 頌太 Fukase Shouta 3 R/L 170 63
16 手塚 隆之輔 Tedzuka Ryuunosuke 3 R/L 173 65
17 沼沢 大輔 Numazawa Daisuke 3 R/L 184 75
18 控え 武田 辰海 Takeda Tatsumi 3 R/R 165 65

Nichidai Yamagata is known for making deep runs from out of nowhere. I saw them in 2006 when they made the Best 8, and then you have their run the last time they were here where they made the semifinals.

They might have another ace in the hole this time around. Morita Nanato didn’t pitch in every game, but put in the final he struck out 12. Now, he gave up 3 runs as well on just 7 hits, so there might be some concern there about his ability to limit damage when in trouble. But he’s not on any draft radars so it’s hard to make anything of it until we see him in action. And it’s not exactly a cushy landing either as they have to face a perennial powerhouse.

But if he’s the real deal, and the offense doesn’t have any holes, maybe they might surprise some people. Or maybe not surprise anyone at all given their history.

Meitoku Giyuku (19th appearance, 8th consecutive)

  • Location – Susaki-shi, Kochi
  • Private school
  • Student Body – 855 students (229 female)
  • Club Size – 134
  • Kantoku – Mabuchi Shirou (馬淵 史郎)

Road to Koushien

  • def Kochi Shougyou 10-4
  • def Kochi Minami 7-0
  • def Okou 2-0
  • def Yusuhara 7-3
No Pos 選手 Name Yr B/T Ht Wt
1 P 北本  佑斗 Kitamoto Yuuto 3 L/L 170 70
2 C 筒井  一平 Tsutsui Ippei 3 R/R 170 70
3 1B 久後  健太 Kugo Kenta 3 R/R 179 68
4 2B 近本  攻生 Chikamoto Kouki 3 R/R 175 67
5 3B 盛田  大将 Morita Taisuke 3 R/L 178 79
6 SS/3B 今井  涼介 Imai Ryousuke 3 R/R 171 67
7 LF 谷合  悠斗 Taniai Yuuto 2 R/R 179 81
8 CF 中坪  将麻 Nakatsubo Ryouma 3 R/L 174 66
9 RF 西浦  颯大 Nishiura Hayato 3 R/L 178 70
10 BN 山口  海斗 Yamaguchi Kaito 3 R/R 181 75
11 P 市川  悠太 Ichikawa Yuuta 2 R/R 183 70
12 IF 島田  直樹 Shimada Naoki 3 R/R 170 64
13 BN 林   大成 Hayashi Taisei 3 R/R 176 67
14 OF 佐々木 仁 Sasaki Jin 3 R/R 178 66
15 BN 貫   優 Nuki Yuu 3 R/R 171 78
16 IF 菰渕  太陽 Komobuchi Taiyou 2 R/L 172 65
17 BN 毛利  志龍 Mouri Shiryuu 3 R/L 174 90
18 BN 斎藤  準弥 Saitou Jyunya 3 R/R 177 71

Meitoku Gijyuku reloads after a semifinal run with a completely new pitching staff. After a slow start, Kitamoto and Ichikawa basically took hold of the prefecture for yet another year. The benefits of having a 100+ man baseball club.

Even still, they had a couple of breaks go their way in the pairings. But the bad loss to Sakushin Gakuin, plus losses to Fukuokadai Oohori and Waseda Jitsugyou over the past year would put into question any ideas of a title run. This part of the bracket though is up in the air so they have a chance to make hay, as it were.

Lineups

Meitoku Gijyuku

  • 3B Komobuchi (#16)
  • CF Nakatsubo
  • RF Nishiura
  • LF Taniai
  • SS Imai
  • 1B Kugo
  • C Tsutsui
  • P Kitamoto
  • 2B Chikamoto

Nichidai Yamagata

  • CF Suzuki
  • LF Gotou
  • 2B Saitou
  • C Funyuu
  • 1B Kondou
  • RF Ishikawa
  • SS Kano
  • P Morita
  • 3B Itasaka

16:30 – First Pitch

1st Inning

Morita doesn’t make that bad of a pitch to Komobuchi, but he goes down and gaps it to right center for a leadoff double.

2 down and Komobuchi on 3rd, Taniai singles through the left side to give Meitoku Gijyuku the 1-0 lead.

Kitamoto facing a lefty-heavy lineup gives up a first pitch single to Suzuki. After a sac bunt, he gets a rare right-vs-right matchup.

But instead of taking advantage of it, Saitou smartly takes a ball on the outer part of the plate down the LF line for a douten double. 1-1.

He then hits the next batter, and in the only other RvR matchup Kondou also delivers a single, this time to right. Manrui and the continued pitching struggles of these teams is shocking.

Kitamoto gets some help when Ishikawa grounds to 1st. Kugo goes home for 1, but can’t get the ball back for an out at 1st.

Doesn’t matter in the end as Kano reaches down for a ball and lines out to center. Again, more action early by both teams.

2nd Inning

Again with the hitting. Kugo this time with a ball the other way, again to the RCF gap for a triple. Tsutsui does the same with another outside pitch and hits an RBI single to right. 2-1 Meitoku Gijyuku.

Nichidai Yamagata though also working with what Kitamoto gives them. Itasaka with a one-out opposite field single, Suzuki draws a walk.

Gotou doesn’t get a hit, but dribbles one back to Kitamoto whose only play is to 1st.

That fortunate play then allows Saitou to get his 2nd timely hit, dumping a pitch low into center for a 2-RBI single. Nichidai Yamagata takes the lead 3-2.

3rd Inning

Morita finally gets to put up a bagel, but it’s still not easy as he still gives up a single and hits a batter. But at least for this inning, Meitoku’s batters are able to do less as perhaps they’re locating just a little bit better.

Kitamoto looking for his first bagel almost has a clean inning, but leaves a ball just over the plate enough for Kano to get around on it and take it down the RF line to the wall for a double. He’s stranded after Morita grounds out.

Both teams with a zero finally on the board as they continue to find the edges of what’s hittable.

4th Inning

A one-out single by Nichidai Yamagata’s Suzuki (who by the way has reached safely in each of his 3 plate appearances), threatens the zeroes being put up but when he tries to take 2nd Tsutsui makes a strong throw to 2nd and combined with a great swipe tag from Imai guns him down.

5th Inning

Nichidai Yamagata threatens to extend the lead right before the break. One out walk to Funyuu and a 2 out single to Ishikawa creates a small chance. But Kitamoto doesn’t give in, jams Kano and gets the groundout to end the inning. We’re at the break and both teams will need to find a way to get their offense started again, but the pitchers have made it very difficult for the batters to put the ball into open space.

6th Inning

Taniai with a rare opportunity for Meitoku Gijyuku drawing a leadoff walk. After a sac bunt, Kugo singles up the middle. However, the ball is hit way too hard and that allows Suzuki to throw home with enough time to get the out. Kugo takes 2nd.

Tsutsui almost immediately then singles through the left side. They once again send the runner home, but this time the ball isn’t hit as hard and that gives him enough time to get home. 3-3 and we have a new ball game.

And a new pitcher it seems as Kitamoto is pinch-hit for by #5 Morita. He’s retired and then makes way for #11 Ichikawa.

There will be new pitchers on both sides as #16 Tedzuka hits for Morita for Nichidai Yamagata.

Ichikawa gives up a blooper to Itasaka, but when the ball is booted he takes off for 2nd. Bad decision unfortunately as Taniai fires to 2nd and guns him down. They go down in order and we’re in a 3 inning ballgame now.

7th Inning

It’s #14 Nakanishi who takes over on the mound. And while perhaps not a fireballer, gets 3 quick infield outs. Same goes for Ichikawa and we’re having a good old-fashioned pitching duel now.

8th Inning

With runs at a premium each baserunner becomes infinitely more important. Nishiura leads off with a ball up the middle that Kano makes a great diving stop, but his throw to 1st is much too late. Leadoff single, but Mabuchi-kantoku not electing to bunt and Taniai flies out to left.

After a walk to Imai, Araki-kantoku calls for time. We’re at a critical junction now and any small mistake can prove fatal.

But it’s Kugo who make the mistake, swinging on the first pitch and grounding into the inning ending 6-4-3 double play!

That great stop means that Nichidai Yamagata has the temporary momentum, and Kondou with a great swing reaches down on a ball and lines a single to center. Leadoff batter on, but not for long as Ishikawa’s bunt is too hard and Ichikawa guns down the lead runner.

2 down and runners on 1st/2nd after a walk to relief P Nakanishi and Ichikawa in his own pinch. But Itasaka lines out to center and we’re effectively in sudden death.

9th Inning

Tsutsui first pitch single gives Meitoku Gijyuku hope to end it in regulation. Ichikawa lays down the bunt, and it’s not a bad one, but Nakanishi charging from the mound quickly gets to it and starts the 1-6-3 double play!

Nakanishi closes out the inning and now his team will look to walk it off.

But it’s the complete opposite as Ichikawa has an easy 1-2-3 inning. We’re off to enchousen!

10th Inning

Meitoku Gijyuku’s batters perhaps catching on. Nakatsubo and Taniai both drive the ball almost to the fence, but for outs.

In the meantime, Nishiura gets on thanks to an error when Kano boots a ball. He steals 2nd and a base hit could almost get him home.

Imai hits a ball to shallow center, Gotou comes charging in and makes a great shoestring catch to retire the side!

Ichikawa 2 quick outs, but then out of nowhere Ishikawa singles up the middle. Then he leaves a fastball over the middle of the plate and Kano turns it around down the 1st base line for a double! The relay throw is flubbed, but the lead runner had shut it down. Still sayonara runner just 90 feet away!

No intentional walk with 1st open, and Nakanishi hits a hard shot to right side! Chikamoto makes a great stop, quick throw to 1st… and it’s good! You had to hold your breath there, but we’re headed to the 11th!

12th Inning

After uneventful 11th, Chikamoto insides outs an inside fastball to center for a base hit. Komobuchi bunts him over. But Nakatsubo, batting 2nd in order, is 0-5 on the day.

And without taking a swing, he draws a walk and gets on base for the first time. That gets Araki-kantoku to call time.

Nishiura reaches down and drives a ball to center! Suzuki tracks it down, but Chikamoto wasn’t tagging up! 2 out and Nichidai Yamagata is about to get out of the jam!

Taniai grounder to the left side, Kano with a great stop in the gap, but he throws it away! It’s not even close to 1st and that allows Chikamoto to come home! 4-3 Meitoku Gijyuku!

After such a well played ballgame, how does Kano throw that ball away instead of eating it? There was no sayonara runner, and the worst that happens is that it’s manrui, 2 out.

Instead it’s 4-3, and now 6-3 when Imai bloops a ball to shallow right. Both runners score having advanced on the error earlier and the error proves costly!

Nakanishi is replaced one batter later after yielding another blooper. #10 Kondou Kousuke gets the final out, but the damage is done.

Ichikawa with 2 quick outs again, but a walk to Kondou and a base hit by Ishikawa brings up Kano, the man who effectively put his team behind.

But he pops out and as Imai secures it, Kano’s team is eliminated in heartbreaking fashion.

While we had close games, this game felt like a proper game. Good pitching, good defense, good hitting as well. But unfortunately the game was decided on one bad decision.

And so Nichidai Yamagata goes home, it’s summer over. It hurts for sure, especially the manner in which they lost, but they played a great game and that’s all you can ask for in the end.

Meitoku Gijyuku gets to advance to play Maebashi Ikuei and it won’t necessarily get markedly easier for that game. Thankfully they’ll have a couple of days to rest up but if today’s performance was any indicator, they might have a chance yet.

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