99th Natsu Koushien – Day 4, Game 1 – Kouryou (Hiroshima) v Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi)

99th Natsu Koushien – Day 4, Game 1 – Kouryou (Hiroshima) v Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi)

(photo courtesy of Mainichi)

Kouryou (22nd appearance, 1st in 3 years)

  • Location – Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima
  • Private school
  • Student Body – 1,346 students (515 female)
  • Club Size – 142
  • Kantoku – Nakai Testuyuki (中井 哲之)

Road to Koushien

  • def Soutoku 9-3
  • def Gion Kita 10-0 (5 inn)
  • def Misuzugaoka 11-0 (5 inn)
  • def Onomichi Shougyou 10-0 (6 inn)
  • def Hiroshima Shougyou 1-0
  • def Hiroshima Shinjyou 9-5

Kouryou’s Hiramoto Ginjirou (平元 銀次郎) apparently has one big mental block and that was against the new power in Hiroshima – Hiroshima Shinjyou. Got hit hard in the spring and the summer, the difference being he got enough run support early. Problem is, even if we take away that game because of the mental block, his strikeout and walk numbers are average, despite his above average velocity.

Combine that with a weak bottom of the order, and what you get is probably an average team.

Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (28th appearance, 1st in 2 years)

  • Location – Nagoya-shi, Aichi
  • Private school
  • Student Body – 1,312 students (789 female)
  • Club Size – 79
  • Kantoku – Takahashi Genicihirou (高橋 源一郎)

Road to Koushien

  • def Toyota Tousen 8x-0 (7 inn)
  • def Nishio Higashi 7-2
  • def Kouzouji 10x-0 (6 inn)
  • def Aikoudai Meiden 6-2
  • def Toyohashi Chuo 14-2 (5 inn)
  • def Eitoku 9-1

A lot of schools were probably relieved when Chuukyoudai Chuukyou kinda fell back into anonymity after their Natsu Koushien win. But if the pattern of their appearances are any indication, they’re back, and the field should be worried once again.

But there’s just not a baseline to be had for this team. They beat the teams that were in front of them, but there just wasn’t really any solid resistance – you can’t even count Aikoudai Meiden anymore as they may not even be considered as a Tier 3 school anymore.

The good news is that the offense didn’t have a real let-down against no-name competition, but the pitching was uneven. You won’t need great pitching if you have good offense, but without knowing the level of offense, the number I’m seeing lead me to think that they might be in trouble if they face upper level competition.

Lineups

Kouryou

  • SS Takada Kiri
  • CF Taniguchi
  • C Nakamura
  • LF Kagawa
  • RF Takada Masaya
  • 1B Oohashi
  • 2B Yoshioka
  • 3B Matsuoka
  • P Hiramoto

Chuukyoudai Chuukyou

  • SS Itou Kousuke
  • 2B Nakatani
  • RF Sawai
  • 1B Ugai
  • LF Motohashi
  • SS Tanimura
  • 3B Suzumura
  • C Suzuki Ryoutarou (#12)
  • P Isomura (#10)

08:00 – First Pitch!

I was unfortunately in a video conference call, so I could watch the game, but not really do much else.

Chuukyoudai Chuukyou had a chance for that 1st inning run when Itou and Sawai both delivered singles putting runners at the corners. But Hiramoto made the heart of the lineup look bad as both Ugai and Motohashi struck out.

Kouryou had an immediate response with with Kagawa reaching on an error to start the 2nd. But after a bunt, he takes off for 3rd on a groundball to the left side and is thrown out.

Chuukyoudai Chuukyou would open the scoring in the 3rd as Hiramoto left a changeup middle-middle and Itou rightly deposited it to the 2nd level in center. Then with two outs, he walks Ugai, who then takes 2nd on a wild pitch. Hiramoto should have gotten out of the inning when Takeda fielded a ball up the middle, but instead he booted it giving them a 2-0 lead.

In the meantime, Kouryou was making little headway against Isomura other than going deep in counts. And so at the break Chuukyoudai Chuukyou still held the 2-0 lead.

But in the 6th all heck broke loose. After striking out the first batter, Isomura is replaced by ace Koumura…

…who then gives up a HR to Nakamura making the game 2-1.

…then a double, and a single to make it tied at 2-2 and without retiring a single batter, Koumura makes way for #11 Itou Ryou…

…who gives up a single to his first batter Oohashi, and in 4 batters a 2-0 Chuukyoudaiu Chuukyou lead turned into a 3-2 deficit…

Chuukyoudai Chuukyou scrambles to find a response. But a leadoff walk is cut down on a failed sac bunt, and despite Itou Ryou reaching on catcher’s interference, Itou Kousuke grounds out to end the inning.

And with Isomura permanently gone and Chuukyoudai Chuukyou having switched to and then switched out of their ace pitcher, things perhaps weren’t going to go well.

And it didn’t…

Because in the 7th Satou, who had come in as a PH in the previous inning, hits s 2-run HR to left making it 5-2. Three batters later, Masaya hits a ball to left center splitting the defense for a triple, making it 6-2.

And if it couldn’t get any worse, it did in the 8th.

Ryou with one out gives up a walk and a single to the bottom 2 batters. Takada Kiri then singles to drive in one for 7-2. Sac fly from Satou makes it 8-2…

Nakamura caps it off with a HR to right, his 2nd of the game, for a 10-2 lead before Itou is relieved by #18 Urano.

Now, by this time #10 Yamamoto had come in for ace Hiramoto. Understandable given his 6th inning. And while he did allow a run in the 8th on three straight singles to make it 10-3, the lead was still comfortable.

The 9th comes around and it gets interesting for a bit.

With one out Yamamoto moves to 1st to make way for #11 Mori. His first two pitches go at 145. And my first thought is, “Their 3rd pitcher throws 145?!”

My second though is, “Either they have a deep staff, or there’s something wrong with him.”

It was the latter. Because a single and a triple to the wall told me all that I needed to know – he was pure speed only.

10-4 now and he hits the next batter on a ball that went 55 feet. At this point I think he needs to be relieved. But he’s not. Surely, if he gives up another runner, he will be.

Mori walks Suzumura, and he’s immediately removed. Probably will never see the field again unless they’re getting blown out.

Yamamoto re-takes the hill, but the risk you run is that his rhythm is disrupted.

And despite striking out the first batter, he walks Urano to bring in a run, then gives up a base hit to Kiri, making it a 10-6 ballgame with 2 outs.

The game gets that little bit more tense with the douten runner at the plate, with of all teams, Chuukyoudai Chuukyou attempting a comeback of Nihon Bunri proportions (which if you remember was against them).

But Ogawara grounds out to 2nd and Kouryou holds on to the 10-6 win.

Couple of points to take away. First you should let a pitcher like Mori stay out there to try and work out of it, but you also need to have it short enough to make sure you don’t give them hope. Second, perhaps you wait for 2 outs instead of 1 to bring him in. I actually don’t have a problem with bringing Mori in, but the manner in which they kept him in I slightly disagreed with.

But, at least they know they only have 2 pitchers they can rely on for their upcoming matches.

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