99th Natsu Koushien – Day 4, Game 2 – Yokohama (Kanagawa) v Shuugakukan (Kumamoto)

99th Natsu Koushien – Day 4, Game 2 – Yokohama (Kanagawa) v Shuugakukan (Kumamoto)

(photo courtesy of Mainichi)

Yokohama (17th appearance, 2nd consecutive)

  • Location – Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
  • Private school
  • Student Body – 813 students (0 female)
  • Club Size – 65
  • Kantoku – Hirata Tooru (平田 徹)

Road to Koushien

  • def Minami 12-0 (7 inn)
  • def Shuuei 9-2
  • def Busou 6-4
  • def Fujisawa Shouryou 6-2
  • def Souyou 9-1 (7 inn)
  • def Toukou Gakuen 10-6
  • def Toukaidai Sagami 9-3

Yokohama, much like Chuukyoudai Chuukyou, could be on the come again and that will not be good news for a lot of teams. After a 3 year absence, they came back and won one game before exiting. In making a repeat appearance, they went and defeated Toukou Gakuen and Toukaidai Sagami back-to-back.

Yokohama also subscribes to the theory of building a big offense and then find a pitcher who can manage the game. I’ve never liked that method because it means that the offense can’t have a day off. In fact, those two games the scores could have easily been much closer. Not surprisingly, the top of the lineup is the most dangerous in OF Chounan, 3B Yamazaki and CF Masuda.

But in the end watch the pitching. They’ll tell you if they have a chance or not.

Shuugakukan (3rd appearance, 2nd consecutive)

  • Location – Yatsushiro-shi, Kumamoto
  • Private school
  • Student Body – 1,164 students (414 female)
  • Club Size – 100
  • Kantoku – Kajisha Takumi (鍛治舎 巧)

Road to Koushien

  • def Chiharadai 4-2
  • def Kumamoto Nougyou 8-0
  • def Kumamoto Kokufu 9-4
  • def Yatsushiro 7-0
  • def Kyushu Gakuin 3-1

Perhaps due to being hospitalized due to heart arrhythmia at the end of the Kumamoto qualifying, Kajisha-kantoku has indicated that his will be his last year managing the team. It’s sad to see, because while I wanted him to be removed for incompetently managing the pitching staff it was just because of that. Having to see a person retire due to health concerns is something completely different. Hopefully he can get his health in order and if he can come back in some capacity that would be great.

Shuugakukan is certainly weaker now that they’ve lost 2 of their 4 aces, but Taura and Kawabata have made strides and could still make them a title contender.

So it boils down to if Kajisha-kantoku can manage the pair effectively (which is harder because you have no backup should you switch, unlike last year), and if the offense is good enough because they have been known to fold.

Lineups

Shuugakukan

  • CF Takewa
  • SS Hanjyou
  • 1B Kimoto
  • 3B Hirobe
  • RF Taura (#1)
  • LF Yamashita (#9)
  • 2B Watanabe
  • C Kouchi
  • P Kawabata (#10)

Yokohama

  • LF Koizumi
  • 3B Yamazaki
  • 2B Saitou
  • CF Masuda
  • RF Mannami
  • C Fukunaga
  • 1B Ichimura
  • P Shiobara (#10)
  • SS Endou

11:15 – First Pitch!

1st Inning

Takewa getting Shuugakukan off to a quick start hitting a triple to right. Hanjyou with a deep fly to left, Koizumi securing it near the foul pole, but Takewa walks in for 1-0 lead.

And then a line single up the middle, a loud double to left center makes it 2-0.

Ace Taura, starting in RF, pokes a ball through the drawn in infield (necessary because of a wild pitch), makes it 3-0!

Shiobara still reeling as Shuugakukan continue to get hits off of him. Yamashita flies out to right, but Watanabe shoots one past Endou for Shuugakukan’s 5th hit already.

Kouchi strikes out to end the inning, but Yokohama needs to find a response quickly.

2nd Inning

Shuugakukan had a chance to extend the lead further but Takewa wipes out his own walk by trying to take 2nd.

Yokohama got a leadoff runner on in Masuda, but when they try the hit-and-run, it catastrophically turns into a strike-em out, throw-em out double play which kills any momentum.

3rd Inning

Shiobara is finally knocked out after giving up another triple, this time to Hirobe and then throwing away a ball after it had ricocheted off of his 1B making the game 4-0.

They could have had more, but they unwisely send home Yamashita on a base hit to left. He’s meat, and all these outs on the basepaths is giving Yokohama hope.

4th Inning

Yokohama finally gets its first base hit in Yamazaki, but on another hit-and-run Saitou lines out to center and Yamazaki has less than 0 chance of getting back to the bag. Double play. Change.

5th Inning

Yokohama’s 3rd P of game #11 Oyokawa is holding Shuugakukan off the board for the past 2 inning, while finally Yokohama gets on the board, but I don’t know if I would have approved of the method.

Masuda gets a leadoff base hit, and after Mannami walks Masuda is given the green light to steal 3rd! Down 4!

And that leads to the run because Fukunaga flies out to deep right allowing Masuda to come home. If nothing else, the run gives them something to build on, as Kawabata might be getting hittable. Still they’re down 4-1.

7th Inning

With Yokohama to their 4th P in Mannami in the 7th, it starts well with 2 quick outs. But then a single and double threaten to break Yokohama. An intentional walk to load the bases brings up Kawabata, but Kajisha-kantoku already has PH prepared.

But a small procedural mistake proves costly. Hirata-kantoku changes P’s to his ace Itagawa first. Because of that, Kajisha-kantoku changes his PH for the handedness matchup. #15 Hashiguchi comes in and hits a single down the RF line scoring 2 and perhaps putting the nails in the coffin. 6-1.

With Kawabata PH for, that means that unless they have secret weapons, ace Taura will take the mound.

It goes off to an inauspicous start as Hanjyou flubs a grounder for the first out. Taura gets 2 out but then Hanjyou singles to right.

PING.

And that would have been fine if he got the third out. But instead that familiar ping means that something quite different happened. Indeed the outfielders give up near the wall as it goes over the LCF wall for a 3-run HR. It’s now 6-4 and with Kawabata PH for, they’re left with either Taura or one of the unknown pitchers on the roster.

8th Inning

I was already getting that feeling before the HR in the 7th and seeing Yokohama’s defense in the 8th you have to wonder if Shuugakukan will let this slip away.

Well, Taura gives up a one-out walk to Endou right when the lineup flipped back over.

Koizumi strikes out for the 2nd out, and in a complete and utter mistake Endou takes off and then retreats back to 1st and is thrown out. Not even the tying run and you make the 3rd out. Oy.

9th Inning

Yokohama gets one last chance to claw back the margin.

Taura goes 3-1 to Yamazaki before throwing 2 strikes for the 1st out.

Saitou too succumbs to the changeup and that leaves it to Masuda to continue Yokohama’s summer. Instead he flies out to left and the game is over.

It actually looked like Yokohama had built a pitching staff the way they were putting in their pitchers. But it was the first inning that really put them on the back foot. Throw in that mistake at the pitching change and that was enough to do them in. They also were working backwards going from relief staff to the ace instead of the other way around which is dangerous for the reasons seen in this game.

I’d be interested to see how Yokohama does in the fall.

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