(photo courtesy of Mainichi)
Takikawa Nishi (3rd appearance, 1st in 19 years)
- Location – Takikawa-shi, Hokkaido
- Public school
- Student Body – 798 students (444 female)
- Club Size – 50
- Kantoku – Onodera Taiki (小野寺 大樹)
Road to Koushien
- def Iwamizawa Higashi 6-0
- def Kuriyama・Yuubari・Tsukigata・Naie Shougyou 9-4
- no game Asahikawa Jitsugyou 3-3
- called mid 6th, Takikawa Nishi away team
- def Asahikawa Jitsugyou 2x-1 (11 inn)
- def Ohihiro Ootani 6-1
- def Asahikawadai 3-1
- def Shirakaba Gakuen 3-2 (10 inn)
Takikawa Nishi comes back from last year where they lost to Clark Kokusai to defeat 3 major players to win their first title in 2 decades. And that includes a no-game against Asahikawa Jitsugyou that might have done in other teams. But as with some of the other cases we’ve seen, they won low scoring games, and here in extra innings. Hokkaido has started gaining some success, in recent years, but seeing their pitching put out 21 K, 9 BB in 30 innings while their offense went 22-103 in the games italicized above do not fill me with confidence that they will be able to have success at Koushien.
Sendai Ikuei (26th appearance, 1st in 2 years)
- Location – Sendai-shi, Miyagi
- Private school
- Student Body – 2,868 students (1,136 female)
- Club Size – 119
- Kantoku – Sasaki Jyunichirou (佐々木 順一朗)
Road to Koushien
- def Tsukidate 12-3 (7 inn)
- def Sendai Dai-ichi 5-1
- def Kogota Nourin 11-0 (5 inn)
- def Kurokawa 8-4
- draw Touryou 2-2 (15 inn)
- def Touryou 5-1
- def Tohoku 7-2
Sendai Ikuei comes back to Koushien, a place where they have had some modicum of success, but has yet to make it all the way.
This iteration of the team I have questions about. The fact that they drew a game against Touryou, a team probably a couple of levels below them, and then looking at the 10 K/3 BB ratio the final 2 games while the offense went 15-63 isn’t that great either. Combine that with Haseagawa’s relatively poor performance earlier this year at Haru Koushien (vs Fukui Koudai Fukui – CG, 6 ER, 10 H, 6 K, 4 BB), and their chances to win the title are slim.
Both teams seem to exhibit the same properties making it hard to project who might win. Despite Sendai Ikuei’s struggles, I think their ability to create offense will give them an edge.
- SS Nishimaki
- 3B Suzuki Keisuke
- LF Yamada
- CF Sagawa
- RF Sugiyama
- C Watanabe
- 1B Maeda
- 2B Saitou
- P Hasegawa
- CF Hirasawa
- 3B Takami (#12)
- SS Horita
- 1B Yusa
- LF Sano
- RF Okumura
- P Suzuki Manato
- C Hosoya
- 2B Takehara (#5)
09:30 – First Pitch!
Wasn’t expecting that. Keisuke had doubled to right center, and then Yamada drills a ball by Manato to left for a 2-run HR. Already Sendai Ikuei on the scoreboard 2-0.
Things going from bad to worse Leadoff single to start, then on a bunt Yusa shotputs the ball over 1st and the runners move a base.
And then of all things, their #9 batter and ace Hasegawa deposits a changeup to left center, and it’s 5-0 Sendai Ikuei. Oy.
With Takikawa Nishi doing nothing offensively, their only hope (if there was still any), was to keep the deficit at 5. But in the 5th after a leadoff walk, a bunt goes past a charging 1B. Takami, the 2B changes course to backup the ball. No one’s covering 1st so he’s told to go to 2nd.
And then he goes and throws it away.
Runners at 2nd and 3rd, and yet Manato almost got out of the jam. A hard groundout and lineout to right were not enough to get the runners home.
But Saitou singles through the left side, scoring 2 and making it a 7-0 game.
Takikawa undergoes a P change perhaps to get more people in down 7-0.
Another error starts off another flurry of scoring for Sendai Ikuei. Sagawa brings in 1 on a contact play and then Sugiyama triples to right center making it a 10-0 game.
Rest of game
Sendai Ikuei adds on more runs as Takikawa Nishi goes from Suzuki to Takashima to RF Okumura.
Meanwhile it is also Sendai Ikuei emptying their bench using the bottom of the lineup to get the reserves in.
As a result when CF Sagawa takes the hill, he walks 1, hits 2, and then gives up a bases clearing triple to #9 batter Takehara. Still inconsequential as they trail 12-3.
Some nice things for Takikawa Nishi to take away, as while Suzuki struggled on the mound, he makes a fine throw home in the 8th to cut down the runner.
Eventually the game comes to a close with Sendai Ikuei advancing 15-3. Biggest thing to avoid is the letdown after scoring a large amount of runs. In addition, it’s clear Sagawa may not be a viable option on the mound given his performance in the late innings.