(photo courtesy of Mainichi)
Sanbonmatsu (3rd appearance, 1st in 24 years)
- Location – Kagawa-shi, Kagawa
- Public school
- Student Body – 484 students (238 female)
- Club Size – 47
- Kantoku – Kusaka Kouta (日下 広太)
Road to Koushien
- def Sakaide Shougyou 4-1
- def Zentsuuji Dai-ichi 12-0 (5 inn)
- def Takamatsu Shougyou 7-6
- def Ootemati Takamatsu 6-5
- def Marugame Jyousai 7-1
Sanbomatsu finally makes it after years of being a seeded team and going nowhere fast. The main hurdle was Takamatsu Shougyou, who reached the Haru finals last year.
The pitching, like many other schools not anything to write home about with ace Satou Keigo handling most of the duties. In the Takamatsu Shougyou game though he struck out just 2 while walking 5 and conceding 6 runs. The team overall batted 37-102 with no glaring holes in the lineup.
Shimonoseki Kokusai (1st appearance)
- Location – Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi
- Private school
- Student Body – 304 students (64 female)
- Club Size – 45
- Kantoku – Yoshida Kouji (吉田 洸二)
Road to Koushien
- def Ube 9-0 (7 inn)
- def Shimonoseki Nishi 8-3
- def Takagawa Gakuen 4-0
- def Ube Shougyou 8-7 (11 inn)
- def Ube Koujyou 4-3
Shimonoseki Kokusai makes their first appearance having defeated 3 of the more difficult teams in Yamaguchi. Again, it is a case of a team not using its ace number in the final instead using #10 Ueno. He struck out 15 in 15.2 IP but walked 7, but those numbers will probably get worse. The offense wasn’t bad hitting 26-75 with production up and down the lineup.
I would probably hand the advantage to Shimonoseki Kokusai based upon the pitching which could have upside, but if those walks numbers get worse all bets are off.
- LF Ookubo
- 2B Tada
- P Satou
- 1B Morita
- RF Kawasaki
- C Watanabe
- CF Uragami
- 3B Shimochi
- SS Kuroda
- CF Shimizu
- SS Kouyama
- RF Yoshimura
- 1B Tsuruta
- 3B Kawakami
- 2B Hamamatsu
- LF Kimura (#11)
- P Ueno
- C Shinagawa
10:30 – First Pitch!
Sanbonmatsu gets on the board thanks to an error. Ookubo singles to right, but Kimura lets the ball get by him allowing Ookubo to reach 3rd. A groundout by Tada brings him in for a 1-0 lead.
What is with all these HR’s? Watanabe takes a hanging slider out to center and Sanbonmatsu leads 2-0!!
It’s becoming increasing clear that while Ueno isn’t walking batters like I thought I might be concerned about, he is leaving balls in the zone instead which might be worse.
Satou attacks the first pitch and doubles down the LF line.
After a walk and a sac bunt, Watanabe brings in another run with a sac fly, and Uragami follows that up with a ripped single up the middle to make it a 4-0 game.
Shimonoseki Kokusai finally gets their first hit and first run in the 5th. In one of Satou’s rare mistakes Hamamatsu doubles to the left field wall. After a stolen base, Ueno singles to left to bring him in narrowing it to a 4-1 deficit.
Rest of game
That doesn’t last long at all.
Ueno walks Yoshimura, then gives up a hard single to Tsuruta. After a failed sac bunt cutting down the lead runner, Hamamatsu singles to right bringing in 1 making it 5-1.
Kimura hits what would have been a tailor-made double play, but Shimochi throws it away at 2nd. Kawakami scores to make it 6-1.
Ueno adds to the lead by hitting one past Satou into center. 7-1 and with no pitching change Shimonoseki Kokusai is effectively sunk.
Except that Sanbonmatsu starts giving up runs. An error by Kuroda booting the ball comes around to score after a single by Yoshimura and groundout by Tsuruta (rightly giving up the run) to make it 7-2.
After Sanbonmatsu adds back that run in the 7th, Shimonoseki Kokusai hangs another run in the bottom half with singles by Ueno and Shimizu for 8-3.
Yoshimura puts another run on in the 8th with a HR, making it 8-4. Satou continues to limit the damage to 1, but those early runs are helping absorb those late runs.
Sanbonmatsu for good measure adds another run in the 9th making it a comfortable 9-4 win. But there will be concerns with Satou and his pitching giving up runs late. They had a buffer this time, but may need it going forward.