99th Natsu Koushien – Day 7, Game 1 – Kyoto Seishou (Kyoto) v Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima)

99th Natsu Koushien – Day 7, Game 1 – Kyoto Seishou (Kyoto) v Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima)

(photo courtesy of Mainichi Shinbun)

Kyoto Seishou (3rd appearance, 1st in 19 years)

  • Location – Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
  • Private school
  • Student Body – 1,144 students (439 female)
  • Club Size – 85
  • Kantoku – Matsui Tsuneo (松井 常夫)

Road to Koushien

  • def Jyouyou 10-2
  • def Kyoto Gaidai Nishi 5-4
  • def Doushisa Kokusai 4x-3 (10 inn)
  • def Hanazono 7x-0 (7 inn)
  • def Ayabe 5-1
  • def Ryuukokudai Heian 12-6

Kyoto Seishou comes into Koushien having avoided many of the main players up until the final where it made it completely non-competitive with a 9-run 2nd. The biggest problem is ace Kitayama, who walked 6 in the victory. His performance earlier when he pitched back to back days wasn’t bad (10 K, 2 BB in 7 inn win), but it was easily against poorer competition. There are no apparent holes in the lineup, and the fact they continued to score a decent amount of runs is a plus, even in a lesser competitive Kyoto prefecture, so those can be positives in their favor.

Kamimura Gakuen (4th appearance, 1st in 5 years)

  • Location – Ichiki-Kushikino-shi, Kagoshima
  • Private school
  • Student Body – 1,312 students (1,047 female)
  • Club Size – 61
  • Kantoku – Oda Daisuke (小田 大介)

Road to Koushien

  • def Okinoerabu 9-3
  • def Izumi Chuo 6-1
  • def Kaseda 8-2
  • def Sendai Shoukou 7-0
  • def Shounan 5-4
  • def Kagoshima 5-2

Kamimura Gakuen’s road is similar to that of their opponents in that they had one key matchup, and that was the apparent defacto final between them and Shounan in the semis. Not only did it take extras to beat them, but they also cobbled 4 innings together from their bullpen, which eventually included their SS Kinjyou.

Even still, the pitching only produced 9 Ks to go along with 9 BBs in the final 2 games, making for bad K/9 and K/BB ratios. It also makes sense that they had to patch a pitching staff together given ace Aoyagi cannot finish a game.

Not necessarily a bad thing if you have good relief pitching as well, but it just doesn’t really seem like they do.

To boot, the offense was 19-68 and struck out a whopping 17 times during the final 2 games. Those numbers should easily be expected to get worse here at Koushien.

Because of that, you have to figure the Kyoto champs have to have the edge in this matchup.

Lineups

Kyoto Seishou

  • 2B Yamamoto
  • SS Shiihara
  • 1B Shigeki
  • RF Kawagishi
  • LF Matsushita
  • C Kitada
  • P Kitayama
  • 3B Etou
  • CF Nishihata

Kamimura Gakuen

  • CF Gotou
  • SS Hatsuki
  • C Tanaka Reona
  • 1B Maehata
  • LF Shimanaka
  • 2B Tanaka Yuudai
  • 3B Akasaki
  • RF Kaku
  • P Aoyagi Takahiro

08:00 – First Pitch!

Early on Kitayama continues to struggle. While he’s getting zeroes, his pitch count is clicking up, 15 pitches in the first and 17 in the second inning.

But instead it’s Kyoto Seishou who gets on the board first as Aoyagi struggles, a hit batter and then two walks load the bases. And when Matsushita hits a swinging bunt up the 3rd base line, by the time Akazaki gets to the ball he has no play. 1-0 Kyoto Seishou.

The game is certainly taking the tone from the inept offenses. Neither team able to make much progress, and it seems both teams are playing for a hit as noted above with Kyoto Seishou gets their run. Get fortunate with a couple of walks and get a hit.

That’s why despite the fact they had a run thanks to walks, they bunted twice at the bottom of the order after a leadoff hit.

Kamimura Gakuen though gets a big break in the 6th. Runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 out, Kitayama continues to pitch Yuudai up in the zone. On his 4th pitch up there, Yuudai drives it just out of the reach of the outfielders and to the wall in right center for a 2-run double. Just like that Kamimura Gakuen had the 2-1 lead.

Still with the lead, Aoyagi gets into trouble in the 8th. He walks Kitada and then Kitayama lines a single to left. And then with the count 3-1 to Etou, #11 Nakazato is sent in!

His first pitch walks Etou, flipping the lineup to the top, but it’s #17 Kishida who comes in to pinch hit! But he’s a righty facing a righty. You have to expect pitching out, and he does! Kishida hits it up the middle, but Nakazato catches the soft liner for the 3rd out!

3 outs to go, Nakazato gets 2 quick outs.

PING.

But then Nakazato leaves a fastball belt high just enough over the plate and he drives it out into the crowd in right center! We’re tied at 2-2 just like that!

Uh oh, leadoff hitter Yuudai for Kamimura Gakuen gets on after no one covers 1st.

Then on a bunt by Akazaki, Kitayama goes to 2nd only to have the throw go high and late! Both runners safe!

After a bunt this time, Nakazato has a chance to win the game, but they should take the bat away from him. They aren’t and that’s dangerous, even with a #9 batter.

Chopper up first base line! Etou goes home, but the throw gets Yuudai in the back and he slides home safely! He’s hurt perhaps sliding into Kitada, but gets up as his team celebrates the win!

I understand maybe why you don’t walk Nakazato because the top of the lineup is due next. However, you need the force at home, especially when you can possibly get a double play and I think the walk is the best course to take.

Nonetheless Kamimura Gakuen earns the victory and will move on to face Meihou next in an inter-regional battle. But the little offense, plus the 11 strikeouts they had today is certainly of concern.

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