(photo courtesy of Yahoo!)
Road to the title
- def Sakushin Gakuin (Tochigi) 4-1
- def Matsushou Gakuen (Nagano) 6-3
Not sure what to make of Moriokadai Fuzoku? Well, I don’t know either. They send home last year’s champions pretty handily, and then against a lesser team in Matsushou Gakuen played a much closer game.
But what we did know was that their pitching was going to be hit and miss, despite the fact they had multiple people who threw over 140. They and Maebashi Ikuei had effectively poor men’s Shuugakukan.
That’s not to say it’s not effective. It’s just not as effective as it could be.
Road to the title
- def Touchiku (Fukuoka) 10-4
- def Tsuda Gakuen (Mie) 7-1
Saibi did all that you could ask them to do, they upset what seemed like a strong Touchiku squad, and then dominated a weaker team in Tsuda Gakuen. But Moriokadai Fuzoku should present them with as tough, if not tougher challenge than Touchiku.
Which then circles back to Yatsudzuka. He certainly looked better in the Tsuda Gakuen game, but what is of concern was the Touchiku game. You are probably going to expect the same type of difficulty. If so, then Kageyama needs to be at the ready to come in.
- LF Hayashi
- 3B Oosato
- CF Ueda
- SS Higa
- C Matsuda
- 2B Kobayashi
- 1B Sutou (#13)
- P Hiramatsu
- RF Usui (#11)
- CF Watanabe
- 1B Utsunomiya
- 3B Kameoka
- RF Yatsudzuka (#1)
- LF Yoshioka
- C Hashimoto
- SS Yano
- 2B Itou (#14)
- P Kageyama (#10)
08:00 – First Pitch!
So Saibi took my advice and started Kageyama. There’s just one problem…
Moriokadai Fuzoku is squaring up the pitches…
Hayashi singles to center. Then gives up two loud outs to right.
Higa lines a single to right, and things don’t look good.
Looks worse when Yano fields a grounder from Matsuda only to find the short way at 3rd isn’t available. Manrui and they’re at risk for giving up a run right off the bat.
But Kobayashi strikes out on a low slider and for now Kageyama is out of a jam.
Surprisingly, it’s Saibi who gets on the board first.
With one down, Hashimoto singles back up the middle and Yano draws a walk.
2 down now and last batter Kageyama up and one thinks Hirayama will get out of the pinch.
That wouldn’t be the case though as Kageyama puts bat to the ball and sends it the other way into the left center field gap. It gets by Ueda and to the wall allowing both runners to score for a 2-0 Saibi lead!
Moriokadai Fuzoku gets one of those runs back though, but not of their own doing.
Hayashi singles to leadoff the first and is bunted to 2nd. But Ueda’s grounder to short is airmailed by his counterpart Yano and having gone into the camera well Hayashi is awarded home. And just like that 2-1.
Saibi continues to try and press for more runs in the 4th. They get a leadoff walk, only to be erased by a 5-4-3 double play, and then another walk, but that brings up the #9 batter who grounds out.
But then out of nowhere in the 5th Moriokadai Fuzoku finally strikes.
With one down, Hayashi, Oosato and Ueda all strike with hard singles. Ueda’s ties the game at 2-2.
Higa also makes good contact, but grounds into a fielder’s choice.
Not out of the woods yet, Kageyama walks Matsuda to load the bases.
Kobayashi with a drive to left, and it’s a manrui HR! Morioka not only ties the game, but blows it open with a manrui HR! They lead 6-2!!
Well, I’m not sure how Saibi will respond to it. They’ve had the better of it, but now find themselves behind.
With one out, Utsunomiya hits one to the RF wall for a double. That’s a start.
Then Kameoka walks, and Yatsudzuka hits a ball off of Sutou’s glove to load the bases. Maybe they can get back a run or two here with a base hit.
Yoshioka drives the ball to dead center and it lands on the first level of platforms! He’s just hit a manrui home run of his own?!
We’re tied at 6-6??!!!
Perhaps better for all of us that this inning went without much fanfare. Yeah, I know we had the break but still.
Moriokadai Fuzoku though wants that lead back. Ueda singles to start the inning, but is forced out on Higa’s grounder.
Matsuda takes a letter high fastball to center and with 1 down, they have runners at the corners.
But then they try the suicide squeeze and Kobayashi, of all people and he pops it up. That fails, and with it their scoring chance.
But we’re back at it again. This time Utsunomiya drives a ball down the left field line. Hayashi goes to the foul pole He looks up and it’s gone! Utsunomiya gives Saibi the lead back at 7-6!!
Moriokadai Fuzoku deploys their ace in the hole, Miura Shou, when Miura Mizuki walks. No one’s been able to cut him down yet, and on the 1-1 pitch to Hayashi he steals 2nd.
But Yatsudzuka retires both Hayashi and Oosato stranding him and perhaps their best chance at tying the game!
I didn’t even get a chance to write about this being the last chance for Moriokadai Fuzoku before Ueda drives a ball to left center, clearing the fence for a douten HR!
The 4th HR of the day and we’re all tied at 7-7!
And then things get dicey.
Matsuda singles with one down, followed by Kobayashi and now they gyakuten runner is in scoring possition.
#3 Nabana comes in to hit and you think perhaps Saibi is in deep trouble.
But Yatsudzuka strikes out Nabana meekly on a ball in the dirt, 2 out.
And Hiramatsu strikes out on a check swing and the side is retired, but not before Ueda ties the ballgame!
Saibi can’t do anything in the bottom of the 9th, so we’re headed to enchousen.
An auspicious start to the inning when Miura Shou chops one to the right side and Yatsudzuka can’t beat him to the bag. You already know he’s going to be stealing bases at the first opportunity.
But instead, it’s a wild pitch that sends him to 2nd.
Hayashi then singles to right, bringing him home for an 8-7 lead.
After a bunt that say Yatsudzuka flub the ball, that brought up Ueda.
And just like that the game is probably over. Ueda hits his 2nd HR of the game, giving Moriokadai Fuzoku the 11-7 lead. They would tack on one more and advance by the final margin of 12-7.
Saibi just plain ran out of gas and arms. That’s about all there is to it. They fought as hard as they could, but were unable to close out the game. And as a result the team with the better depth moved on.
Kudos to Saibi for hanging in there, when things once looked dim, but they just fell 3 outs short. That’s about all you can do for them.