89th Haru Koushien – Day 10, Game 2 – Fukuokadai Oohori (Fukuoka) v Houtoku Gakuen (Hyogo)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 10, Game 2 – Fukuokadai Oohori (Fukuoka) v Houtoku Gakuen (Hyogo)

(photo courtesy of Yahoo)

Houtoku Gakuen has yet to give up a run so far this tournament, annihilating Tajimi and demoralizing Maebashi Ikuei though in that second game they scored 4 in the first and nothing else. But despite the fact that they seem dominating, if you exclude that first inning in the game against Maebashi Ikuei there may be signs that they could still be a bit average.

Now, normally seeing them play Fukuokadai Oohori and the grades given pre-tournament, you would think that they would have no shot. But then you take into account their run so far, which has been 3 games long and with their ace (and probably their only pitcher) Miura Ginji with the following lines:

  • Day 3 – v Soushi Gakuen – 9 IP, 149 pitches
  • Day 7 – v Shiga Gakuen – 15 IP, 196 pitches
  • Day 9 – v Shiga Gakuen – 9 IP, 130 pitches

So already, he’s pitched in 3 games and thrown 475 pitches and would be coming back on 0 days rest. In fact he would be pitching on 0 days rest until they are elminated. There is only so much he can do on the mound before the body finally gives. The question only becomes when.

But for now, it appears he will be on the bench, for how long, we don’t know.

Fukuokadai Oohori

  • SS Kubota Yuuya
  • RF Hirano Koutarou
  • C Koga Yuuto
  • 1B Higashi Reo
  • 3B Inamoto Yuusei
  • CF (#11) Nakata Keisuke
  • 2B Saitou Tomoya
  • LF Kabashima Ryuutarou
  • P (#10) Tokuwara Sera

Houtoku Gakuen

  • SS Kozono Kaito
  • CF Nagayama Yuuma
  • 2B Kataoka Kokoro
  • C Shinohara Shouta
  • 1B Kantou Yuusuke
  • 3B Ikegami Hayate
  • LF (#17) Nagao Ryouya
  • RF (#7) Okamoto Sou
  • P Nishigaki Masaya

11:00 – First Pitch!

For Fukuokadai Oohori the start offensively couldn’t have gone any worse. Nishigaki strikes out the side, Tokuhara retires the first batter then walks the next 2. Toss in a stolen base and a blooper to no mans land in right center and it’s quickly 1-0 Houtoku Gakuen.

That gets things moving. #8 Nishi comes in to take over on the mound and Miura is sent to warm up. He gets them out of the jam, but even if he is able to hold serve, the offense will have to do better than 5 Ks in the first 2 innings…

Unfortunately however, Houtoku’s offense gets to Nishi first. 4 In the blink of an eye the top 4 of the lineup gets base hits culminating in a Shinohara triple down the RF line, making the score 3-0 (Nagayama was thrown out going from 1st to 3rd). Ikegami singles later to make the lead 4-0.

And yet, Nishigaki almost lets them back into the game. 2 down in the 4th, he hits higashi, walks, Inamoto and then hits Nakata to load the bases. A base hit here cuts the lead in half, a walk at least scores a run.

Instead, Saitou swings on a 3-1 pitch and grounds to short. Side retired.

5th inning and things continue to happen to Houtoku Gakuen. Kabashima gets a leadoff hit and is bunted to 2nd. No big deal until Kubota hits a ball to short and Kozono just about whiffs on the ball. It trickles into the outfield and Kubota scores to make it 4-1.

Hirano walks, and is there something there for Fukuokadai Oohori?

Koga really works the count, runs it full, but just can’t check his swing and goes down. Higashi pops out early and nothing more results from it.

Houtoku Gakuen jumps on that momentum in the 5th. Nishi gives up a single to Kataoka and then a double down the line to Shinohara puts more runners in scoring position. A wild pitch and then a single brings both runners home, extending the lead to 6-1. With the break coming this should allow Houtoku Gakuen to consolidate the gains and move on to the 2nd half of the game.

Except they don’t.

Inamoto with a leadoff single. Then Saitou and Kabashima both single past a scrambling Kataoka and a run scores to make it 6-2. With only one down there’s another chance to claw back the lead. However, Nishi grounds into a double play and again an opportunity is lost.

Not only that, but when C Koga takes the mound, it’s clear Miura won’t be coming in to save them. Houtoku Gakuen adds on another run in the 6th to restore the margin at 7-2. There doesn’t appear to be a path to victory for Fukuokadai Oohori. Because getting 1 run at a time just won’t be enough. It was enough to knock out Nishigaki as 3B Ikegami took the hill, but 7-3 with 2 innings isn’t going to cut it.

The final score ends up being 8-3 for Houtoku Gakuen with Miura never having taken the mound. That’s 2 kantoku’s now that have made a conscientious decision not to start their pitchers who certainly have been overworked over the last couple of games.  Whether this is the start of a welcome trend I don’t know, but two teams have lost in part because of their principles, and you can’t fault them for that.

89th Haru Koushien – Day 10, Game 1 – Riseisha (Osaka) v Moriokadai Fuzoku (Iwate)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 10, Game 1 – Riseisha (Osaka) v Moriokadai Fuzoku (Iwate)

(picture courtesy of Mainichi – Let it out, you deserved it)

Well, we’re here in the quarterfinals or block finals, however you want to look at it. Riseisha and Moriokadai Fuzoku take the field in the first time in what seems like ages, but is really 3 days.

Riseisha is makes itafte defeating Nichidai-san in the opening day. However, their 1-0 win over Shiritsu Kure does put things a little bit into question.

Moriokadai Fuzoku’s performances seem like a tale of two teams, but perhaps put in context it isn’t. There was their ineffective pitching matchup in the first against Takaoka Shougyou, and then their outlasting of former champs Chiben Gakuen.

The results seems contradictory, but in both cases these were battles of teams who were either average, or slightly above average. So in those types of games there is even more of a razor thin margin wherein the pendulum can swing in any direction, so in the first game, both pitchers happen to be ineffective. In the 2nd game the pitching was on early, but then Chiben Gakuen faltered late. So the scores may be strange, but the team is what it is probably. Average.

Sadly, this isn’t going to cut it against someone like Riseisha. We think. Shiritsu Kure made it seem like there’s a chance, but today is their chance to prove that that game was more of a fluke than anything else.

Riseisha

  • RF Ishida Ryuuji
  • 2B Mizobe Touki
  • 3B Yasuda Hisanori
  • LF Wakabayashi Shouhei
  • 1B (#17) Hamauchi Taiyou
  • P Takeda Yuu
  • CF Tsutsui Taisei
  • C Katayama Yuu
  • SS Nishiyama Koutarou

Moriokadai Fuzoku

  • CF Ueda Taku
  • LF Hayashi Kazuki
  • 3B Oosato Kousei
  • SS Higa Kenshin
  • 1B (#13) Sutou Hayate
  • C Matsuda Nao
  • RF Usui Haruki
  • P (#10) Miura Mizuki
  • 2B Kobayashi Yoshinobu

08:30 – First Pitch!

Miura was cruising along in the 1st, but that was until he left a fastball for Yasuda who cleared it over Ueda’s head for a 2-out double. But Wakabayashi hits a hard grounder to short and that’s that for now.

As expected Moriokadai Fuzoku is a bit out of it’s level right not against Takeda. They’re making contact, but so far have been routine plays for the Riseisha defense.

Miura is holding his own for now as Riseisha seems to be really attacking early in counts. Though, when Katayama gets a single to  right, both base hits for Riseisha have been on 3-1 counts.

Perhaps the other batters are picking up on this as Ishida in his 2nd AB draws a walk. Interestingly, Okada-kantoku calls for a bunt even with 1 out and Mizobe lays it down.

With 1st base open and Yasuda coming up to bat, already with a double, it’s no surprise he’s walked. It’s manrui for cleanup hitter Wakabayashi, but as quickly as he’s up he routinely flies out to right. Inning over, Riseisha wastes a good chance.

In fact Riseisha continues to play this small ball when they do get baserunners. They do so in the 4th when Hamauchi gets a leadoff hit. But they can’t when Mizobe gets a 2-out base hit.

Now, Miura should have gotten out of the inning when Yasuda grounded to short, but with Kobayashi perhaps anticipating the putout too much, lets the ball slip by into right. Things get even more compounded when Miura walks Wakabayashi despite being ahead in the count.

It all culminates with a pitch that goes through the legs of Matsuda.  Mizobe scores and Riseisha has the 1-0 lead.

Hamauchi is walked to reload the bases for a force on any base, but again, there is nowhere to put Takeda.

First pitch curve, Takesda lines it past a diving Oosato. 2 runs score and Riseisha has broken the gates open at 3-0.

Tsutsui doubles to deep left center scoring two more, making the game 5-0. Why they were bunting in earlier innings baffles me.

If that weren’t bad enough that an error led to all 5 runs, perhaps the fact that they’re being no-hit by Takeda makes things just a little worse. Ok, a lot.

Yasuda continues to rake at the plate, connecting on another double, this time to right center adding yet another run to the lead. 6-0 and the only question is if Moriokadai Fuzoku can get a base runner.

Well, the answer is yes, kinda. First pitch to Ueda in the 7th we hear the distinctive ping. Wakabayashi barely gives chase, and just like that all the things Takeda could have been going for are gone. 1 pitch, 1 run, 6-1.

That pretty much wraps up any remaining drama in the game. Riseisha tacks on a couple more runs and the final margin stands at 8-1. Takeda dutifully finishes the game, though he probably shouldn’t have.

Riseisha wins going away, but all that bunting with runners on really concerns me. All a team might do is intentionally (unintentionally) put a runner on base with 1 out. If they bunt the runner over, there’s 2 outs. I’d gladly take those chances. What you can’t do is allow a 2-out baserunner because then they don’t have a choice. It’s just bizarre.

Moriokadai Fuzoku was expectedly outmanned in this game, though lucky to get a HR because that might have been the only way they were going to score a run.

Anyways, Riseisha to Best 4. No surprise there.

89th Haru Koushien – Day 9, Replay Game 2 – Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui) v Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 9, Replay Game 2 – Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui) v Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

(picture courtesy of Daily Sports)

Fukui Koudai Fukui had come back from down so far and was a step away from winning the game, and on just one brainfart, the game was tied and the deadlock wasn’t to be broken.

It’s worse for Fukui Koudai Fukui because Suriishi played 11 innings and in the last 4 turned it over to a pitcher who wasn’t depended on during the fall, was called into duty and nursed the game home, but I’m not sure if he can do it again, but he might have to.

Actually, both teams are not only going with new Ps to start the game, but also different lineups.

Fukui Koudai Fukui

  • SS (#4) Kitagawa Tomoya
  • CF Yamauchi Takafumi
  • 1B Inoue Kaito
  • LF Yamagishi Asahi
  • RF (#17) Satou Yuuto
  • C (#13) Shimatani Genki
  • 2B (#15) Oomori Momoto
  • 3B (#16) Yamaoka Shouma
  • P (#11) Katou Isami

Kendai Takasaki

  • SS (#4) Asato Jyura
  • LF Onodera Daiki
  • 1B Yamashita Kouta
  • 3B Toguchi Taisei
  • RF (#14) Takayama Ryoutarou
  • 2B (#18) Ookoshi Koutarou
  • CF Imai Yuusuke
  • C Oogaki Rentarou
  • P (#13) Mukai Yoshiki

13:20 – First Pitch!

Mukai pretty much average velocity wise, mid-130s fastball with a reported changeup to go with the standard slider/curve combo.

He gets into early trouble with 1 down as after a base hit, a grounder from Kaito goes off Ookoshi and trickles into right. That unlucky break is returned back though when after a pop out to Oogaki, Satou hits a hard grounder to the left side that hits Yamauchi on his way to 3rd.

Kendai Takasaki gets their own chance right off the bat. Asato turns around a fastball for a single to right, steals 2nd and then advances to 3rd when Onodera directs a ground ball to 1st.

Next thing you know Yamashita hits a ball back up past the drawn in infield and it’s 1-0 Kendai Takasaki.

But with 2 down, it looks like the outcome may already be decided as on three consecutive pitches, Takayama, Ookoshi and Imai get base hits, rapidly increasing the lead to 4-0.

We knew Fukui Koudai Fukui was hesitant to sub out their ace, and perhaps there was good reason for it. On the other hand Mukai isn’t exactly glove perfect, but his breaking pitches have good movement that it fools the Fukui Koudai Fukui batters enough to get the outs he needs – though not without the occasional walk.

The facade finally falls apart in the 4th. Having already given up a single and a triple to make the score 6-0 with no out and no on, Mukai grounds to 2nd to end the inning. Or it would have had it not rode up Oomori’s arm and sky high.

After that, the next two batters get singles to load the bases. #12 Nakata comes in, only to give up a grand slam to Yamashita (his 2nd GS of the tournament). 10-0.

Fukui Koudai Fukui avoids the shutout thanks to an error in the 9th, but a baserunner forgetting the number of outs makes the final score stand at 10-2.

They were hard pressed to come back in this game, and even more so when Suriishi was stood down. The result then was understandable as Kendai Takasaki led wire-to-wire. Plus, they saved their other pitchers for the stretch run.

89th Haru Koushien – Day 9, Replay Game 1 – Shiga Gakuen (Shiga) v Fukuokadai Oohori (Fukuoka)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 9, Replay Game 1 – Shiga Gakuen (Shiga) v Fukuokadai Oohori (Fukuoka)

(photo courtesy of Asahi)

Well, we’re onto our first of our two replay games scheduled today.  This game wasn’t anything special, just a very uneventful draw where neither team really gained an advantage. Not like the games that happened afterwards and the nonsense that ensued.

The problem now is that Fukuokadai Oohori’s Miura is behind the 8-ball. he pitched all 15 innings and is taking take the mound again. Meanwhile, Miyagi and Tanahara split duties and could be better off in the rematch. In fact, they’re sending #12 Mitsumoto to the mound to start this game.

It’s weird because this rule of 15 innings max came about because of Daisuke Matsuzaka and his ridiculous run which included a 17 inning complete game. But the silly part is that you may stop it at 15 innings, but a team isn’t going to have a 2nd ace generally so that pitcher is going to pitch 15 plus another 9. How does that make any sense?

Shiga Gakuen

  • C Gotou Katsuki
  • SS Kohama Ryouji
  • 1B Chinen Ryoutomo
  • LF Takei Ryuuji
  • CF Shindou Tsukasa
  • 3B Yamamoto Shunpei
  • P (#12) Mitsumoto Shougo
  • RF Tai Kaishuu
  • 2B Nakanishi Ryouta

Fukuokadai Oohori

  • SS Kubota Yuuya
  • RF Hirano Koutarou
  • C Koga Yuuto
  • 1B Higashi Reo
  • 3B Inamoto Yuusei
  • CF Nishi Hayato
  • 2B Saitou Tomoya
  • LF Kabashima Ryuutarou
  • P Miura Ginji

11:00 – First Pitch!

So that didn’t go well for Miura. Hits the first batter, goes to 2 full counts afterwards, and gets a terrible break when Chinen’s chopper somehow finds the divot left by Gotou heading to 3rd, and takes a high hop past Kubota. That scores Gotou and Shiga Gakuen is up 1-0.

But unfortunately Mitsumoto isn’t effective on the mound either. After getting a K (good), he walks Hirano, then gives up 2 clean singles to load the bases. Topping it off, he leaves a changeup in the zone and Inamoto drives it into no man’s land in right center, falling just before the wall. 2 runners score (Higashi is thrown out at home), and now Fukuokadai Oohori leads 2-1.

That lead doesn’t last long either. Miura certainly not sharp and gives up not only a single to Tai, but then leaves a fastball middle-middle to last batter Nakanishi and he knows what to do with that. RCF gap for a triple and a 2-2 tie.

It’s becoming readily clear that the pitching is shot on both sides. Mitsumoto, while having not pitched 2 days ago, is ineffective. He gives up a walk and two more base hits, the latter one by Hirano scoring the base-on-balls Saitou and it’s Fukuokadai Oohori in the lead again 3-2.

There was a small lull in the action as both teams perhaps started swinging at anything in the zone thinking it could go for a base hit. Eventually the batters adjusted to the relative improvement in pitching and Shiga Gakuen would be the ones to put up a crooked number.

Tai, having the most success, gets his 2nd hit in as many ABs with a single back up the middle.

Then with 2 down he leaves a changeup over for Kohama which goes for a base hit, and then in trying to blow a 140 fastball by Chinen instead he puts bat to ball and singles to right. Tie game again 3-3.

Yamaguchi-kantoku has seen enough of Mitsumoto to send him out there again with the game tied and #11 Miyagi enters the game.

Whoops.

After a one out walk to Hirano, Koga swings at the first pitch and drives it to left. Takei goes back to the wall, and is he looking up?

That’s gone!

Koga, first pitch HR and Fukuokadai Oohori retakes the lead 5-3!

Shiga Gakuen almost pegs back one of those runs. After Yamamoto is plunked on the wrist and bunted to 2nd, Tai hits a dying liner to right. Hirano charges in, dives and reaches out the glove, and just gets under it for the 3rd out.

Shiga Gakuen doesn’t get a chance after that. Miura closes out the game as Fukuokadai Oohori advances with a 5-3 win.

Well in this case, the pitching depth or the stamina of the pitchers can be the main determinant as teams have to go further into their bullpen or use tired pitchers. in Shiga Gakuen’s case, they went deeper into their bullpen and was not rewarded. For Fukuokadai Oohori, Miura lasts the 9 innings and still showed good control at the end – but in reality how many more of those can he do in consecutive days?

89th Haru Koushien – Day 8, Game 3 – Osaka Touin (Osaka) v Shizuoka (Shizuoka)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 8, Game 3 – Osaka Touin (Osaka) v Shizuoka (Shizuoka)

(picture courtesy of Asahi)

Runs, runs and more runs.

Both of these teams come into this game off blowout wins. It meant they weren’t put under pressure, but it also means that we’re not really in the know as to how strong each of these teams are.

You could look at regional success, but what we’ve learned is that even that isn’t a good indicator for a team. I mean, take a look at what Shiritsu Kure did to Riseisha, and then look what Osaka Touin did to Ube Koujyou, and then think about the prefecural semifinal and what Riseisha did to Osaka Touin. Sure, that last game mentioned wasn’t an elimination game, but it forced the loser into one, and I don’t care what you think, you don’t want to have to go there, no matter how good you are.

So then I go back to grades. Shizuoka probably has the edge in pitching, but Osaka Touin has the edge on hitting. Osaka Touin’s pitching isn’t great, but neither is Shizuoka’s offense. In that case, I think the pressure is all on Shizuoka. Can Ikeya stave off the Osaka Touin offense? Can their offense get to Osaka Touin’s pitching?

Osaka Touin

  • CF Fujiwara Kyouta
  • LF (#12) Miyazaki Jinto
  • 1B (#5) Nakagawa Takuya
  • RF Yamamoto Dante Musashi
  • SS (#7) Neo Akira
  • 3B (#13) Yamada Kenta
  • C (#3) Fukui Shougo
  • 2B Sakanoshita Haruto
  • P (#11) Yokogawa Gai

Shizuoka

  • SS Muramatsu Kaito
  • CF Maeda Yuuta
  • 3B Ooishi Teppei
  • LF Naruse Kazuto
  • C Mori Koutarou
  • 2B Fujita Seiya
  • 1B Inazumi Rui
  • P Ikeya Souta
  • RF Koyanagi Ren

14:20 – First Pitch!

Well, any hopes of having a regular game are gone. Even some scoreless innings. But perhaps Osaka Touin is just getting the runs in now so we can get zeroes the rest of the game.

I’m just going to go through what happened, because it was just me looking at the screen shaking my head.

  • Fujiwara – Single to center
  • Miyazaki – Walk
  • Nakagawa – Sac bunt, Ikeya throws it away 2 runs score. 2-0.
  • Yamamoto – Walk
  • Neo – Sac fly to left. 3-0.
  • Yamada – Bloop single down RF line
  • Fukui – Single to center, 4-0.
  • Sakanoshita – K
  • Yokogawa – Slicer over SS for a single, 6-0.
  • Fujiwara – K

Well, that’s over.

No? K. Just let me know when the nonsense ends.

Wait, it doesn’t?

So Shizuoka comes to bat and then this happens:

  • Muramatsu – Walk
  • Maeda – Sac bunt, Yokogawa boots ball near 1B line.
  • Ooishi – Sac bunt, Yokogawa picks it up looks to 3B, throw to 1B late.
  • Naruse – Double to left, clears bases. 6-3.
  • Mori – Passed ball, K
  • Fujita – Single through right side, 6-4.
  • Inazumi – Wild pitch @ 0-2
  • #10 Kagawa replaces Yokogakwa
  • Inazumi (cont) – Double to left center, 6-5.

Really? Are we really going there?

  • Ikeya – Grounder up middle, great stop and throw by Sakanoshita
  • Koyanagi – Single to center, 6-6.

I guess so.

  • Muramatsu – Single through left side.
  • Maeda – Flyout to left. Change.

So 6 is the new 0, got it.

Ikeya has a 1-2-3 2nd inning, though Yamamoto puts up a fight for the 3rd out.

And then Osaka Touin goes to its ace in Tokuyama to start the 2nd.

Are we really going to go through this again? K.

  • Ooishi – Walk
  • Naruse – Double over CF to wall.
  • Mori – Line single to RF, 7-6.
  • Fujita – Walk
  • Inazumi – K looking, fastball inside
  • Ikeya – Sac bunt, force at home (Sure, I’m already shaking my head, but why? Both pitchers are struggling, just make Tokuyama work)
  • Koyanagi – Lineout to right near RF line

So in the end it was 1 run, but why squeeze when both teams are tripping all over themselves is beyond me. It makes the game go faster so there’s that.

After that it takes me a while to reset my mind to the game. The silliness that ensued made me wonder if it was going to continue. It didn’t, but at the same time, nothing really happened at all.

In fact until the break, there was just 1 base hit combined on both sides. Almost like the two teams had a truce.

If they did though, perhaps it was only until the break because then both Yamada and Sakanoshita both collected peculiar base hits. Yamada with a blopper landing on the RF line or close to it, and Sakanoshita with a high chopper that left Ikeya with no play. Ikeya gets out of the inning but perhaps the action will pick up once again.

It does in Shizuoka’s Lucky 7.

Naruse walks, Mori lays down the bunt, but Tokuyama goes to 3rd and Yamada anticipates the tag and doesn’t secure the ball. Runners at the corners, Fujita singles to right and the lead is 2 now at 8-6.

Ikeya fails to bunt and move the runners over, leaving it to Koyanagi. He walks and the lineup turns over. Nishitani-kantoku calls time. He knows that at this point he’s going to his position players. SS Neo was warming up earlier.

But Matsumura chases a high and outside fastball. Side retired and Osaka Touin chasing a not-impossible 2 runs.

Well, there goes that.

Neo singles through the left side. Yamada almost has an identical hit. But then out of nowhere Naruse flubs the ball and that allows Neo to score. 8-7.

Shizuoka maybe getting lax with all these clean innings.

Fukui bunts Yamada along to try and tie the game, which Sakanoshita does with yet another single through the left side. 8-8 and Shizuoka has to really be careful.

18 Nishijima to hit for Tokuyama meaning that Neo will take the mound.

And now Ikeya hangs one ahead 1-2! Nishijima drives it to deep right for an RBI triple and Osaka Touin has their first lead since the 1st, 9-8! Ikeya keeps it there, but now Shizuoka finds themselves on the back foot with precious little time left.

But, they build something in the 8th.

One down, Ooishi gets a walk. Naruse follows that up with a clean single through the left side. A base hit ties the game.

However, instead they try the hit and run, not once, but twice. And on the second attempt, Mori swings and misses at a ball above eye-level for strike 3 and then Nakagawa throws out Ooishi at 3rd for a double play and side retired.

That was completely uncalled for and a sign of panic.

With that Osaka Touin scored 2 in the 9th to lead 11-8 and effectively seals the game away.

The game started completely ridiculous and ended in almost the same fashion. But really no matter the silliness, the cardinal sin was the unnecessary hit-and-run in the 8th which cost them their only chance to come back.

Yet another kantoku who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Today is done. We have 2 replay games tomorrow. Hopefully the silliness will end sometime.

List of kantoku’s who don’t know what they’re doing:

  • Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei – Nakai-kantoku
  • Shuugakukan – Kajisha-kantoku (on probation)
  • Meitoku Gijyuku – Mabuchi-kantoku
  • Shizuoka – Kuribayashi-kantoku
89th Haru Koushien – Day 8, Game 2 – Waseda Jitsugyou (Tokyo) v Toukaidai Fukuoka (Fukuoka)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 8, Game 2 – Waseda Jitsugyou (Tokyo) v Toukaidai Fukuoka (Fukuoka)

(picture courtesy of k-bass.com)

That’s right. He knows you’re watching him.

Waseda Jitsugyou survived their opening game against Meitoku Gijyuku, though if Meitoku Gijyuku has a competent kantoku, they would have pulled away for the win instead of continuously frittering it away. Eventually Waseda just said, “Ok, I guess we’ll take it if you don’t want it”, and here we are.

On an unrelated note, I have 3 kantokus who at this point should not be managing (though Kajisha-kantoku today made a move when he should have, even if Kawabata was ineffective)

Now, people know I don’t like Waseda because powerhouse (and remember that its the school not the people). Though in this case if the media wouldn’t just fill the pages with Kiyomiya I would probably mind less.

I get it, he’s been a great player since Little League when he made people here stand at attention. But the coverage feels worse than what it was for Saitou Yuuki when he moved on to Waseda Daigaku. I’m just ready for him to move on.

The problem is that Meitoku Gijyuku was the best chance at defeating Waseda because they had the offense to do it. But Waseda’s opponent today, Toukaidai Fukuoka, does not have that. Instead their strength is pitching which is good, but you can’t win if you don’t score runs. And they scored both of their runs via errors – and you can’t depend on that.

Maybe Toukaidai Fukuoka can hang in there for a little bit, but I think eventually Waseda Jitsugyou will just run away with it.

Waseda Jitsugyou

  • CF Fukumoto Shou
  • RF (#16) Yokoyama Yuuto
  • 1B Kiyomiya Koutarou
  • 3B Nomura Daijyuu
  • LF Konishi Yuuki
  • C Yukiyama Kenta
  • 2B Kitsunai Jyunji
  • P Hattori Masaki
  • SS Noda Yuuto

Toukaidai Fukuoka

  • CF Ariyasu Seima
  • 2B Kiyomizu Yuudai
  • C Kitagawa Hozumi
  • LF Endou Shuuto
  • 3B Hoshino Kouki
  • 1B Takamura Issei
  • RF (#17) Nakayama Seiya
  • SS Hashimoto Naoki
  • P Yasuda Daisuke

11:39 – First Pitch!

Can’t tell early if Yasuda is attacking the hitters or the batters are attacking his pitches. Either way, for the 1st inning, two quick outs leaving the bases empty for Kiyomiya whom Yasuda pitches inside and high and he weakly pops out to 3rd.

As for Toukaidai Fukuoka, they’re immediately taking the wrong tack against Hattori, whom the stat box shows he had 5 walks and 0 strikeouts. Instead of letting him struggle, they are swinging away. And even when they are gifted a base runner when Kiyomizu gets hits. First pitch is a 4-6-3 double play. The biggest problem is Waseda is more than willing to play this aggressive, sped up game simply because they have better hitters than you and they can ride out innings of scoreless ball.

Toukaidai Fukuoka gets a leadoff runner in the 2nd when Endou singles back up the middle. But then there’s a bunt, a groundout to short and a groundout to short and next thing you know it’s 3 outs, change.

Top 3 and Waseda gets on the board first. Kitsunai with a double down the RF line. Bunted over to 3rd, and had to hold when Noda grounded to short.

But on a grounder from Fukumoto, Kiyomizu had time and yet threw it high and into the camera well. Mistake made, Waseda Jitsugyou up 1-0.

Bottom 3rd, Yasuda tries to help his own cause, doubling the other way down the left field line. He’s able to take 3rd on a wild pitch and Ariyasu earns a walk. He steals second without a throw, but Kiyomizu can’t make up for his error as he goes down swinging.

Kitagawa now walks, and not there’s a small stint of patience from the Toukaidai Fukuoka lineup.

Spoke too soon. Endou swings on the first pitch and flies to right. Yokoyama going back towards the wall, leaps, but it just falls over his head. Has to play the high hop off the wall and all 3 runners score as Toukaidai Fukuoka strikes back to lead 3-1!

In the 4th Toukaidai Fukuoka adds another run. After a 1-out single by Nakayama and a wild pitch sending him to 2nd, Hattori is replaced by #11 Ikeda, despite striking out Hashimoto.

On the first pitch, Yasuda drives it to center. Fukumoto freezes and then scrambles back, but is too late. It goes over his head for a triple and a 4-1 lead for Toukaidai Fukuoka.

5th inning, this strategy of theirs continues as Ikeda struggles on the mound. Oozumi first pitch single to lead off the inning. A walk and sac bunt puts runners in scoring position. Yet on a checks swing ball in fair play, Oozumi comes home for some known reason and is thrown out. Another walk puts it at manrui again, but Ikeda just needs 1 out. And he gets it when Yasuda grounds out to short.

We’re at the break and I’m surprised how Toukaidai Fukuoka has been able to hit the Waseda pitching in recent innings. At the same time, they could have followed the patience card to a couple more walks and possibly a run. They may be up, but as Meitoku Gijyuku has showed, no lead is safe.

Top 6th, one down for Kiyomiya. He hits a sky high ball into right center. Ariyasu and new RF Maehara converge near the wall. Suddenly Ariyasu motions to Maehara and the next thing you know the ball falls in between them. Meanwhile Kiyomiya is in with a triple as the outfield forgets how to call for a ball.

But a grounder to short freezes Kiyomiya for the 2nd out, and then a grounder to 2nd ended the inning.

The next thing you know, everything for Waseda just goes to heck. I just kinda watch as it all crumbles down:

  • Hashimoto – Single to right
  • Yasuda – Sac bunt
  • Ariyasu – Line single to left
  • Oozumi – Single through the left side, 5-1.
  • #13 Akamine relieves Ikeda
  • Kitagawa – Ariyasu steals 2nd, base hit to center, 6-1.
  • Endou – Double to left center, 8-1.
  • Hoshino – Single to left, 9-1.

Well, this game is somehow over.

Or not.

One down, Kitsunai draws a walk. Then with #10 Nakagawa hitting for RP Akamine, he grounds to 3rd, except Hoshino throws it wide of 1st and everyone’s safe.

And then Noda with a blooper that Oozumi is late to get back in and suddenly it’s manrui. Well, a good base hit here and the next thing you know Kiyomiya will be up and things could be interesting.

Instead Fukumoto just gets a sac fly and Yokoyama grounds out. 9-2, but I don’t think I need to tell you they needed just a little more than that.

Maybe they heard me.

  • Kiyomiya – Double down RF line
  • Nomura – Single through left side, 9-3.
  • Konishi – Single to right, 9-4.
  • Yukiyama – Grounder to 2nd, toss to 2nd, SS whiffs on ball (E6)
  • Kitsunai – 1-4-3 double play

Wait. Why did Kiyomizu take that instead of Hashimoto? Is it because of the error?

  • Ishii – High chopper to right side, Kiyomizu charges, but can’t field ball. Base hit, 9-5.
  • Noda – Single to center
  • Fukumoto – Grounder to 2nd, Kiyomizu takes it himself to 2nd instead of flipping to short, is late, all safe.

What? SS Hashimoto makes one error and now you’re not going to go to him at all? Maybe he was late in covering the bag. Might have looked like it. But boy that looks bad.

PH #9 Nishida up with Kiyomiya on deck. If somehow it gets back to Kiyomiya all bets are off. Toukaidai Fukuoka might as well resign itself to being behind.

Instead, somehow, Yasuda strikes him out. Side retired with Kiyomiya on deck and the lead in tact.

For now.

Never mind.

Kitagawa, single back up the middle. Endou actually walks.

Hoshino bunts, Ishii goes to 1st, throws it to the fence instead. Hoshino to 3rd, both runners score and it’s 11-5.

Does anyone want to win?

Well, the absurdity goes until the end. Kiyomiya already retired, Nomura with a ball to 3rd, except it goes off his face and into left. That’s gotta hurt, and boy this really is just a wacky game.

Konishi grounds into a fielder’s choice.2 out and this game is just about over.

Or not.

Really?

  • Yukiyama – Single to right
  • Kitsunai – Single through right side
  • PH #14 Fukushima – Double to CF wall, bases cleared. 11-8.

At this point, it’s 3 batters to Kiyomiya and heaven knows at this rate we might get there.

Noda grounds to 1st, Sada takes it himself and this thing called a game is over.

If you include the 2 games yesterday, it’s 3 games now of silliness (the first one wasn’t really, but given how things have gone since then it gets lumped in.

Anyways it’s over, Toukaidai Fukuoka somehow (a) massacred the Waseda pitching staff while (b) Yasuda and friends were having their own issues.

It’s done. Toukaidai Fukuoka moves on, Waseda Jitsugyou will have open tryouts for a competent pitcher.

89th Haru Koushien – Day 8, Game 1 – Sakushin Gakuin (Tochigi) v Shuugakukan (Kumamoto)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 8, Game 1 – Sakushin Gakuin (Tochigi) v Shuugakukan (Kumamoto)

(photo courtesy of Asahi)

Well, I’m looking forward to this matchup because it is a battle of managers. Sakushin Gakuin’s Kobari-kantoku has built a program. At the age of 23(!) he took over as manager of Sakushin Gakuin, which was mired in obscurity. 5 years later, his team went to Natsu Koushien, and reached the semifinals where they lost to Kousei Gakuin. From that moment on they would appear and reappear at the tournament Now there was some rebuilding after that year, but eventually it culminated this past summer in a Natsu Koushien title. That certainly will aid him in being able to turn around the program faster  Now, I may not like powerhouse programs, but for someone that young to do what he did, it’s certainly not set in archaic ways and I completely respect what he’s done.

Now, they annihilated Teikyou Dai-go and that was expected. I’m still not convinced the pitching is there and the offense you can’t take much from from their blowout win.

Shuugakukan last summer seemed like they were following a blueprint I thought powerhouse teams should have followed – recruit several top of the line pitchers and rotate as needed to get the title.

Of course, you still have to manage the pitchers. And no, I’m not letting that go.

Now, Kajisha-kantoku returns with a reduced staff looking to do the same thing, and from his first game I’m not sure if he’s learned anything. Also, Shuugakukan also had a blowout win, but that was due to one big inning. About the only team I remember that could depend on such an inning was Tokoha Kikugawa many moons ago, but I don’t think that applies here.

As I said before though, Sakushin Gakuin’s pitching staff isn’t top notch, so there may be an opportunity, but I’m not sure.

Sakushin Gakuin

  • CF Suzuki Maeto
  • 2B Soeda Masato
  • SS Ikezawa Kaito
  • 3B Nakajima Jyun
  • RF Aihara Kousei
  • C Katou Tsubasa
  • 1B Nanai Yuuri
  • LF Ookubo Yuushi
  • P Oozeki Shuutarou

Shuugakukan

  • SS Hanjyou Touma
  • 2B (#14) Watanabe Rui
  • 1B Kimoto Ryuuga
  • 3B Hirobe Shuuhei
  • LF Yamashita Tatsuya
  • P Taura Fuminari
  • C Kouchi Tatsuya
  • CF Fujimoto Shun
  • RF Akasaka Ginjirou

09:00 – First Pitch!

Taura trying to get off to a quick start, freezing Suzuki on a fastball on the outside black. However he leaves on too much over the plate and Souda takes it the other way and it slices fair down the LF line for a double.

He’s moved to third on a ground ball, but it’s an unforced error that brings the run home. Taura spikes a changeup and it gets away from Kouchi and like that Sakushin Gakuin is up 1-0. He goes back to the changeup to strike out Aihara, but his team will be fighting from behind.

Shuugakukan’s batters not wasting any time, swinging away when they feel like and Oozeki has a 7 pitch first inning.

Taura’s control still isn’t great, but it’s good enough to get Katou looking on a looping curve and two groundouts (though the defense is working a bit as they are not really routine).

Oozeki has his first little hiccup in the 2nd. Hirobe hits a ball that goes through Soeda and into right center. 2 down, and with Hirobe now at 3rd, Oozeki falls behind Kouchi 3-1, but gets a loud flyout to end the inning.

I’m not really that confident in Sakushin Gakuin’s offense right now. Yes, Suzuki collects a base hit in the 3rd, but he’s swinging at pitches at eye level. He missed such a pitch before hitting his single. In addition he’s wiped out with a 6-4-3 double play.

Not that Shuugakukan is faring much better. Outside of Hirobe’s hard hit single, it’s been all routine plays for the Sakushin Gakuin defense. Oozeki’s control though still meh.

That pops back up in the 4th when after he makes a great play in the field, Watanabe rips a ball down the left field line for a leadoff double. No bunt, but Kimoto hits the ball the other way to advance him to 3rd.

Again no bunt from Hirobe, instead it ends up being a chopper right to Ikezawa. He drops it, but still holds the runner while getting out.

This time though Oozeki can’t get out of his own jam. A pitch meant to be inside he leaves middle-middle and Yamashita hits it off the actual fence for a double. Watanabe scores to tie the game at 1-1.

And again Oozeki makes a mistake. This time Taura, who actually isn’t bad with the bad, drives it to the fence in right center, this time for a triple and gives his team the 2-1 lead.

Kouchi goes down swinging, but if Oozeki can’t get his control straightened out, I’m not sure there’s much they can do.

Shuugakuan extends the lead in the 5th. Fujimoto and Hanjyou with similar hits just out of the diving reach of Soeda put the runners at the corners. And despite Oozeki getting a groundball for a possible double play, Watanabe beats out the throw at 1st and before the break Shuugakukan leads 3-1.

Sakushin Gakuin gets a chance in the 7th. A walk by Nakajima starts off the inning, but lack of situational awareness hurts them. Aihara singles to center, but Nakajima tries to press to 3rd and is thrown out when his run isn’t the tying run.

But that does allow a warning sign to be raised. And after Katou lines out to right, Kajisha-kantoku replaces Taura with Kawabata with PH #14 Ishido coming to bat. Now he gives up a base hit to him, but then gets Ookubo on a slider, much to his own disappointment.

In the 8th, a surprise. One down, top of the Sakushin Gakuin order, and now they decide to play the waiting game with Kawabata. Suzuki walks. Soeda walks. Ikezawa slices a ball over Hirobe, and Suzuki scores from 2nd easily. 3-2 Shuugakukan.

Kawabata is hitting the gun hard. 145, 148. But he’s not finding the zone. Nakajima walks. Manrui as Kajisha-kantoku calls for time.

Aihara didn’t sick to the game plan and fell behind. Tried to fight off a couple before he swung on a slider inside and eye-high. That leaves it up to Katou.

But he too falls behind in the count and has to try and hang in there. The count runs full and now everything will be put in motion.

Fastball letter high, fouled off.

Fastball down, swung on and missed. Kawabata escapes with the lead.

Not much to be done with that pitch, but falling behind by swinging at 1-1 didn’t help him.

Shuugakukan goes quietly, meaning that Sakushin Gakuin left to their last ups. Ishido in a PH role earlier gets ahead 2-1 and then gets a pitch to hit. He lines it down the RF line for a double!

#15 Kanno comes in to hit for Ookubo, but doesn’t show the same discipline. Falls behind 0-2 and is frozen on a curve right over the plate.

Oh? A wild pitch from Kawabata goes high in the air and now Ishido stands 90 feet away from a tie game!

All this while Oozeki has to stand in. He falls behind (though he would have had he not swung at the 1-1 pitch. And now he too just stands there as the curve falls in again for strike 3.

Last out, and top of the order in Suzuki. Holds up on a couple of pitches, gets ahead 3-0, and lets the next pitch through. 3-1 pitch somehow is called on the outside black (yes I know there’s like an additional ball width outside the black available).3-2 and now it’s sudden death.

Two fastballs, two foul balls.

Cut ball outside, ball 4 and the game continues on. Soeda now to try and get the run home, or at least extend the game.

Suzuki steals 2nd, dangerous because his run technically doesn’t matter right now.

Soeda also gets ahead 3-0 and also lets the next pitch go. Gets a fastball down the middle and fouls it off. 3-2 again…

Fastball outside, fouled off. He’s leaning over, I think they should pitch inside.

Curveball and he holds off! It’s low and it’s manrui! Ikezawa, who had the base hit to bring it within 1 two innings ago steps in.

Swings on the first pitch! Fortunate to foul it off of himself. But attacking the first pitch now?

Cut ball just low and it’s 1-1. Fastball, again low, 2-1 and now he’s ahead.

Connects, but it’s a fly ball to center. Fujimoto barely has to move and he makes the catch! Sakushin Gakuin rallies, but it’s not enough as Shuugakukan holds on for a 3-2 win.

There were bits and pieces of the lineup, specifically the top 4 batters, who really showed the discipline I think was needed to win the game. The rest of the lineup struggled to hold off on the breaking pitches that weren’t even close. That short circuited several innings which made it harder for them to make a comeback. I bet you Kobari-kantoku will have that straightened out come the summer.

You can also see that the pitchers for Shuugakukan have velocity, but control continues to escape them. Had Sakushin Gakuin been able to show just a little more discipline more of those ABs would have turned into walks and who knows what would have happened. Still, they were good enough today and they move onto the quarterfinals.