(picture courtesy of Asahi)
Kendai Takasaki had an easy time of it against Sapporo Dai-ichi, who really didn’t put up much of a fight. So again, little to take from that matchup.
Fukui Koudai Fukui on the other hand, had a gameplan against fellow regional champs Sendai Ikuei, and despite being down late, came through for a comeback win. I would hope to see them do the same thing here playing the patience game.
Fukui Koudai Fukui
- 2B Kitagawa Tomoya
- RF Yoshida Yuuya
- 1B Inoue Kaito
- LF Yamagishi Asahi
- C (#13) Shimatani Genki
- 3B (#16) Yamaoka Shouma
- SS Nishimura Rikuto
- CF Yamauchi Takafumi
- P Suriishi Tatsuya
- CF Imai Yuusuke
- LF Onodera Daiki
- SS (#4) Asato Jyura
- 1B Yamashita Kouta
- 3B Toguchi Taisei
- RF (#14) Takayama Ryoutarou
- 2B (#18) Ookoshi Koutarou
- P Itou Atsuki
- C Oogaki Rentarou
14:40 – First Pitch!
Itou and his side-arm action gives some problems to Fukui Koudai Fukui to start the game. Yoshida does connect for a base hit, but that’s pretty much it as Yamagishi is caught on a fastball on the outside black.
For Suriishi, it’s 3 straight ground balls to 2nd. Quick inning, and his offense is back on the field.
Fukui Koudai Fukui gets a chance in the 2nd, but it comes with some help. A leadoff walk to Shimatani and then Yamauchi with a hustle single. But Itou comes right back to strike out his counterpart to end the inning.
No one is making good contact against either pitcher. And for Kendai Takasaki they may have wondered after Yamashita grounded out to 2nd if that’s all they could do.
No, Suriishi strikes out the next 2 batters and perhaps Kendai Takasaki would want to retract that complaint.
3rd inning, Kaito gets one of the better hits of the game, turning around a fastball inside and depositing a single to right. Yamagishi walks, but then on the first pitch to Shimatani he fouls out to end the inning.
Itou actually collects the first base hit for Kendai Takasaki, a slicer that falls in shallow left. After a sac bunt, Imai is hit and Suriishi seems to be out of sorts with a runner on base.
And now Onodera goes and reaches down, drives a fastball to right! Yoshida there, but he stumbles and falls down! 2 runners guaranteed to score, but time is called. Yoshida seems to have injured himself in fielding the ball and is in paid. The stretcher is called for the 2nd time this tournament and he’s carried off. #17 Satou eventually replaces him, and the umpires award Onodera a triple, making it 2-0.
But things go south quickly after that. Yasuda bunts and Yamaoka throws it away at 1st to make it 3-0. Yamashita crushes a ball to right center for a triple of his own and it’s 4-0.
Suriishi continues to be shaky, issuing a 4-pitch walk and hitting yet another batter in the 4th as the rain continues to fall and the fans who can head up under cover.
I can’t tell if the weather is causing issues because with 2 out, new RF Satou singles back up the middle. After that it’s Itou who’s struggling with his control, walking not just Kaito, but Yamagishi as well. Manrui for Shimatani and a chance to claw back the margin.
Itou finally starts like he might lock it down, but a fastball runs back over the plate and Shimatani crushed it over Takayama’s head and to the wall for a bases clearing triple! Just like that it’s 4-3 and we have a ballgame again!
But it looks like until the pitchers are replaced, these bugaboos are going to continue. Onodera singles on a slow chopper up the middle for a leadoff hit. Then with 2 down, Toguchi rips a base hit to the left side and then Takayama beats out a dribbler up the 1st base side to score a run. 5-3 Kendai Takasaki as they hit the break.
And it’s Kendai Takasaki who breaks from their starters first. After Itou gives up a double to Suriishi and walks Kitagawa, #10 Ono comes in and Itou goes to RF.
Ono is almost a complete opposite of Itou. A traditional overhand pitcher who can hit 145. And yet he starts his relief stint… with a walk.
And then the unthinkable! Ahead 1-2 and Oogaki standing up wanting a high pitch, Ono doesn’t leave it high enough and Kaito actually connects on it! It falls in front of Imai and we’re going to have a tie game! Except Imai fumbles the ball and that allows Satou to score, meaning that Fukui Koudai Fukui leads 6-5!
Bottom 7, it looks like it might be lucky indeed for Kendai Takasaki. After Onodera is plunked, he’s caught trying to steal 2nd – except that Kaito throws it away going to 2nd! That means that Onodera winds up at 3rd and 2 batters later Yamashita hits a sac fly to left and we’re tied at 6-6!!
Now looking back at Fukui’s 7th when Shimatani led with a base hit and got picked off, that could be key later on now that we’re tied.
Aoyagi-kantoku trying to nurse the game home. But with Yamauchi leading off with a base hit in the 8th and moved to 2nd, he sends in #11 Takemoto to deal with the top of the Fukui lineup.
Dangerous game Fukui Koudai Fukui is playing as both Itou and Oogaki get solid 2 out singles in the 8th before Suriishi retires Imai on a pop-up. Not sure how much longer he can hold out.
On the other hand Fukui Koudai Fukui is trying to end it in regulation. Kaitou reaches down and lines a ball to right for a leadoff hit.
Yamagishi comes through! Takemoto leaves a fastball right over the plate and he crushes it to left center! He’s in with a double and Fukui Koudai Fukui leads 7-6 here in the 9th!!
Takemoto closes out the inning after that, but his team needs to find 1 run in 3 outs versus Suriishi. Which is entirely possible.
Except that when Suriishi gets a routine grounder from Onodera, it’s anything but routine. Nishimura fumbles with the ball several times and winds up not even throwing to 1st! It’s an error that gets the runner on base!
And now Yasuda is hit! The sayonara run is on base and now in scoring position after a bunt! With only the runner at 2nd mattering for the win Taguchi should be put on base.
But on another standing C pitch, Toguchi swings away and pops it up! Kaito catches it in foul territory for the 2nd out! It’s all left to PH Andou to keep the game alive.
EXCEPT IT ISN’T! Suriishi throws to 2nd thinking he has the runner picked off, except that Onodera was taking off too and he scores before they can throw home! 7-7 and the question is WHY?
WHY WOULD YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT RISKING IT AT THAT POINT?
You’re risking throwing it away, or something like what exactly just happened. It makes no sense whatsover with high risk for little gain.
Suriishi gets out of the inning with a K, but the damage is done as we’re headed to enchousen.
Fukui Koudai Fukui gets a leadoff single in the 10th, but a bunt dies fair and Suriishi doesn’t run and leads to a double play ending that.
Itou draws a walk with one down for Kendai Takasaki and is bunted to 2nd, but that small opportunity goes away with a flyout to left.
Imai makes a great diving catch to start the 11th, but people might not have noticed that Takemoto hit 150 on the radar gun.
Now, he uses that to plunk Kaito afterwards, but eventually strands him.
Suriishi returns the favor with Yasuda, but putting runners on base is always dangerous (kidding, I know that wasn’t meant to be reciprocal. I think.).
Problem is Yamashita walks and now things are dicey.
Now Toguchi walks and Oosuga-kantoku hurriedly calls for time. The graphic has Suriishi at 187 pitches. He, I don’t know, might be tired.
And yet he stays in. They will sink or swim with him. On the 192th pitch Andou pops up. The 193st Ookoshi pops up. We’re headed to the 12th.
That ends up being his last pitch as #18 Inoue Ryou hits for him. He strikes out to end the inning and that means #10 Ujiie enters the game.
There may be a reason he was being held back for so long. His line?
0+ IP, 2 H, 1 BB
First pitch grounder to short. Good start.
First two pitches to Oogaki? A curve in the dirt and a fastball above Oogaki. Still gets a flyout.
Imai up, and he’s send to the ground on a fastball. And another ball at his eyes he chases after and somehow he has a 1-2-3 inning.
13th inning now and now the prospect of a replay actually is realistic. Kitagawa gets an infield hit when Ookoshi runs a ball in the gap down, but can’t make the throw to 1st. He’s bunted to 2nd.
Kaito with a comebacker, but Itou can’t field it! It glances off of him and to the right side and Ookoshi can’t make the throw to 1st in time! Runners at the corners, 1 down!
Yamagishi with a chance to give Fukui Koudai Fukui the lead again, but he pops up! Yamashita runs it down near the camera well and makes the catch! 2 down!
Shimatani drive to left! Onodera scrambling back! He circles around to the front of the wall… and makes the catch!
And the game continues tied…
And as we hit the 14th, again the teams begin spiraling towards a tie.
Kendai Takasaki are making some loud hits, but in the end they all fall as flyouts. #16 Ueno hits for Andou, rips a ball right at 1st. It bounced to the 2B and he goes back to Inoue who tags the bag in time. Your routine 3-4-3 putout.
Ookoshi gets the first hit off of Ujiie, a grounder back up the middle with 2 down. Itou with a chance to help his own cause, but he flies out to left and to the 15th we go!
Ujiie tries to get the Fukui offense started one last time. He hits a grounder to the left side, but Asato runs it down in the gap! He gets up and his throw to 1st is in time!
And then there is one of the most bizarre plays in history. Satou drives a ball to the RCF gap. It falls in. He’s in with a triple but the relay throw is wide. He takes off for home, but doesn’t realize there was backup. He tries to stop then start, then stumbles, then falls, then is tagged out for a 9-4-6-2-5 putout.
One last gasp from Kendai Takasaki as with 2 down Onodera has a seeing eye-single through the right side. Then for some unknown reason Ujiie throws to 1st and throws it away. That moves Onodera to scoring position.
But in perhaps fitting fashion Asato fouls out and we have our second tie game!
Fukui Koudai Fukui certainly didn’t deserve to win that game, but they didn’t lose it either. And as a result, the two tie games get 1 day off before the replay. Though we’ve lost the day off I think.
Well, that was a completely silly game. Silly, silly, silly. I have no comment. I just watched in glee hoping for a draw just because. Not because I want the pitchers to suffer. I would like to avoid that. But that game was fitting to end in a tie.