(photo courtesy of Mainichi)
Road to the title
- def Kaisei (Shimane) 9-0
- def Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa (Ishikawa) 9-3
One more game has passed, and the story stays the same. Dominated opponents, bottom of lineup struggling, pitching doing enough to win. So the question will be now that they’re arguably facing the best competition in this bracket, how will they fare? I don’t think the bottom of the lineup can be totally ineffective and the team be successful.
But outside of that and asking the pitching to completely dominate, they’ve done all they’ve been asked to do. The question is, is it good enough for the Best 8?
Road to the title
- def Yamanashi Gakuin (Yamanashi) 12-5
- def Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi) 3-1
In hindsight, looking at the matchup with Meitoku Gijyuku the result could have been predictable. Meitoku Gijyuku already wasn’t that known for their offense, so having a pitching staff like theirs, even if not dominating, could still cause them fits (because most teams don’t have even 1 guy who can throw 140).
Hanasaki Tokuharu will be yet another test, and as I put in my review the main team to advance out of this bracket. Will their pitching once again rise to the occasion?
- CF Tachioka
- 2B Chimaru
- LF Nishikawa
- 1B Nomura
- C Sunaga
- 3B Takai
- RF Ogawa
- P Sunawaki (#10)
- SS Iwase
- P Maruyama (#8)
- 2B Horiguchi
- C Tobe
- 3B Iijima
- CF Minagawa (#1)
- LF Yoshizawa
- 1B Koike
- RF Iidzuka
- SS Kurosawa
10:58 – First Pitch!
Maebashi Ikuei doesn’t even really get a chance to settle in before Hanasaki Tokuharu rocks the apple cart.
Chimaru doubles over Iidzuka. Nishikawa triples over Yoshizawa for a 1-0 lead.
Nomura with another double to right makes it 2-0.
After a four-pitch walk to Sunaga, the hit parade continues as Takai singles home Nomura for a 3-0 lead. Throw in a fielder’s choice and the damage all in all is 4 runs.
Hanasaki Tokuharu gifts one of those runs back in the bottom half of the 1st. Leadoff walk to Maruyama, bunted to 2nd, and Sunawaki throws it away allowing Maruyama to score. 4-1.
Tag on another run for Maebashi Ikuei in the 2nd. Yoshizawa laces a ball down the right field side and hustles it out for a triple. Koike grounds out to 2nd, bringing him in for a 4-2 game.
And while they get out of the inning, a bunt single by Iidzuka that causes Sunawaki and Nomura to collide show that the defense right now is eating a struggle sandwich.
Apparently the answer to a struggling defense is more offense. So that’s what they get. First 3 batters in 3rd reach safely, and two batters later Sunawaki brings one home on a single. 5-2.
Then in the 5th Tachiok awalks, Chimaru singles, and Nishikawa doubles bringing in the two ahead of him. 7-2 and Maebashi Ikuei in all kinds of hurt.
The rest of the game was inconsequential. Maebashi Ikuei really had no way back in the game. They added a couple of runs, but still in the end fell 10-4.
So maybe one of the challengers to the title makes it to the best 8, however we’ll need to check up on ace Shimizu. Might have been radar gun watching hitting 150 in the final inning. Should remember that in that final inning he gave up a double and a walk. Speed does not equal dominance. It helps, but you need control.