Tag: Meihou

Day 2, Game 2 – Meihou (Oita) v Yokohama (Kanagawa)

Day 2, Game 2 – Meihou (Oita) v Yokohama (Kanagawa)

(image courtesy of Nikkan Sports)

We go from one Kanto v Kyushu game to another as Meihou will try for a better result against the storied Yokohama franchise. They did get in as the floating bid, so there is much to prove that they were worthy as opposed to the Tokyo runner-up.

Meihou (Oita)

  • 2B Omote Yuuto
  • SS Miyakawa Yuuki
  • LF Fuse Shinkai
  • 3B Nobe Yuuta
  • RF Yabuta Genda
  • 1B (Seichi Natsu) (#12)
  • C Narita Musashi
  • P Wakasugi Akira
  • 1B Nogami (Manato)

Yokohama (Kanagawa)

  • 2B Utsumi Takato (#3)
  • SS Tsuda Keishi
  • CF Koizumi Ryuunosuke
  • 1B Yoshihara Taiki (#13)
  • LF Tomita Shingo
  • P Oyokawa Masaki
  • RF Oote Haru
  • C Yamaguchi Kaito
  • 3B Shouji Yuudai
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99th Natsu Koushien – Quarterfinals, Game 2 – Tenri (Nara) v Meihou (Oita)

99th Natsu Koushien – Quarterfinals, Game 2 – Tenri (Nara) v Meihou (Oita)

(picture courtesy of Au One)

Tenri

Road to the title

  • def Oogaki Nichidai (Gifu) 6-0
  • def Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Hyogo) 2-1 (11 inn)

This might be a new version of Tenri. Instead of hiring a manager who is part of the school staff, they went to Nakamura Ryouji, who played in the pros with Kintetsu and Hanshin, and before taking the Tenri job in 2014, was the Tenri Daigaku kantoku.

And I think his influence is showing. He’s built a team centered around defense, which then allows his pitching to have more leeway (which they’ve needed because they don’t have the top talent other teams have). But I think he’s doing the most with what he has.

In addition, his strategies, especially in the Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku game, lead me to think he’s in a more pro mindset which is amazing all things considered. I’m finally turning around on Tenri, but not fully there yet.

Meihou

Road to the title

  • def Sakai (Fukui) 7-6
  • def Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima) 9x-8 (12 inn)

Meihou has been in two very tough, hard fought games – coming from behind to defeat Sakai, and then having to rally after blowing a late lead to Kamimura Gakuen and then again down 3 in extras.

Having those types of games you wonder if (a) this team is just mentally built for these games, or (b) they’re just one step away from falling apart. The Kamimura Gakuen game showed that they perhaps were the latter, but when they survived Kamimura Gakuen’s comeback in regulation they were able to win the battle of pitcher attrition (though being the home team might have helped).

How many lives do they have left?

Lineups

Tenri

  • LF Miyazaki
  • CF Sugishita
  • SS Oota
  • RF Jinno
  • C Shiroshita
  • 3B Morimoto
  • 1B Yasuhara
  • 2B Yamaguchi
  • P Usui

Meihou

  • SS Mimura
  • 2B Ryuu
  • LF Hamada (#17)
  • 1B Sugizono (#7)
  • RF Satou Yuuki
  • 3B Matsutani (#14)
  • C Yoshimura
  • P Hashidzume
  • CF Kan

10:20 – First Pitch!

1st Inning

So Hashidzume is on the mound, an the question will be if his pitching can hold up against Tenri.

Miyazaki single up middle and Sugishita single to the right side not a great start. A one out walk to Jinno loads the bases.

Shiroshita avoids the double play with hustle to 1st, but Meihou still gets the force at home.

Morishita though gets Tenri on the board with a soft liner to left. Sugishita and Jinno score to make it 2-0.

PING.

Oh boy. Hashidzume grooves one of his pitches into the strike zone and Yasuhara does not miss. In fact it goes out to dead center and it’s a 5-0 ball game.

PING.

Eh?

Yamaguchi drives one to left and are you kidding me, it’s gone!

Back-to-back home runs for Tenri and they’re up 6-0!

Meihou has come back before, but 6 runs?

Well, they’re going to try if nothing else because early on they’re battering Usui.

Mimura liner to right, then Ryuu does a push bunt into no-man’s land for a base hit. Throw in two hard shots to left by Hamada and Sugizono each bring in a run to make it 6-2.

2nd Inning

Meihou changes pitchers to #18 Mizoguchi but that doesn’t get off to a good start as he gives up a walk and a single to start the inning. But after a sac bunt, he gets the heart of the lineup to fly out to end the inning.

It’s not easy for Usui either. 2 down and he should have gotten out of the inning, but Oota whiffs on a grounder and the lineup turns over. Mimura gets his 2nd single in as many at bats and one wonders if he’s in trouble.

But a great throw and swipe tag nails Mimura trying to steal 2nd and the inning is over.

3rd Inning

Not sure I agree with Tenri’s strategy in the 3rd. Despite Morimoto and Yasuhara getting base hits, Nakamura-kantoku has Yamaguchi bunt, which he fails and gets the lead runner thrown out. Usui also lays down a bunt to turn over the roster, but with 2 out Miyazaki strikes out to end the inning. You might has well have then swing away.

Meanwhile Meihou perhaps unbenounced to Tenri is clawing back the margin. Ryuu hits a single to center and Sugishita overruns it allowing him to reach 2nd.

Hamada singles to center putting runners at the corners and Sugizono’s sac fly cuts the original lead in half at 6-3.

Yuuki then singles to left and once again runners are at the corners. Tenri is quickly letting this lead slip away.

Finally though, Tenri shows their defense as Oota charges a slow grounder and starts the 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. But they should look at that scoreboard and not get complacent because Meihou is not going away anytime soon.

4th-5th Innings

But whatever momentum Meihou had seems to have dissipated. They don’t create any additional opportunities on offense while Tenri is still getting runners on base.

6th Inning

Next thing I know, Tenri gets right on the warpath after the break.

Sugishita triples to right center. Oota bloops a ball just out of the fielder’s reach down the RF line to make it 7-3. Jinno doubles to right center and now it’s 8-3.

Mizogami gets 2 flyouts and perhaps he’s gotten out of the jam. But then he walks Yasuhara and…

PING.

Guess not.

Yamaguchi with all the freedom in the world to swing away homers to left putting Tenri up 11-3.

Tenri adds on two more runs to make it 13-3 and I was about to write about a comprehensive victory.

Tenri sends in Wajima to finish out the game.

Except he doesn’t.

Yuuki singles…
Honda doubles…
Yoshimura walks…

PING.

And PH Miyoshi hits a manrui HR to left center making it 13-7.

Wajima out, Sakane in.

Kan triples past a drawn in Miyazaki, and is sent home…

SENT HOME AND THROWN OUT. YOU’RE DOWN 6. THAT RUN DOESN’T MATTER YET.

So Tenri finally has the first out. But the pitching struggles as Sakane hits Mimura.

Ryuu pops out and now they just need one more out, but as we’ve seen it’s not easy…

Hamada singles…
Sugizono walks…
Yuuki up again with the bases loaded… singles past a diving Yamaguchi bringing in 2 and making it 13-9…

With 2 on, PH Miyoshi is on deck as the potential tying run. At this point you have to be concerned that Tenri will completely crater despite the fact that they’ve been slowly getting each out.

Honda up for the 2nd time, and pops it up! Yasuhara secures it and the game is finally over. Tenri makes the 10-run lead stick, but wins 13-9.

My only critique of the situation is that given the nature of Meihou, Nakamura-kantoku should have kept Usui in the game on the field in case he needed to bring him in. By subbing him out completely he could not go back to him in case of an emergency.

But if he’s learned anything from this, it’s that he really can’t depend on his relievers at all. Which means that Usui will have to pitch 2 more games to give Tenri the title.

99th Natsu Koushien – Day 10, Game 3 – Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima) v Meihou (Oita)

99th Natsu Koushien – Day 10, Game 3 – Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima) v Meihou (Oita)

(picture courtesy of Mainichi)

Kamimura Gakuen

Road to the title

  • def Kyoto Seishou 3x-2

Kamimura Gakuen and Kyoto Seishou were entrenched in a low-scoring battle. Most of the game wasn’t even all that memorable.

And yet in the 9th there was a ton of action. Shigeki homers for Kyoto Seishou to tie the game, and then in the bottom half, a failure to cover the bag puts the leadoff runner on and then with runners at 2nd and 3rd they decide not to load the bases for the force play, which immediately comes back to bite them as they try to make the play at home only to hit the runner in the back instead, walking them off.

In the end, it comes down to whether Kamimura Gakuen’s Aoyagi can hold down Oita’s offense. The bracket as a whole was uninspiring anyways, so seeing either of these two teams advance wouldn’t surprise me, because I had no real idea to begin with.

Meihou

Road to the title

  • def Sakai 7-6

Meihou and Sakai were in a back and forth battle with Sakai matching blows with Meihou until finally taking the lead in the 8th… only to see Hamada take it back for good with a 2-run HR. But the fact that they were in a close match with a debutante despite annihilating their prefectural competition says something about the latter than the former. The offense was still able to perform, but on both sides of the ball it will get much harder from here.

Lineups

Kamimura Gakuen

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

Meihou

  • SS Mimura
  • 2B Ryuu
  • LF Hamada (#17)
  • 1B Sugizono (#7)
  • RF Satou Yuuki
  • 3B Honda
  • C Yoshimura
  • P Satou Fuuma (#10)
  • CF Kan

13:30 – First Pitch!

1st Inning

Meihou threatens to score right off the bat. Mimura doubles to right center, and then Aoyagi issues 2 four-pitch walks.

But then his defense saves him. And boy does it ever.

Sugizono hits a ball to deep right, and should bring the runner in. But Kado catches it, fires a laser home, and out of nowhere Mimura finds himself out at home! Yuuki then grounds out to end the inning and Meihou is denied!

3rd Inning

The pace of the game feels like Meihou’s in control. And in the 3rd they finally convert that into a lead.

Last batter Kan bunts his way on base. After a walk and a sac bunt, Hamada hits a double to right bringing in both runners for a 2-0 lead.

4th Inning

Kamimura Gakuen tries to come right back as a Reona single and a HBP puts the first 2 runners on. But Shimanaka pops up his bunt and that doubles off Reona, killing the rally.

5th Inning

PING.

As if that wasn’t enough, Hamada extends his team’s lead with a HR to left. 3-0 Meihou and Kamimura Gakuen needs a lot of help in the 2nd half.

6th Inning

Kamimura Gakuen gets one of those runs back thanks to an error. Hatsuki gets on when Sugizono can’t pick a low throw from Ryuu. Two batters later Maehata drives him in. But still needing 2 runs and seeing how they got this one, it still seems like a tall order.

7th Inning

It feels like the game is put out of reach in the 7th when with one out and a runner on due to a failed sac bunt, Hamada and Sugizono single to bring in a run making it 4-1, and then a self-inflicted mistake when Yuuki hits a ball to short, but in the 6-4-3 double play, Yuudai airmails the throw to 1st allowing Hamada to score and making it a 5-1 lead.

8th-9th Inning

Kamimura Gakuen got a run back in the 8th thanks to a Hatsuki hustle triple to right and a single by Reona. Still at 5-2 and getting runs in this manner still made it seem that a comeback was out of reach.

And so while Yuudai led off with a single, 2 quick outs seemed to signal the end. PH #13 Minamikawa comes up and hits a grounder to 2nd. But it takes a bad hop before reaching Ryuu and it goes into right. That scores Yuudai to make it 5-3.

Satou then singled putting runners at 1st and 2nd, but it would still take a big hit to tie the game so with 2 outs it still seems unlikely.

Hatsuki comes right back and drives a ball down the right field line, and I know what that means. We actually have a tie ball game!

Pretty legit there from Kamimura Gakuen. And it knocks out Fuuma and brings in #18 Mizogami. He walks the first batter, but Maehata pops out to end the inning. Without being able to take the lead, they’re still in a precarious spot.

However, all Meihou could do against new P Kinjyou was a 1-out single, so to enchousen we go.

10th Inning

The script at least for now seems to have been flipped. Shimanaka doubles over Hamada’s head to start the inning. After a sac bunt, it’s up to the 7-8-9 batters to bring him home.

But despite a walk, both Kado and new P Kinjyou strike out, and he’ll have to hold off Meihou for one extra inning.

12th Inning

The inning was going innocuously enough with Yuudai getting a one-out single. But a walk and then a HBP made it manrui in no time.

Kinjyou tried to lay down the squeeze, but instead pops out. 2 down and Kamimura Gakuen is at risk of letting a big opportunity get away from them.

But instead Gotou lays down a bunt! Mizogami goes to field it, but his throw to first is wild! All 3 runners come home to score and Kamimura Gakuen leads 8-5!!

Then the bottom of the 12th…

2 outs, just one to go for Kinjyou. Matsutani singles. Yoshimura singles. Not too bad, you still have a 3-run lead.

But PH Miyoshi walks for manrui.

Kan up now and Kinjyou throws a wild pitch scoring 1. 8-6 and the pressure mounts.

Kan then chops a ball to 3rd, and over Akazaki’s head! Both runners score and we’re at 8-8… Now the pressure is at critical.

Mimura hits a ball back at Kinjyou but he can’t field it! It dribbles towards short and everyone’s safe!

Creating the force they walk Ryuu to load the bases, but there’ll be nowhere to put Hamada.

Kinjyou falls behind 3-0, then gets strike 1, strike 2…

The final pitch?….

Takes off Reona’s glove, but the umpire doesn’t move. Ball four, oshidashi sayonara walk.

And that’s how the game ends…

And it’s unfortunate. It would have been unfortunate for either team. For Meihou, had Kinjyou got that last out, that throwaway at 1st would have been their moment. Instead, it’s Kinjyou’s manrui walk. Either way somebody loses.

Doesn’t even matter if the right team won, one team may have just gotten a break simply by being the home team. We’ll never know. But what is certain is that despite their best efforts Kamimura Gakuen is going home and Meihou is into the best 8.

99th Natsu Koushien – Day 6, Game 4 – Sakai (Fukui) v Meihou (Oita)

99th Natsu Koushien – Day 6, Game 4 – Sakai (Fukui) v Meihou (Oita)

(photo courtesy of Chunichi Shinbun)

Sakai (1st appearance)

  • Location – Sakai-shi, Fukui
  • Public school
  • Student Body – 808 students (331 female)
  • Club Size – 67
  • Kantoku – Kawamura Tadayoshi (川村 忠義)

Road to Koushien

  • def Hokuriku 2x-1
  • def Mikata 4-3
  • def Takefu 10-1 (7 inn)
  • def Fukui Shougyou 2-0
  • def Tsuruga 3-0

Sakai reaches Koushien only needing to really beat Fukui Shougyou and they did. But the final 2 days they were 16-58, which I don’t have to tell you isn’t very good while the pitching had 7 Ks to 1 BB. Ratio is good, but 7 Ks in 18 innings isn’t. The lack of offense, and lack of strikeouts from the mound do not equate to a second round appearance.

Meihou (6th appearance, 1st in 2 years)

  • Location – Beppu-shi, Oita
  • Private school
  • Student Body – 493 students (254 female)
  • Club Size – 83
  • Kantoku – Kawasaki Jyunpei (川崎 絢平)

Road to Koushien

  • def Oita Tsurusaki 11-2
  • def Saiki Kakujyou 12-1
  • def Nakatsu Minami 10-1
  • def Oita Maidzuru 13-3
  • def Oita Shougyou 7-0

Meihou blitzed through the field with the only close game the final, and that wasn’t even close and Oita Shougyou was the closest thing they had to tough competition.

But Oita hasn’t won a game at Koushien since 2011, when… Meihou won their first game. In fact Meihou has been the only team to win a game for the prefecture since 2008.

The pitching is the question though as in the final 2 games they struck out 4, and walked 4. This from a team blowing out their opponents. That’s not going to be good. But the sheer fact their offense dominated from start to finish give more indication than what Sakai has to offer.

Lineups

Sakai

  • SS Yoshida
  • 2B Matsuura
  • LF Kaeriyama
  • CF Makino
  • 1B Karube
  • RF Demise
  • P Yoshikawa
  • C Ishikawa
  • 3B Yamauchi

Meihou

  • SS Mimura
  • 2B Ryuu
  • LF Hamada (#17)
  • 1B Sugizono (#7)
  • RF Satou Yuuki
  • 3B Honda
  • C Yoshimura
  • P Satou Fuuma (#10)
  • CF Kan

15:40 – First Pitch!

Early on it did look like Meihou had the advantage offensively. 2nd inning, got 2 runners on with 2 outs, but when Kan delivered a single, they unwisely sent the lead runner home, and was thrown out. They’d come through in the 3rd when a leadoff single by Mimura was plated thanks to Hamada’s double.

So Meihou finally broke through to lead 1-0. Sakai started to get better opportunities getting leadoff hitters on until in the 5th, Yamauchi’s leadoff single would score when Kaeriyama’s grounder was whiffed on by Ryuu.

And so it seemed like we were going to go to the break tied.

But Yoshikawa was not able to hold off the dogs any longer. Ryuu leads off with a walk, then is driven in by Ryuu’s double. After a groundout, Meihou delivers 4 singles to increase the lead from 2-1 to 4-1.

Meihou though PH for their starter which means Hashidzume enters the game.

And his first pitch is, slow?

It’s a knucleball?

What?

Everything he throws is slow. He’s maxing out at 130 and he’d better have good movement or else.

Oh boy.

He walks Demise, and after an out, Hashidzume just gets hit hard. Part of it is because of the slow speed, but the rest is because he just can’t locate it seems.

So Yoshikawa singles followed by a Ishikawa double to the left field wall making it 4-2. Yamauchi then gets Sakai’s 3rd consecutive hit past Hamada and just like that we’re tied!

Boy, Hashidzume better lean on that knucleball or else they’re done for.

The bigger problem is that it seems like momentum has completely switched. Meihou can’t make any headway offensively, and you feel like it’s a matter of time before Sakai scores.

As I write that, Karube singles back up the middle. Instead of a regular sac bunt Demise pushes it to the right side, and suddenly the defense is all out of position. Everyone’s safe and now a sac bunt by Yoshikawa puts the gyakuten run 90 feet away.

Hashidzume dodges the first bulled by jamming Ishikawa and fouling him out. Yamauchi hits a hard grounder to 3rd, but Honda is able to gather it, throw to 1st..

But it gets by Sugizono!! Both runners score and Sakai gains the 6-4 lead! And with Meihou not hitting, they seem almost dead to rights.

Except they weren’t. At least not yet.

PH Matsutani walks. After an unlucky bounce on Kan’s ball up the middle that almost turned into a double play, Miyoshi drives a double to left over Kaeriyama’s head so one run scores. 6-5.

PING.

NO WAY.

Hamada drives a ball to left, Kaeriyama chases after it to the wall, looks up!

HAITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

As if it wasn’t nuts enough Hamada gives Meihou back the lead right when it matters! They’re up 7-6!!

And their #18 Mizogami closes the door with 3 quick outs!

Oh my gosh, this is one of those game you could expect between two scrappy squads. Does the pitching hold out, can the offense find their bats? Momentum can swing quickly from one side to the other, and in this case swung right up until the end.

It’s a crushing loss for Sakai, who had a break finally go their way to not only tie, but take the lead. And yet, in the end it was one swing of the bat that did them in.

Sakai goes home, but they’ll get things ready again for the fall. They’ll lose a couple of their starters, but maybe they can put together another run.

For Meihou, it’s great they were able to advance, but dear lord Hashidzume I’m not sure can function on the mound. If he can throw the knucleball more often maybe, but otherwise everything else he threw was too slow and he’ll need pinpoint control to make it work.