(photo courtesy of Sankei)
Road to the title
- def Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi) 10-6
- def Shuugakukan (Kumamoto) 6-1
- def Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima) 6-4
Kouryou apparently had met an equal in Seikou Gakuin, having to face 3 separate pitchers, throwing their strategy into chaos it seemed. They tried to jump on the relievers, but in Seikou’s case they were throwing them first and relieving one with another when their spot in the lineup came about – which is actually a smart idea. Now, they flirted with danger many times and avoided serious damage, so when they brought in their ace I though the game would get tough for Kouryou.
And it was. It took until the 9th inning and an error for Kouryou to finally make good with a 2-run HR by Nakamura.
Their strategy is working, the question is can they carry it to the title?
Road to the title
- def Takikawa Nishi (Kita Hokkaido) 15-3
- def Nihon Bunri (Niigata) 1-0
- def Osaka Touin (Osaka) 2x-1
Sendai Ikuei shouldn’t be here. Really they shouldn’t. Nakagawa should have gotten that 3rd out, but a collision in the 7th might have put the thought in the back of his head and next thing you know his foot misses the edge of the bag and the very next batter Osaka Touin is walked off.
The game for the most part was uninspiring. I didn’t think either side pitched well despite the low score as the starters were missing locations constantly. They just weren’t missing in the wrong places to get punished. At least until the 8th when Osaka Touin scored.
I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, but at the same time if you can hold Osaka Touin to 1 run, you can’t entirely discredit that either.
- CF Takada Masaya (#9)
- 2B Yoshioka
- C Nakamura
- LF Kagawa
- RF Murakami (#14)
- 1B Oohashi
- 3B Matsuoka
- SS Maruyama (#15)
- P Yamamoto (#10)
- SS Nishimaki
- 3B Suzuki
- LF Yamada
- P Sagawa (#8)
- RF Sugiyama
- C Ozaki (#12)
- 1B Maeda
- 2B Saitou
- CF Funaki (#18)
13:00 – First Pitch!
A good start as Masaya strikes out to start the game, albeit on a 3-2 pitch.
But Sagawa leaves a fastball over the plate and Nakamura doesn’t hit it for a home run, but instead a double to center. And with runners in scoring positon Kagawa drives a ball to deep right. Sugiyama makes the over the shoulder catch, but Yoshioka scores to make it 1-0.
Sagawa then uncorks a wild pitch bringing home Nakamura to make it 2-0. Oohashi would single to center making it 3-0.
Kouryou’s ouen-dan wearing out Miyajima-san in the 1st.
They test Sugiyama’s arm with Maruyama’s single to right. Oohashi is sent home.. and is thrown out by a country mile.
Probably not the best thing to do there with Sagawa on the ropes.
After a quiet 2nd in which the CF is pinch-hit for (and I swore that Hasegawa was coming in at that point, but didn’t), Kouryou’s bats come alive again.
Nakamura leads off the inning with a single. 2 out and Nakamura on 2nd Oohashi doubles to the wall in center bringing him in, making it 4-0.
Matsuoka and Oohashi trade places on his double down the LF line, 5-0.
With that Segawa is traded straight up for ace Hasegawa which is also surprising.
He gets out of the inning, but not before allowing the inherited runner to score on a base hit by Maruyama. 6-0.
Sendai Ikuei gets one run back thanks to a Nishimaki double and two productive outs…
But otherwise nothing of note happens until the break as Kouryou continues to sit on their lead.
Post-break, Sendai Ikuei starts hitting Yamamoto.
2 down, Hasegawa starts the hit parade with a single to center. Sugiyama follows that up with a ball through the left side.
Ozaki lands the final blow to Yamamoto with a double past a diving Matsuoka driving in 1. 6-2 and Hiramatsu is in the game now with Yamamoto on standby at 1st.
Hiramatsu isn’t really close and he loads the bases. Sendai Ikuei sends #16 Manome to hit. He’s the one who got the sayonara hit to defeat Osaka Touin.
No such luck this time as he grounds out.
Kouryou gets that run back right away. Hiramatsu leads off with a single, moved to 2nd and scores via Oohashi’s base hit. 7-2.
Sendai Ikuei continues to make more headway it seems. This after 2 outs here in the lucky 7th. Suzuki hits a ball off Maruyama and reaches safely. Yamada hits a ball also to the left side and Maruyama makes a great running stop but his only throw to 2nd isn’t in time. Throw in a hard Hasegawa single to right and it’s manrui for Sugiyama.
But he flies out to 2nd and the inning is over.
Rest of game
The teams trade runs in the 9th as Yamamoto has to return to the mound to finish the game. The final tally is 10-4 as Kouryou moves on to the Best 4 and is one step away from the finals.
But the pitching is strained and Yamamoto is trying to be saved as much as possible but the relief staff is not as effective anymore.