Tag: Toukaidai Fukuoka

89th Haru Koushien – Day 10, Game 4 – Toukaidai Fukuoka (Fukuoka) v Osaka Touin (Osaka)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 10, Game 4 – Toukaidai Fukuoka (Fukuoka) v Osaka Touin (Osaka)

(picture courtesy of Nikkei)

Osaka Touin got lucky in a sense. The first inning was so ridiculous against Shizuoka that it might have been right for the game to be tied at 6-6 after all that.  Shizuoka had the lead late, lost it, had a chance to retake it, but a very bad strategical decision cemented the game for Osaka Touin.

I totally did not expect Toukaidai Fukuoka to be the team to defeat Waseda Jitsugyou, but they jumped all over Waseda’s poor pitching, built a large lead – and still almost blew the lead late.

It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire as it were as they go from one offensive power to another. The bigger problem for them is that Osaka Touin’s pitching is better than Waseda Jitsugyou. Not top tier, but certainly an upgrade and could make a difference.

And given how the games have gone today, they’re gonna need a lot of help.

Toukaidai Fukuoka

  • CF Ariyasu Seima
  • 2B (#14) Ootsuru Yuuto
  • C Kitagawa Hozumi
  • LF Endou Shuuto
  • 3B Hoshino Kouki
  • 1B (#10) Sada Kensuke
  • RF (#12) Koga Takeshi
  • SS Hashimoto Naoki
  • P Yasuda Daisuke

Osaka Touin

  • LF (#8) Fujiwara Kyouta
  • 1B (#5) Nakagawa Takuya
  • CF (#7) Neo Akira
  • RF Yamamoto Dante Musashi
  • C (#3) Fukui Shougo
  • 3B (#13) Yamada Kenta
  • 2B Sakanoshita Haruto
  • SS Izumiguchi  Yuuta
  • P Tokuyama Souma

15:04 – First Pitch!

At least Toukaidai Fukuoka’s batters are squaring up the ball. But right now they’re homing in on the fielders. Scorcher to 1st and liner back to Tokuyama.

He throws in a K for good measure and it’ll be Toukaidai Fukuoka on defense. Not like they weren’t already.

But Osaka Touin struggling a bit with Yasuda’s sidearm delivery. Two infield outs and a strikeout of his own put his team back on offense.

More decent contact from Toukaidai Fukuoka in the 2nd, but the one pitch that seems to be giving batters trouble is the slider outside, especially to the right handed batters.

It’s Yamamoto who gets the first base hit of the game, crushing a hanging slider to right for a leadoff triple. All they need is a fly ball, but Fukui chases the rising fastball and Yamada grounds out to short.

Before I can say Yasuda’s almost out of the inning, he’s actually out of the inning! Sakanoshita swings on the first pitch, gets jammed and pops out!

Toukaidai Fukuoka tries to strike back immediately. Yasuda actually collects their first base hit, a double to left center that one hops to the wall. But with 2 down, he’s stranded there when Ootsuru flies out to center.

Osaka Touin panicking a little bit? Nakagawa gets a leadoff base hit, and then Nakatani-kantoku calls for a hit-and-run on a waste pitch where Kitagawa was standing? That strike-em-out throw-em-out double play from a mile away.

In the 5th a small play immediately triggers in my mind an “uh-oh” moment. One down, Yamada with a slow grounder up the middle. Hashimoto runs behind 2nd to field it, but it glances off his glove and into right. Would’ve been a tricky play and it is rightly ruled a base hit, but he could have made that play. And with that I wonder if that will cost them later.

It does.

Yasuda doesn’t get his fastball inside enough and Izumiguchi laces it down the RF line for a triple. Yamada scores and Osaka Touin leads 1-0 before the break.

Toukaidai Fukuoka continues to get close, but no cigar. Top 6th, Ootsuru singles back up the middle and with 2 down Endou walks to put the douten run in scoring position. But with lefty Hoshino up, Tokuyama climbs the ladder instead to get the K.

The 7th may have put the game away. Yamamoto gets a leadoff single up the middle. He’s bunted to 2nd, steals 3rd, scores on Yamada’s single, 2-0 Osaka Touin.

Sakanoshita with a blooper to shallow center, Ootsuru and Ariyasu go to field it, there’s a miscommunication and it drops in. That missed out costs them because they would have been out of the inning before Tokuyama singles through the left side. As it stands, it scores Yamada to make it 3-0.

Toukaidai Fukuoka down to their last outs. 2 down they mount yet another rally. Ootsuru singles through the right side. Kitagawa draws a walk. That brings up cleanup batter Endou, who is hitless on the day, but at least is a lefty, so the slider to his inside may be out of bounds.

Uh oh! Tokuyama leaves one over the outside half and Endou drives it to deep left! Fujiwara chasing it to the wall, but can’t make the catch! Both runners score and it’s a 3-2 ballgame!

Hoshino has a chance to tie the ballgame with a base hit, but his chopper finds Yamada and they still trail.

Just when they get close, they threaten to undo their good work.

Nakagawa with a grounder to 1st, but it goes through Sada’s wickets. A base hit, sac bunt and sac fly make it 4-2.

And that’s how the game ends. Toukaidai Fukuoka fights hard, but self-inflicted wounds are what cause their demise. Small fielding mistakes late culminate in a pair of runs which turn out to be the difference.

The good news is that it looks like for at least this year Fukuoka has some good teams. Too bad only one can qualify, if either one qualifies, for the summer.

For Osaka Touin, they are one step closer to a rematch with Riseisha. Hoo boy.

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 5, Game 1 – Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Hyogo) v Toukaidai Fukuoka (Fukuoka)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 5, Game 1 – Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Hyogo) v Toukaidai Fukuoka (Fukuoka)

(photo courtesy of Mainichi)

Well, we’re almost done with the first round of games, and much like Day 1, the place will be packed from the get-go, not necessarily for this game but for the game to follow.

That’s not to say that this game isn’t important, or the teams aren’t all that great. But the media goes all ga-ga over the name Kiyomiya so…

Anyways, Toukaidai Fukuoka has something to prove really. Yes, their matchup against Fukuokadai Oohori in the super-regional final is a plus even though they lost, but a similar close game against Kumamoto Kougyou doesn’t look as good. I also had said that I thought Kumamoto Kougyou’s ace was better than Toukaidai Fukuoka’s ace, and that may still be the case, but after seeing Kumamoto Kougyou play, there’s some leeway in that statement now. The multitude of close games though means that their position maintains as shaky at best.

Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku comes from the Kinki region that has only suffered one loss so far, and that was Takada Shougyou whose inclusion into the field I already had questioned. And with just Osaka Touin left to play, the region so far has finally shown themselves to the be powerhouse it is supposed to be. Now, we don’t really know how strong Osaka Touin is because they haven’t played, the loss to Riseisha does loom a bit over the resume. But because the rest of the resume is really strong you figure at the worst, it ends up being a close game.

Interesting that for Toukaidai Fukuoka that one of their relief P is starting at 1B. Perhaps switching based upon handedness?

Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku

  • 3B Morita Takashi
  • 2B Gotou Takahiro
  • C Inoda Kazuki
  • RF (#7) Kataoka Yamato
  • LF (#18) Nakaoka Yamato
  • CF (#13) Taniguchi Yoshinori
  • 1B Araki Keisuke
  • SS Tabuchi Yuujirou
  • P Kuroda Yamato

Toukaidai Fukuoka

  • CF Ariyasu Seima
  • 2B Kiyomizu Yuudai
  • C Kitagawa Hozumi
  • LF Endou Shuuto
  • 3B Hoshino Kouki
  • 1B (#10) Sada Kensuke
  • RF (#17) Nakayama Seiya
  • SS Hashimoto Naoki
  • P Yasuda Daisuke

09:00 – First Pitch!

Yasuda side-arm action, understandably not much velo, but for being a righty standing on the left side of the rubber for all batters. Has a slider, sinker combo, which make sense for such a delivery. Control so-so to start, gets a clean inning, but understandably all balls in the air.

Kuroda not throwing all that hard to start, and actually leaves one over the plate for Ariyasu who knows what to do with it. Down the left field line for a double.

Now, Kiyomizu doesn’t show bunt to start his AB, but then surprises the Kobe defense with it and actually beats out the throw from Kuroda! Runners at corners, no out!

After a strikeout though, Kuroda gets a textbook 6-4-3 double play out of Endou and he’s out of the jam, but I’m just a little concerned about the pitching for Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku.

Yasuda’s control still not great in the 2nd, but I think Kobe’s batters are struggling with the “rising” fastball when it gets letter high. Kataoka is able to lead off with a ball through the right side. But after 2 more fly ball outs (one a soft liner that Hashimoto dashes back and makes a leaping catch), Aoki-kantoku decides to send Kataoka with nothing to lose and he successfully steals 2nd. And when Yasuda just leaves one not high enough, Araki takes it the other way for a base hit and an RBI. 1-0 Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku.

2nd inning would leave me less concerned with Kuroda. Location better, batters chasing the breaking stuff, and racks up 2 Ks in a clean inning. Except that in the 3rd, Toukaidai threatens again. Yasuda actually hits a soft liner to LF that Nakaoka just can’t get under in time and then Ariyasu catches one off the bat and up the middle for a base hit.

2 outs with Kitagawa up, chopper to short. Tabuchi charging, makes throw, but you can tell off his hand it’s high. Goes into the camera well allowing Yasuda to score tying the game at 1-1.

What’s really surprising is that Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku is hitting the pitches into the air for the most part and they’re just routine fly balls. 10 of his 12 outs have been via the fly ball/pop up. If you want to really drive the ball I figure you have to level the bat instead.

While they’re trying to figure that out, Kuroda is leaving stuff over the plate just enough to cause himself trouble. One down in the 4th, another fastball over the middle which Sada takes all the way down the LF line to the wall for a double. After that though, Kuroda depends on his breaking pitches to get him out of the inning, first freezing Nakayama  on an inside slider and then getting Hashimoto on a sinker outside the zone.

As the break hits, Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku’s batters are trying to pound the ball into the ground as fly balls obviously aren’t working, while Kuroda is trying to improve his control on the mound for some stress-less innings. For Toukaidai Fukuoka, they’re game plan seems to be working fine as they’re not the ones having to adjust right now.

Though right after the break, Yasuda leaves a ball up for his counterpart and Kuroda just drops it in in left-center for a double. He’s about to get out of the inning with 2 outs, but then walks Inoda and then hits Kataoka to load the bases! Big chance for Kobe as Nakaoka steps in.

He hits a slow chopper up the middle, Kiyomizu charges in, and Kataoka runs into him! And for the 2nd time this tournament, a runner is called out on interference and ends a key inning!

The good news for Kobe Kokusadai Fuzoku is that Kuroda is on his game. Toukaidai Fukuoka’s batters just cannot lay off the outside pitch and are striking out at a regular pace.

A bad collision in the 7th. 2 outs, foul ball down the right field line. Kiyomizu, Sada and Nakayama converge and it’s Nakayama with the catch. But what’s only seen in replay is that when Kiyomizu goes down to try and field it, his head collides with Nakayama’s elbow and he’s certainly out of it.

He would have had some time to recover being the 4th man up in the 7th. But with just a 6 pitch inning, his offense didn’t help him and he’s replaced by #14 Oodzuru.

Kuroda having the most success against Yasuda, fouling off several pitches before singling to left. Morita blows it on the bunt and pops up to Sada. They bunt again and while Gotou hustles down the line, Hoshino’s throw is in the right place for Sada to bonk him on the head with the glove for the out.

Hoshino doubles down with a great diving stop on a grounder from Inoda, pop up and throw to 1st for the 3rd out and Yasuda continues to hold serve. The only problem is that his offense is unable to deliver much of anything right now outside of striking out.

Worst time for a walk in the bottom of the 9th as Kuroda walks Endou. Sada tries to bunt the runner over, but he fails! Nakayama lays down a bunt, but it’s right at home. Inoda fires to 2nd, but the throw pulls Tabuchi off the bag! All safe!

Hashimoto originally bunting, but starts swinging away. During the AB, I thought to myself “I really hope this doesn’t end on an error…”.

Fouls off a couple of pitches but then grounds to short. Tabuchi goes to Gotou for 1, throw to 1st and wouldn’t you know it it gets by Araki. Endou scores and that’s how the game ends 2-1 for Toukaidai Fukuoka.

Well, the game went about as well as it could have been for Toukaidai Fukuoka. They were in it the entire game, though perhaps more struggling than not, but got one lucky break to win the game. They certainly earned their keep, but I also think Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku just couldn’t figure out how to hit the side-armer and that’s what hurt them the most.

Is Fukuoka on the rise? Maybe. The showing so far at at least shows they’re legit.

Handicapping the field – Toukaidai Fukuoka (2nd appearance, 1st in 32 years)

Handicapping the field – Toukaidai Fukuoka (2nd appearance, 1st in 32 years)

(photo courtesy of Mainichi Shinbun)

Road to Haru Koushien

Regionals – Kita “D” Block

  • def Higashi-Chikushi Gakuen 6-0
  • def Kokura Nishi 10x-0 (6 inn)
  • def Orio Aishin 6x-5 (11 inn)
  • def Koga Kyouseikan 4-2

Prefecturals

  • def Kurume Shougyou 7-2
  • tie Kokura Kougyou 1-1 (game called during top 9 due to rain)
  • def Kokura Kougyou 2-0
  • lost Fukuokadai Oohori 2-11

Super-Regionals

  • def Meihou 3-2 (10 inn)
  • def Reimei 5x-4
  • def Kumamoto Kougyou 2-1
  • lost Fukuokadai Oohori 3-4x

So, who would have thought that the top 2 schools in Kyushu would have come from Fukuoka? Certainly not me that’s for sure. But despite the anomalous feat done this year, as you can see from their resume, there are a lot of red flags out there that do not necessarily bode well for Toukaidai Fukuoka.

Much like the champs, Toukaidai Fukuoka relies on just one person on the mound – ace Yasuda Taishou (安田 大将). He’s a side-armer who goes low, but not so much as to be a submariner. It’s certainly an odd delivery. However, outside of the Kumamoto Kougyou game, his stats in the super-regionals indicate he is not a strikeout pitcher:

  • 4 CG, 10 ER, 31 H, 17 K, 5 BB for a 2.432 ERA, 0.919 WHIP, 4.135 K/9, 1.216 BB/9, 3.4 K/BB

It’s certainly understandable that he’s not a strikeout pitcher given his delivery. It’s also interesting that he almost gives up no walks as well. The question becomes if he gives up hard contact, and in those games he gave up 4 doubles and 2 home runs for a 0.246/0.245/0.325 slash line which is again pretty good for the type of pitcher he is. As one would expect he throws in the mid 120s with a slider. He’s certainly different than Fukuokadai Oohori’s Miura, but keeps his team in the game.

But with all the close low-scoring games, it’s clear that they lack offensive power. The team’s offensive line was comparable to Fukuokadai Oohori:

  • 37-129, 2B, 3B, 22 K, 4 BB for a 0.286/0.289/0.310 slash line

Higher batting average, less walks, and an equally station-to-station squad which may be slightly more inclined to get a base hit to drive in a run. The bottom of the lineup is understandably the weakest link going 8-40, with the exception of Yasuda, who in the #9 spot who went an amazing 6-13. In fact, if you throw in C Kitagawa Hozumi’s (北川 穂篤) 6-16 effort and 3B Hoshino Kouki’s (星野 光紀) 7-16, the rest of the team was 18-84 or 0.214. Yikes.

The team is walking a fine line. Sure, Yasuda isn’t going to beat himself, but with the offense unable to provide much support and concentrated into a small portion of the lineup Yasuda has less leeway than his counterpart Miura. It’s prolly the reason why they could not reverse the result of the first game. They are certainly better off than some of the other teams, but as to whether they can make a deep run, that’s probably unlikely.