(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.
- 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
- 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.
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.