And so the first school I wanted to win is already out of the tournament.
But not after giving up a good fight to their opponents. Nihon Bunri (Niigata), you might have heard of them, were playing Toyokawa (Aichi) and by the time I tuned in they were deadlocked at 3-3 going into the 13 inning. Nihon Bunri had opened the scoring in the 8th, Toyokawa tied it in the 9th. Both teams had scored two runs in the 10th. And when I came around things ended rather quickly. Walk, bunt, hit. 4-3 sayonara hit Toyokawa. Poor Nihon Bunri, I was rooting for them to go far.
Just for the record so everbody can be outraged: both pitchers, Nihon Bunri’s Iizuka (182 pitches, 10H, 11K, 2BB, 1HBP) and Toyokawa’s Tanaka (186 pitches, 13H, 12K, 1BB), pitched complete games. Did they look like they were out of gas by the 13th inning? Oh yeah.
Earlier today Komadai Tomakomai (Hokkaido) – which, as you all know by now, is Masahiro Tanaka’s alma mater – topped Souseikan (Nagasaki) in a crisp 3-0 shoutout thrown by their starter Itou (9IP, 3H, 7K, 1BB, 120 pitches).
The second game was a much closer affair as Ikeda (Tokushima) beat Kainan (Wakayama) 4-3 in sayonara fashion. Judging from the highlights Kainan jumped to a 3-0 lead by the 7th inning and the great play by their shortstop Akiyama (who also had 2 RBI and scored 1 run) prevented Ikeda from scoring more than a few times. Things started to fall apart in the 8th when Ikeda scored 2, going into the bottom of the 9th trailing by only one run. Akiyama, who had saved his team in the 8th with a fine 6-6-3 doubleplay, botched two balls to give Ikeda the victory.
And now for something completely different, here’s a look at Ikeda’s ouendan.