Spring Koshien: Exhaling a little bit

No close games today after yesterday’s nailbiter as all three contests had a clear result.

In the first game Hiroshima Shinjou (Hiroshima) took the lead against their opponents Toukai Dai-san (Nagano) in the first inning an never looked back. Staff ace Yamaoka pitched a complete game shutout on 119 pitches, giving up only 2 hits while striking out 13 and walking nobody. He hit one batter though. For Yamaoka the one run from the first inning might have been enough that way, but his offense added a few insurance runs for the final score of 6-0.

Imabari Nishi (Ehime) and Kiryuu Dai-ichi squared off in the 2nd game of the day and that wasn’t a close game either. Imabari had a 5-run lead by the end of the 4th inning and the only run by Kiryuu Dai-Ichi in the 9th wasn’t enough for a comeback (5-1). Imabari’s Yamada came out on top, giving up only 3 hits in a complete game effort (3K, 1BB, 1R, 0ER, 109 pitches), but his opposite number was impressive as well. Kiryuu’s Jinno, while giving up 5 runs (all earned), threw only 97 pitches in 8 innings (11H, 4K, 1BB, 2HBP).

In the last game of the day Ooshima (Kagoshima) were destroyed by Ryuukokudai Heian (Kyoto) 16-2. I have to admit I have a soft spot for Ryuukokudai Heian ever since I found out somebody I know from Twitter went to that school, so I can’t help but root for them. Ooshima kept things close until the 4th inning, but after that things fell apart rather quickly. Ryuukokudai Heian scored 3 in the 5th, 5 in the 6th and another 7 in the 8th to put the game away. The winners had started the game with bench player Motouji (4.1IP, 6H, 2K, 3BB, 1HBP, 1ER) on the mound, who was replaced by ace Nakata in the 5th inning when Ooshima were threatening to score. An interesting approach and you’d have to think their coach wants to preserve is ace pitcher for closer games. Nakata finished the game going 4.2 innings (5H, 3K, 1BB, 1ER). You’ll also have to watch out for Ryuukokudai Heian’s left fielder Nakaguchi who threw out two runners (one in the 1st)  trying to score on a base hit. He had a nice day with the bat as well, going 2-3 with 1RBI and 2 runs scored (1HBP).

Here’s Nakaguchi against Chiben Wakayama in the 2013 Kinki Tournament showing off his range in the outfield. He’s got the first two catches. For the record: the last catch in the video comes courtesy of Iwashita, who came in for defensive puropses in the 9th in today’s game.

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