Spring Koshien: First round concludes, second round kicks off

With the rain wiping out yesterday’s games, the Koshien tournament entered the second phase today with a couple of 2nd round match-ups.

First, in the last game of the first round, Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei (Aomori) defeated Daisuke Matsuzaka’s alma mater Yokohama (Kanagawa) 9-5 and judging by the rants of Edwin on Twitter there must have been a worthier representative for the Kanagawa prefecture. What was interesting about this game – apart from an Aomori school coming out of it victorious, which is always something I like – was the way both managers handled their pitching staff. Both starters only went until the 3rd inning and the the bullpen took over. While Kousei only used two pitchers with Nakagawa tossing the final 6.2 innings (7H, 2K, 1BB, 1HBP, 3ER), Yokohama in the box score looks like they were playing matchups. Only Higure gave them 3 inning (4H, 2K, 0BB, 2HBP, 2ER). I wonder if people stateside will complain about that.

The second game of the day was a blow out as Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima) got a drubbing by Fukuchiyama Seibi (Kyoto) going out by the score of 0-12. Starter Ishihara got the W by throwing a complete game shutout on 125 pitches (5H, 8K, 3BB) and SS Nishida led the charge with 5RBI going 2-4 (1HBP). What’s worth noting is that while Nishida carried a large chunk of the Seibi offense, 4 other guys had RBIs as well. And catcher Sano, while “only” recording 1RBI had himself a 4-4 day (3R, 1BB).

Finally, the last game of the day was a close one as the locals of Riseisha (Osaka) bested Komadai Tomakomai (Hokkaido) 7-6. Riseisha’s starter Mizota, who almost had himself a no-hitter in the first round, was out of the game by the 3rd inning, leaving his team in a rather large hole (8H, 1K, 2BB, 1HBP, 6ER). His replacement Nagatani meanwhile was able to calm things down holding the oppostion scoreless until the end (6.1IP, 1H, 10K, 1BB, 90 pitches). You wonder what might have happened had he started the game and Mizota had gotten another day of rest. But Riseisha fought back and were within one run by the end of the 6th. And then came the drama. Komadai Tomakomai weren’t using one starter as well as the were relying on Itou to close things out from the 3rd inning onwards. But in the 9th things fell apart. E5, sac bunt, CF Tateishi RBI double and advancing to third on the throw, walk, and 3B Tsuji sac fly and sayonara. What an ending.

Here’s a view from the stands during that incredible last inning comeback by Riseisha. Notice how both teams line up facing each other right after the game was decided. I really like how that shows that you have to respect you opponent.

 

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