Sunday, June 13, 2010

Liveblogging: Toyo vs. Tokai, All-Japan College Finals

I didn't think I could deal with another afternoon in the sun -- not feeling so great after watching the semi-finals yesterday -- so instead I'm watching the final game on TV and liveblogging it.

Toyodai                    Tokaidai
------- --------
Sakai rf Ishimine cf
Uehara 2b Tanaka ss
Kimura lf S. Suzuki dh
D. Suzuki 3b Fushimi c
Satoh c Yoshikawa 2b
Horikoshi dh Matsukuma lf
Hayashizaki ss Takeuchi rf
Ogata cf Sakaguchi 3b
Samejima 1b Ohno 1b

Fujioka (6-1, 1.07) Sugano (5-0, 0.44)

And so it starts. Except that BS1 isn't showing it yet and I am on pins and needles waiting!

Top of the first (Toyo 0, Tokai 0)
Sakai grounds out to second on the third pitch.
Uehara hits a fly that lands in right for a single. One on, 1st.
Kimura hits a low pop fly out to left. Two out, 1st.
Suzuki grounds out to second. Three out.

No strikeouts for Sugano -- kinda odd. Wonder if he's tired after throwing 142 pitches yesterday.

Bottom of the first (Toyo 0, Tokai 0)
Ishimine walks (Fujioka's control seems a bit off, maybe he's nervous).
Tanaka comes up bunting and does infact bunt, pitcher to first. One out, 2nd.
Suzuki hits a pop fly out to right, Ishimine can't move up on it. Two out, 2nd.
Fushimi strikes out swinging, three down! First strikeout of the game.

BTW, Shota Ishimine is Tokai's captain this year, and has also been on the national collegiate team for a while. Also, Ishimine and Sho Suzuki were the two guys who hit home runs in yesterday's game against Keio.

Also, Jingu looks relatively empty! I thought it'd be full today, though maybe it'd help if the FINAL had been Keio-Tokai...

Top of the second (Toyo 1, Tokai 0)
Satoh singles to center on the first pitch.
Horikoshi bunts to the pitcher, advancing Satoh. One out, 2nd.
Hayashizaki grounds out to third; Two out, 2nd.
Ogata hits a long fly ball into the right-field corner that goes for a double! That scores Satoh -- 1-0 Toyo.
Samejima fouls off a bunch for a pretty long at-bat, eventually grounding to first where Ohno dives for the ball and throws to Sugano covering first in time -- three out.

Satoh and Hayashizaki are also on the national collegiate team. Sugano seems to be warming up a bit, he hit 150 km/h on the gun a few times and is throwing that obnoxious slider of his, so we'll see. Doesn't look as sharp as he did yesterday, though he could just be pacing himself. Still, he gave up one run in 24 innings of this tournament so far before today. Toyo has the slight advantage here in having a bunch of decent pitchers even if none of them are as good as Sugano at his best.

Bottom of the second (Toyo 1, Tokai 0)
Yoshikawa of the funky kick swing grounds out to the mound.
Matsukuma strikes out swinging -- that's two for Fujioka.
Takeuchi grounds out to third, three down.

Tokai's ouendan is still doing the funky sequence they did yesterday -- Pirates of the Caribbean, Popeye, Space Battleship Yamato, and then a variety of other typical Koshien type songs (like that Bakufu Slump one I can't remember the name of)

Top of the third (Toyo 1, Tokai 0)
Sakai hits a pop fly out to center.
Uehara singles to center. One out, 1st.
Kimura singles to left, that'll move Uehara to 2nd. One out, 1st and 2nd.
Suzuki hits a pop fly out to center. Two out, 1st and 2nd.
Satoh lines back to the mound and Sugano catches the ball for the third out.

Takayama is warming up in the bullpen for Tokai. Sugano hasn't struck anyone out yet, but he seems pretty unfazed by this all.

Bottom of the third (Toyo 1, Tokai 0)
Sakaguchi strikes out swinging.
Ohno hits a pop fly foul, caught by the second baseman.
Ishimine hits a single to center (of course it'd be Ishimine, he's probably the best player on the team.)
Ishimine steals second and also reaches third on the errant throw during Tanaka's at-bat. Two out, 3rd.
Tanaka grounds out to second -- three out.

Top of the fourth (Toyo 1, Tokai 0)
Horikoshi grounds back to the mound.
Hayashizaki strikes out swinging and that is Sugano's first one of the day.
Ogata grounds back to the mound, that's three.

Bottom of the fourth (Toyo 1, Tokai 0)
Suzuki hits a pop fly out to right.
Fushimi hits a pop fly out to center.
Yoshikawa grounds out to short -- the throw to first is high but Samejima makes the tag as he comes down jumping. Cute.

Top of the fifth (Toyo 1, Tokai 0)
Sugano is still out there on the mound, for the record. He's up to 70 pitches through 4.

Samejima grounds out to first, unassisted.
Sakai grounds out to second, Sugano covering first as the 1st and 2nd baseman went for the grounder. Two out.
Uehara grounds out to short.

This game has suddenly started going REALLY fast, it's only 2:09pm right now.

Bottom of the fifth (Toyo 1, Tokai 0)
Matsukuma strikes out swinging.
Takeuchi grounded out to first.
Sakaguchi singles to left. Two out, 1st.
Ohno strikes out looking -- wow.

Top of the sixth (Toyo 3, Tokai 0)
Kimura grounds to third but Sakaguchi fumbles the ball and Kimura reaches first on the error.
Suzuki... oh wow. Suzuki doubles to right -- a ball back to the wall in center-right -- and Kimura runs all the way around to home, slides in the same time the ball gets there, and it looks like Kimura missed the plate on his way in and is tagged out. Lucky for Tokai. One out, 2nd.
Satoh grounds out and Suzuki moves to third -- Two out, 3rd.
Horikoshi doubles to left and Suzuki scores. 2-0. Two out, 2nd.

Looks like this may be nearing the end for Sugano, two guys are warming up for Tokai... but not yet apparently.

Hayashizaki also singles to left -- and Horikoshi dives easily around the throw at home to score, 3-0. And THAT is it for Sugano. Poor kid.

Lefty Ryota Takayama comes in to pitch for Tokai.

Hashimoto pinch-hits for Ogata and grounds to the mound, three down.

That's pretty huge though -- not sure if Tokai will be able to turn this game around the way they're going.

Bottom of the sixth (Toyo 3, Tokai 0)
Toyo fielding changes: Takimoto enters the game playing CF, batting 8th.

Ishimine grounds out to second.
Tanaka singles to center.
Suzuki strikes out swinging and Tanaka steals second -- so that's two out, 2nd.
Fushimi strikes out swinging too -- that's seven for Fujioka.

Also I love Tokai's ouendan -- it's nothing like Big 6, just a bunch of guys, maybe 5 of them, wearing baseball outfits instead of gakuran, dancing on the platform and sometimes holding up "T O K A I" signs and whatnot.

If Toyodai is 120 years old, I have to wonder why it didn't end up in Tokyo Big 6 instead of Tohto?

Top of the seventh (Toyo 5, Tokai 0)
Samejima strikes out looking.
Sakai walks (but two of those balls in a row were slow curves, funny stuff)
Uehara bunts and is barely out, moving Sakai to second. Two out, 2nd.
Kimura SLAMS ONE OUT OF THE PARK IN LEFT! Man, you could tell that was gone the second it left his bat -- so that's a 2-run homer for the Tohto League batting champ. 5-0.
Suzuki pops one foul and Ohno makes the catch at first. Three down.

Bottom of the seventh (Toyo 5, Tokai 0)
Yoshikawa hit a pop fly out to center while BS1 was showing the news.
Matsukuma grounds out to third.
Takeuchi singles to right.
Sakaguchi hits a pop fly to shallow right and the second baseman makes the catch.

Top of the eighth (Toyo 5, Tokai 0)
Tokai changes pitchers from Takayama to Akama. I think they also just said Matsukuma was switched out for Iwamoto in left field.

Satoh grounds out to third.
Horikoshi grounds out to short.
Hayashizaki singles to left.
Takimoto ... doesn't get an at-bat as Hayashizaki gets caught stealing second on the first pitch. Three out.

Bottom of the eighth (Toyo 5, Tokai 0)
Ohno singles to left.
Ishimine hits a pop fly out to right.
Tanaka hits a pop fly foul between third and home.
Suzuki strikes out swinging -- that's eight for Fujioka.

Top of the ninth (Toyo 5, Tokai 0)
Takimoto grounds up the middle and is barely out, nice play there by Tanaka.
Samejima hits a liner to second.
Sakai grounds out to second.

Well, this is it -- last three outs of the game to see what Tokai can do. Fujioka is still on the mound for Toyo, he's up to 105 pitches through eight.

Bottom of the ninth (Toyo 5, Tokai 0)
Fushimi hits the first pitch he sees out to centerfield... and it's caught.
Yoshikawa walks.
(Mound conference ensues. But Fujioka stays.)
Yamane pinch-hits for Iwamoto and strikes out swinging on a slider. Down to the last out...
Takeuchi grounds out to second and that's the game!

(I should note that the final two at-bats took forever, these guys fouled off a ton, and there was a pitchout or two. But...)

Toyo is the champion!

Cheers of "Akio! Akio!" go up for a doage for the Toyo manager, 63-year-old Akio Takahashi... and they end up dropping him, heh. (He blames it in his interview on them spending all their energy winning the tournament.)

Next is an interview with team captain Keisuke Kanuma, who was yesterday's game hero as well.

Next, an interview with Takahiro Fujioka, today's game-winning shutout-pitching guy, who is just like "Dude, my pitches all worked today. I'm really happy."

I took a few photos of my TV at the end:

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