I know I have been a little sloppy over the past few days and I sincerly apologize for that. Part of that had to do with a flu that got me right for the start of my holidays which began on Monday, so I was lying in bed most of the time. The other part is that it took me until yesterday evening to figure out how the MBS website worked this year around (just click the inning and that’s it. Duh!). Yup, that’s how dumb I was. I tend to but all the blame on my illness, but I guess I was just blind.
What makes it harder for me to actually watch the games is that compared to the summer tournament there is less teams participating thus bringuing down the number of games played. If I remember it correctly during last year’s summer competition there were quite a few days in which four games were held over the course of one day. That made it easier for me to catch the last game which was played in the morning in my time zone.
I won’t be recalling the games which took place over the past few days, you can read about most of those on Goro Shigeno‘s blog. Instead I will report on the last game of yesterday’s match day.
Hikone Higashi 彦根東 (Shiga) vs Narashino 習志野 (Chiba) 4-5x
From judging what the supporters did in the stands I would have thought of this game to be a close one all the way. While Hikone‘s side looked a bit more intimedating with all the people dressed in red making their side of the stands appear to be a red wall, the marching band of Narashino was also very impressive. They had a song for every player and what surprised me most was that their starting pitcher’s (Yamada) song was “Surfin’ USA”. They also quickly changed their music when their team hit the ball. As a musician I have to give them credit for that. On the other hand Hikone‘s marching band was playing “Go West” which is a familiar tune in German football stadiums.
The game itself looked like a pitcher’s duel for the first couple of innings with both aces looking sharp. Things started to get rolling in the 4th when Hikone went up by one run. I guess what changed the game was when Hikone‘s starter Kaneko had to leave the mound in the 6th inning. It seemed he injured his throwing hand in the 5th taking a short break to recover and then injured his leg when he tried to get an out at first base because nobody was covering the base. His replacement Imai unfortunately wasn’t as sharp. The lead was changing virtually every inning and so they entered the 9th being tied at 4-4. There were some defensive errors which led to this but also some wonderfully executed plays, especially a suicide squeeze by Narashino. Hikone on the other hand had the chance to extend the lead they got in the 8th inning when the bases were loaded for them, but they only managed to get 2 runs. Narashino took advantage of that scoring on a homerun by their centerfielder in the 8th, game tied at 4-4. Hikone‘s 9th was a short affair with Yamada retiring the side in order. Narashino was able to put runners on base in their half of the inning and scored the winning run with a sayonara base hit. It’s a pity that Hikone‘s ace had to exit so early (Narashino‘s Yamada pitched a complete game), I wonder if he had been able to prevent the loss. Anyway, this was yet onther highly entertaining game.
The first rounded will be concluded with the first game of Day 6. You can follow the results by clicking on these links: one is for the Japanese chart (provided by Goro Shiogeno), the other one for the English one (provided by Westbay-san of japanesebaseball.com)