Some important news first up: I have to admit I was a bit surprised to find out that PL Gakuen’s spring tournament star player Nakano was left off the roster for the Summer Koushien. No information on whether that was injury related or not. Anyway, things got under way last night and I wasn’t able to catch any game live because I was way too tired. I don’t know if this was in place last year, but the tournament’s website features a nice roundup-page, with highlight clips from all the games. Each clip is about five minutes long and shows all the runs, some important outs, great defensive plays and usually the last outs of the game.
Jyousou Gakuin 常総学院 (Ibaraki) – Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku 九州国際大付 (Fukuoka) 4-8
Jyousou Gakuin were making their fourth consecutive appearance at Koushien while Kyushu Kokusaidai were powered to the finals by their thundering offense. Right from the start Jyousou was collcting runs, but in the bottom of the 4th Kyukoku responded with a 5-run outburst, a shock from which Jyousou never recovered. The school from the Fukuoka prefecture never looked back after that and added an insurance run in the 7th to secure the victory. Looks like they really are a very good offensive team.
Kounan 興南 (Okinawa) – Meihou 明豊 (Oita) – 3-4x
The second game of the day was a lot closer. The favourites here, according to Goro Shigeno (great analysis of all teams and brackets), seemed to have been the boys from Okinawa who quickly opened up the match leading 3-0 after 5 innings. But Meihou responded and tied it by the 8th. In the bottom of the 9th they were able to get a sayonara hit to left knocking down Kounan.
Yachiyo Higashi 八千代東 (Chiba) – Sajiyou 西条 (Ehime) 2-3
Another close call in the last match up for this opening day. This game was also tied in late innings, but there was no sayonara action here. Saijyou had a lead until the 7th when Yachiyo tied it, but they responded with a go-ahead run in the 8th to which they held on to until the end.