We have already reached the quarterfinal stages of the tournament and things are starting to heat up. It’s funny because I somehow still have the feeling that there are a lot of teams involved in the outcome of the competition, but now there are only eight schools left. Make that six, as two quarterfinals took place last night. Speaking of schoolkids playing baseball there is a nice article about the German “wunderkind” Max Kepler-Rozicky which can be found at a rather unusual place (via MLBtraderumors). I didn’t know the Wall Street Journal had a sports section.
Meihou 明豊 (Oita) – Hanamaki Higashi 花巻東 (Iwate) 6-7
I guess everybody was looking forward to Yuusei Kikuchi pitching again. He’s even getting attention from across the ocean with news agency Bloomberg writing an article about him (via NPBTracker). This time he was also helping Hanamaki Higashi with his bat, driving in the first two runs. He wasn’t going all the way this time though being replaced in the 6th inning with a 4-1 lead. I guess his coach wanted to give him some rest for the next game to have a fresh ace on the mound. Things started to get rough after the change as Meihou clawed their way back into the game. By the 8th inning they had tied the score and even jumped ahead 6-4. But Hanamaki Higashi were able to fight back and equalized in the 9th. The game had to go into extra innings, also because of Meihou‘s pitching change, sending shortstop Imamiya Kenta to the mound, who showed a 154 kmph fastball. In the 10th Hanamaki Higashi were able to get the goahead run and their relievers held Meihou down in the bottom of the inning.
Nihon Bunri 日本文理 (Niigata) – Risshoudai Shounan 立正大淞南 (Shimane) 11-3
Nihon Bunri seem to have found their groove as they had another rout, downing Risshoudai. But the score looks a lot more brutal than the game actually was. Up until the 5th inning the score was tied, but things started to fall apart in the 6th for Risshoudai. Two passed balls brought in two runs and then Nihon Bunri sealed it in the 8th with a 3-run shot.
I first heard about the school when someone on mixi send me a message telling me she would be happy if I root for Nihon Bunri, because it’s the school she went to. She also had a diary up on mixi about her visit to Koushien when they won their Last 16 game. Come to think of it, I believe that I will root for them in their next game as well and that might also be because of that funny picture Deanna had on her blog in a post about her visit to the stadium.