So after all those games over the past two weeks there’s only two schools left who will decide the champion for this year in tomorrow’s final. The school’s who lost over the course of the competition will support the team’s the lost to and both finalists will carry a heavy load of paper cranes with them, a tradition with the Koushien tournament. They will be sure to try and live up to the expectations of the teams they beat.
And while the kids in Japan were fighting it out another young Japanese pitcher made the headlines across the ocean. Tazawa Junichi was exposed to a national television crowd holding the New York Yankees in check for the Boston Red Sox. He allowed no run over six innings. Tazawa made it to Koushien only once, in his second year of high school (if I read his Wikipedia profile correctly) where he was a relief pitcher. When he became the ace the following year his school was knocked out in the regional tournament in Kanagawa by Yokohama Koukou, a regional powerhouse and the Alma mater of Boston teammate Matsuzaka Daisuke.
Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou 県岐阜商 (Gifu) – Nihon Bunri 日本文理 (Niigata) 日本文理 1-2
A very close game which wasn’t something you’d expected before the start as both teams were hammering out runs in the previous rounds. Both pitchers were able to keep the batters in check over the first few inning. Then Nihon Bunri struck first in the 5th, driving in their first run after a lead off triple. The next one came an inning later after lead off double. But Gifusho was still in striking distance. But whenever there was a small chance opening up for them the wonderful defense of Ninhon Bunri kept them from scoring. It all came down to the final inning when Gifusho finally were able to get on the board with two outs. But the next batter grounded to short and that was the game. So after eliminating two powerhouses in PL Gakuen and Teikyou the run of Gifusho for the title has ended and Nihon Bunri advanced to the final.
Hanamaki Higashi 花巻東 (Iwate) – Chuukyoudai Chuukyou 中京大中京 (Aichi) 1-11
This wasn’t the game everybody was hoping for and it was because Hanamaki Higashi wasn’t able to bring on their ace Yuusei who was pulled from the quarterfinal game in the 5th and according to NPBTracker ist was because of back ache. So with their best played not being able to play Hanamaki Higashi didn’t stand a chance against Chuukyou. The school from Aichi jumped ahead quickly leading 3-0 after the 3rd. Then Hanamaki Higashi brought in Yuusei in relief and that proved costly. He wasn’t looking good when making his warm-up pitches and with the bases loaded and 2 outs he gave up a shot to left which scored 3, breaking the game wide open for Chuukyou. Yuusei was pulled in the 5th after he gave up a solo homerun with one out and Chuukyou kept on piling up runs. This wasn’t as close as everyboyd expected it to be.
So everybody’s guess for who will win the final is as good as mine. I don’t think Chuukyou had much competition in Hanamaki Higashi, but we know that Nihon Bunri is able to hit pretty well. We will just have to wait until tomorrow.