Sports Hochi reports that Hiroaki Saiuchi will likely be the team closer with Shuhei Takahashi the clean-up batter.
Manager Motonori Watanabe's comments...
On Saiuchi being closer: "I'm thinking of making Saiuchi the closer. The fact he can get a strikeout is a big reason. I've never seen a high school pitcher throw a splitter like his."
On Takahashi being the clean-up hitter: "He's something else. It doesn't matter that he didn't make Summer Koshien."
The High School National Baseball Team also played a practice game against Yokohama Shoka University (first and second year students) today and beat them, 3-1.
Ryuya Matsumoto: 3 IP, 0 H, 4 SO, 0 R
Yujo Kitagata: 2 IP, 2 H, 3 SO, 0 R
Shogo Noda: 2 IP, 1 H, 2 SO, 0 R
Juri Hara: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Hiroaki Saiuchi: 1 IP, 0 H, 2 SO, 1 R
Tetsuya Usuda (RF), Kazuya Miyauchi (2B), Seigo Yada (1B), Shuhei Takahashi (SS), Toshitake Yokoo (3B), Sho Azegami (CF), Rintaro Kitagawa (LF), Shunsuke Michibata (C), Kensuke Kondo (DH).
Shuhei Takahashi drove in the first run of the game with an RBI single to center in the 1st. The other two runs scored in the 4th with the help of a fielding error (E7) in the 4th - Rintaro Kitagawa hit a single to left with runners on first and second and the left fielder committed a fielding error that allowed both runners on base to score.
The lone run allowed came in the 9th with Hiroaki Sauichi on the mound for Team Japan. Aftera walk, a stolen base, and E3, and a walk loaded the bases, Saiuchi threw a wild pitch that allowed a run to score. He then settled down and struck out the next two batters and got the final out on a fly ball to center.