Kousei, as they now like to be called, got a free pass to the prefectural finals with their win in the summer. They took full advantage of it, blowing through the field all the way to the finals where they eked out a 5-4 win over Aomori Yamada.
Their games in the super-regional were also underwhelming. A 3-1 win over Yamagata Jyouhoku and a 4-1 win over Noshiro Shouyou put them in the semifinals, but a 7-2 loss to Sendai Ikuei ended things.
Kousei has been pretty much rebuilding since their 3 consecutive final appearances. 2 pitchers have been promoted to take over duties on the mound. They are 3rd years Goya Kaito (呉屋 開斗) - who wore #18 last spring, and Nakagawa Masashi (中川 優) - who wore #11. Nakagawa appears to have more pitches at his disposal (slider, curve, change and fork), but Goya's results on the mound are much better.
The only other holdovers from last spring are C Baba Ryuusei (馬場 龍星) and SS Adachi Yuuya (足立 悠哉). Both of them played against Yokohama last year and did well (though Yokohama didn't deserve to be there in the first place).
I found a roster for the team, and a starting lineup:
- CF Arai Shouki (新井 勝貴)
- RF Kasumi Shouta (加角 翔太)
- SS Adachi Yuuya (足立 悠哉)
- LF Sawada Shunichi (澤田 俊一)
- 1B Nakajima Yuuki (中嶋 勇希)
- 2B Nakazaki Jyukiya (中崎 寿希也)
- 3B Endou Taisei (遠藤 大誠)
- C Baba Ryuusei (馬場 龍星)
- P Goya Kaito (呉屋 開斗)
The problem is that last year they had pitchers that were supposedly better than this pair and got routed by Ryuukokudai Heian. The offense, who again consisted of mostly seniors, was ineffective. While they get to go back to Koushien, it seems unlikely that they will be able to improve on that performance. Consider them still in rebuilding mode.