Sunday, March 29, 2009

Best 8 Matchups

With the conclusion of Day 8, we have our best 8 Matchups:

Day 9
  • Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi) vs. Houtoku Gakuen (Hyogo)
  • Seihou (Nagasaki) vs. Minoshima (Wakayama)
Day 10
  • Nanyou Kougyou (Yamaguchi) vs. Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate)
  • Waseda Jitsugyou (Tokyo) vs. Rifu (Miyagi)
I don't have team stats in front of me, mostly because I've been trying to catch up. So I'll try to give my analysis based upon what I can remember.

Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi) vs. Houtoku Gakuen (Hyogo)
Both teams have looked solid so far in the first two rounds. Chuukyoudai Chuukyou with the exception of the 6th inning against Kurashiki Kougyou have dominated their competition. Doubayashi has good control, but can tend to nibble around at times. Houtoku Gakuen has shown that they can hit average pitching - as seen in the game against Imabari Nishi. However, Chuukyou isn't average pitching. Miyatani can hold his own on the mound though, and he recieved some extra rest after being relieved in the 7th.

Verdict - Slight edge to Houtoku Gakuen

Seihou (Nagasaki) vs. Minoshima (Wakayama)
This is a different Seihou squad this year. And it boils down to one person - ace Imamura. Next to Hanamaki Higashi's ace Kikuchi, Imamura carries that aura of intimidation. While Kikuchi displays it in his poses, for Imamura it's his facial expressions that to me give the sense of intimidation. The look of, "I can't believe you're up here, I really shouldn't have to sit you down, but since you're here..."

Meanwhile, I have very little to go on for Minoshima. They defeated Oita Uenogaoka handily, and edged out a Kaisei squad that defeated Keiou Gijuku (haven't seen that game yet).

Verdict - Slight edge to Seihou (due to Imamura and my personal wish to see them advance)

Nanyou Kougyou (Yamaguchi) vs. Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate)
Nanyou certainly deserves to be here. After edging out Maebashi Shougyou, they faced the vaunted PL Gakuen. And while they were no-hit through regulation, they broke through in the 10th inning for 2 runs. Equally amazing was Iwamoto holding off the PL offense.

As mentioned earlier, Hanamaki Higashi can be summarized in one person - ace Kikuchi. He throws gas and isn't afraid to let you know about it. He is the only pitcher in this tournament to have pitched 2 complete game shutouts. He did look a little slow in starting during his 2nd game, but it seemed to go away as the game progressed.

Verdict - Edge to Hanamaki Higashi (I love to see the underdog win, but Kikuchi is just too darned strong)

Waseda Jitsugyou (Tokyo) vs. Rifu (Miyagi)
Waseda is making their run at Koushien yet again. Their draw was very front-heavy, as in the fall tournament runner-up Tenri Koukou. They edged them out in regulation and then had no trouble with Toyama Shougyou.

On the other side, we have Rifu the 21st century team that could. Or at least that what it seems like. Easily handling Kakegawa Nishi, they then needed all 9 innings to defeats Narashino (grrrrr...). The offense wasn't there though against Narashino's ace Yamada.

Verdict - Waseda Jitsugyou running away (I'm not sure what it is, but I feel like rooting against Waseda. However, they've shown they can punish poor pitching and I just can't see Tsukamoto's style fooling thier batters)

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