Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's that time of the year again!

As the summer continues, we approach the prefectural qualifiers for the 91st Summer Koshien tournament. Games will begin as early as Saturday for North Hokkaido as well as Okinawa. South Hokkaido follows close behind. By July 12th, most prefectures will have started their qualifiers.

That's not to say teams haven't been playing in the meantime. The Spring Regional Tournaments were held recently. I'll have more information as I get to it, but here are the summaries:

  • Ristumeikan Keishou defeated Hokushou 7-2. Interestingly enough, these teams defeated the Komadai schools in the semifinals, Ritsumeikan defeating Iwamizawa 1-0, while Hokushou defeated Tomakomai 2-1 in 13 innings! Wouldn't it have been interesting if the two Komadai schools had instead faced each other in the finals!
  • Moriokadai Fuzoku continued it's strong run defeating well-known Sendai Ikuei 6-3. It wasn't as close as the score indicated as they scored 4 in the 4th and were up 6-0 in the 8th before giving up 3 late runs.
  • Senbatsu runner-ups Hanamaki Higashi surprisingly exited early as they lost in the 2nd round to Hachinohe Nishi 7-2. Interestingly, ace Kikuchi didn't pitch in the game at all.
Kanto (Including Tokyo)
  • Urawa Gakuin defeated Jyosuou Gakuin 7-3. Hey, at least it's a win for Saitama!
  • Two teams we haven't seen in a while made appearances here. Teikyou made it all the way to the semifinals before losing 3-1 to Urawa Gakuin. Meanwhile, Yokohama seems to have fallen on hard times as they lose in the quarterfinals to Fuji Gakuin 3-2 in 10 innings. Could it be that they're the ones looking up at Keio?
  • Saku Chousei defeated Chuuetsu 7-5.
  • Regional powerhouse Nihon Bunri surprisingly lost its first game in the 2nd round to Yuugakukan 3-2. Nagano Nihon lost in the semis to Chuuetsu 3-2 in 10 innings.
  • Kakegawa Nishi fell behind 2-0 early, but then went on a 7-1 run en route to a 7-5 victory over Touhou.
  • Aikodai Meiden fell in the semis to Kakegawa Nishi 9-6. They were down 5-0 after 2 innings and couldn't recover.
  • This regional was cancelled due to swine flu issues that plagued the Kansai region during that time. So by prefecture:
  • Shiga - Ayaha equalized the championship in the 8th, only to relinquish it to Oumi in the bottom half of the fram. Oumi continues to be a force in Shiga, winning 2-1.
  • Kyoto - Kyoto Ryouyou shocks Fukuchiyama Seibi outdueling them 1-0 in 14 innings! Ace Tsurui for Kyoto Ryouyou goes the distance shutting out Seibi!
  • Osaka - No surprise here. PL Gakuen easily handles Sakuranomiya 8-2. Their real test though was in the semis when they had to play Osaka Touin. Down 4-1, they tie it up in the 7th, taking the lead with a run in the 8th en route to a 7-5 win.
  • Hyogo - Ikuei blows Toyodai Himeji out of the water, winning 8-0. Kakogawa Kita fell to Toyodai Himeji in the semis, giving up the winning run in the 9th losing 3-2. Houtoku Gakuen meanwhile lost in its first game to Takigawa Dai-ni 6-5.
  • Nara - Ichijyou defated Kouriyama 3-2 in 10 innings. Chiben Gakuen lost to Yamato-Kouryou in the 2nd round 9-6, and Tenri suffered the same fate, losing in the 2nd round to Naradai Fuzoku 6-0.
  • Wakayama - Kouyou breaks a 2-2 tie in the 9th against Wakayama Shiritsu to claim the championship. Chiben Wakayama had an unusual exit, losing to Seirin 4-1 in the 3rd round. Senbatsu participant Minoshima bowed out in the first round to Wakayama Nishi 10-6.
  • Kurashiki Shougyou defeated Risshodai Shounan 5-1. Jyousuikan was in the tournament, and was tied with Kurashiki Shougyou 8-8 heading to the 9th, but gave up 4 runs. They could only muster to get one back, falling 12-9.
  • Samukawa held on early with Meitoku Gijuku, but evenutally they pulled away winning 7-3.
  • Akiyama and Saijyou went toe-to-toe with Meitoku Gijuku, but their ace Ishibashi was just one better as Akiyama yielded the winning run inth 13th falling 2-1. Saibi also had a close game against Samukawa, getting the equalizing run in the top of the 9th. However they couldn't hold it as Samukawa earned the sayonara win in regulation 3-2.
  • Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku defeated Senbatsu participant Kounan 2-1 in 10 innings for the championshp. Falling behind 1-0 early, they come back in the 9th to tie the game before winning it in extras.
  • Seihou without ace Imamura fell 12-2 to Kyukokudai Fuzoku. Kamimura Gakuen made it to the semifinals, but lost to Kounan 6-2. 21st century team Oita Uenogaoka made a much better showing here, defeating Urasoe before losing to Luther Gakuin in the quarterfinals. Finally, Meihou not using Imamiya in the quarterfinals, fell to Kounan 3-0.
Not sure what to make of these regional tournaments since it seemed like a lot of the ace pitchers were not playing.

A final note. In stumbling around the Asahi Koshien site, I found a girls high school baseball league. Their main page is here, and features 6 teams:
  • Fukuchiyama Seibi (Kyoto)
  • Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima)
  • Saitama Sakae (Saitama)
  • Hanasaki Tokuharu (Saitama)
  • Komazawa Gakuen Jyoshi (Tokyo)
  • Kamata Jyoshi (Tokyo)
This league may be piggybacked upon Eri Yoshida's draft into the Kobe 9 Cruise. Also, the league has been cross-marketed with the anime Cross Game in a CM for Wakasa products.

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