When it comes to looking at favorites to win the Koshien tournaments, those who live in the northern Tohoku region, or those that border the Sea of Japan know that for them it's much harder. The better players sometimes get "recruited" by other schools in metropolitan areas, or the quality of competition isn't that great.
But here in Iwate, they may have a chance - and it all rests on one man. Hanamaki Higashi's Kikuchi Yuusei. Battling toe-to-toe with Seihou's Imamura, a single run was all that separated him from the senbatsu title.
This is the summer though, and hope springs once again for the men in purple. They, along with Ichinoseki Gakuin (who was passed over for the Spring Koshien), Moriokadai Fuzoku and Iwaizumi make up the top 4 seeds.
The only other team to make it to Koshien (Iwaizumi has not), Senshuudai Kitagami, is effectively the #5 seed in the same bracket as Iwaizumi.
We all know though who's expected to advance. It's just a matter of if he can do it.