Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's never easy... (Part 1)

At least in Kita Hokkaido anyways.

Asahigawa Jitsugyou and Obihiro Ootani met in the first quarterfinal yesterday. After trading a run in the 1st, they went scoreless until Asahigawa scored 2 in the bottom of the 7th. Obihiro though scored 2 immediately thereafter.

And that's it.

A 15 inning draw means they'll have to replay the game today. And 4 games in 4 days for the title probably means death for the eventual winner of this game.

The immediate benefactor is Kushine Kounan who held off a late charge by Engaru to win 5-4.

As the title of this post says, it's never easy to make it, and the case of Asahigawa Jitsugyou and Obihiro Ootani is a prime example.

With the conclusion of yesterday's games, we enter the Best 8.

Aomori Yamada arguably the most dominant team in any prefecure over the past decade, has steamrolled over the competition with the exception of ② Seiai whom they defeated 2-0. Their next opponent will be ⑦ Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi.

The only other seeded teams that remain will be a battle of sister schools. ① Kousei Gakuin faces ⑧ Kousei Gakuin Noheji Nishi.

The other quarterfinals matchups see Misawa facing Aomori Kita while Hachinohe Kita meets Oominato. In Oominato's sweet 16 game versus ⑤ Aomori, they took the 5-4 lead in the 7th with 2 runs, then extended it with 4 more in the 8th. They needed it as Aomori rallied for 4 of their own in the bottom of the 8th. But that's all they would get, falling by 1.

Something happened on the way to the Best 4. At least for ① Haguro anyways. With Oliviera taking the hill for the top-seeded team, Shinjyou Higashi scored 4 runs in the 1st! And Kasahara holds them off for the win! The question is whether they can keep the momentum going. Next up is ⑤ Yonezawa Chuo who defeated Yonezawa Koujyoukan 2-0. And for ③ Nihon Yamagata and ② Sakata Minami, they have to think that their roads have gotten easier - although they have to get past each other first.

Rain continues to delay proceedings here. Ishimaki Kougyou and Ishimaki Nishi just can't seem to the last 3rd round game in.

Fukushima's been pretty much chalk throughout the qualifiiers. And the Best 8 matchups were no different. ① Seikou Gakuin, ③ Nihon Tohoku and ④ Kounan all cleared their games.

It's pretty obvious, but ② Shirakawa is missing from that list. Matched up against ⑦ Higashi Nippon Kokusaidai Shouhei, they fell behind early 3-0 with Higashi's pitcher Kubo helpin his own cause with a homerun. Shirakawa would eventually fall 4-1.

We enter the Best 8 games today. But at Takasaki Jyounan, some teams had to work to get there.

In the first game, Tokyo Noudai Dai-ni and Tone Shougyou went into extras tied 1-1. When Tone went ahead in with a run in the 11th, Noudai somehow put their own run together to continue the game. It musy have deflated Tone as ace Takahashi gives up the sayonara run in the 12th.

The second game also saw a 1-1 game go into extras between Kiryuu and Chuo Chuto. Their respective aces, Yoshida and Sunaga continued to battle it out for 14 innings. Then, in the bottom of the 15th, the Kiryuu manager decided to pull Yoshida for Shimizu. But Chuo put together a rally in the bottom of the 15th. With 2 down, the manager puts Yoshida back in, but it's too late. Chuo plates the sayonara run with 2 outs in the last inning. That has to be one of the most crushing ways to lose for Kiryuu.

And now there's only 1 seeded team left - Takasaki Kenkoufukushi. The field is wide open.

Half of the Best 4 games have been set. Seiran Taito defeated Otawara 6-2, and Sakushin Gakuin squeaked by Tochigi Kougyou 2-1 in 10 innings.

The other half will be determined today with the already mentioned Utsunomiya Shougyou vs. Motegi and Sano Nihon vs. Kanuma Shoukou.

Things here are moving slowly, and not because of the weather. The last half of the sweet 16 will be determined today.

As for the first half of the field Ushiku, who had to survive 2 games against seeded Fujishiro, got by Ushiku Eishin 1-0. Perhaps the 4 days off helped. Next up is Tsuchiura Nihon.

Top seed Jyousou Gakuin mercied Naka in 7 to move on. The other top seed, Shimotsuma Dai-ni will face Moriya today.

In other games, Oota Dai-ichi upsets seeded Suijyou 3-1 while another seeded team Tsuchiura Kohoku beats Iwai 6-2 and will play Tsukuba Shuuei in the next round.

The Seibou Gakuen-Urawa Gakuin game was interesting, but not in a good way. Deanna has coverage here (or soon will), as she loves the boys from Urawa (no, not literally, but - oh nevermind).

But it seems like Urawa never really got started, especially on defense. They spotted 4 runs to Seibou early, which ended up being one run too many. Honjyou Dai-ichi will be their next opponent as they slid by Washimiya 3-2.

The other Best 8 matchup that was set today is Kasukabe Higashi and Shiritsu Kawagoe. Saitama Sakae plays today.

Nishi Tokyo
Nishi Tokyo has gone from 119 to 16 at breakneck speed and isn't stopping. All 16 teams will be playing today.

Waseda Jitsugyou continues to fly through and looks to do the same against Toua Gakuen who has done the same. Hachiouji and Nihon Tsurugaoka clash today. Nihon Dai-ni battles Toritsu Fuchuu Kougyou.

Higashi Tokyo
You know, it must be nice playing in Higashi Tokyo if you get to play at Meiji Jingu. And for these teams, that opportunity awaits them.

We're in the middle of the sweet 16 games. Kokushikan had no problem with (wonder why Waseda Jitsugyou ended up being the "favorite"). WasedaToritsu Koyamadai sent Kanto Dai-ichi home 3-1.

Today's games will be highlighted by Nishogakushadai Fuzoku and their ace Onoda as he tries to pitch them past Toritsu Hachijyou. Toukaidai Takanawadai has had a good run, but now has to face a 2nd seeded team in Seiritsu Gakuen.

Of course, being a fan of Bobby V also means that playing at Chiba Marine Stadium wouldn't be bad too. And we're in the Best 8 now.

The first game has Seibudai Chiba meeting Ryuukeidai Kashiwa. I'm looking forward to the 2nd game between Narashino (listen to their braban here!) and Chiba Reimei.

Over at Chiba Prefectural Stadium, Keiai Gakuen opens the day with Yachiyo Higashi. The 2nd game on this docket is also interesting as Kisaradzu Sougou plays Takushokudai Kouryou.

Kanagawa takes a day off here before the round of 16 begins. Yokohama is still around, steamrolling the competition. Toukaidai Sagami has done the same, and these teams will butt heads tomorrow.

Another top team, Yokohama Sougakukan meets up against Tachibana Gakuen (橘学苑). A distinction has to be made has there is another Tachibana Gakuen (立花学園). The team that defeated that Tachibana, Zuma is still around. Their opponent is Tourei Fujisawa.

The other top 4 teams have survived so far as well. Toukou Gakuen finally hit a speed bump in Oppama, while Yokohama Shoudai has had a little bit of a harder time - most recently against Nihon Fujisawa.

Play has finally moved to the Best 8 and the new Hard Off Eco Stadium (for those familiar with Japan, you know others will have found that name funny).

Top seeded Nihon Bunri continues their trek to Koshien with little opposition. ② Chuuetsu also has advanced, but more recently has shown some cracks. Many seeded teams still remain, but there are some others that have made a run and hope to somehow keep it going. Kashiwazaki is one case as they meet seeded Gosen. Niigata Kenou Kougyou plays another seeded team in Niigata Shougyou. The hardest test will be for Takada Nougyou who has to play the aforementioned Nihon Bunri.

Nagano is about to reach their Best 4. Iiyama continues their magical run as they defeat top seed Saku Chousei 6-2 behind a 6 run 2nd inning. Nagano Nichidai, the other top seed need 8 innings to score against Nagano Shougyou. When they did, it was 8 in the 8th and that was that.

In today's Best 8 games, last year's spring participant Maruko Shuugakukan plays
Chikyuu Kankyou, while Matsushou Gakuen and Matsumoto Dai-ichi go in the afternoon session.

The summer rains have pushed Toyama's qualifiers back. 2nd round play will finally end today.

Top seeds Toyama Shougyou and Sakurai have already advanced into the round of 16.

Games today include:
  • Takaoka Dai-ichi vs. Tonami
  • Futagami Kougyou vs. Takaoka Shougyou
  • Toyama vs. Mizuhashi
  • Kureha vs. Itsurugi
  • Nantou Sougou Fukuno vs. Shinkawa Midorino

Kanazawa has been eliminated early, opening part of the field - specifically for Komatsu Kougyou. Wajima also was sent home in its first game by Nonoichi Meirin, and the immediate benefactor is Seiryou.

But for the other top seeded teams such as Yuugakukan and Terai, they've only played one game, so it's hard to see where they lie for now.

The top seeds Fukui Shougyou, Tsuruga Kehi, Hokuriku and Fukui Koudai Fukui all finally played their first games (Fukusho being the exception - they had to play a 1st round game). None have had any issues, although Tsuruga Kehi didn't mercy rule Sabae.

Yamanashi opened up after 2 top seeds fell in their 1st game - Nihon Koukuu and Fuji Gakuen. Ichikawa followed soon after. Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku remains to hold the flag of the top teams. The 2nd 4 seeds have also benefited as Toukaidai Koufu reaches the semifinals. But for those playing the role of spoiler, they have a chance. Koufu Kougyou, who sent Ichikawa packing, is in the Best 4 to face Toukaidai. Minobu, who felled Nihon Koukuu (*cries*) must push through Sundai Koufu.

Rain at Numazu Ashitaka has delayed the round of 16 games a day.

The Tokoha schools (Kikugawa and Tachibana) are there. So are Kakegawa Nishi, Shizuoka Gakuen and Seisei Kougyou.

Other teams just look to continue their Koshien dreams. Hamana, Nichidai Mishima and Shimada Shougyou look at their banners and hope to carry their school's will.

Gifu has entered the Best 8. After this round, teams will draw for semifinal matchups.

Although not seeded, Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou appears to be the front-runner for the bid. But Gifu Jyouhoku and Chuukyou think otherwise.

Ok, end of part 1. Part 2 should have Aichi heading westward.

No comments: