Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hokkaido Super-Regional Recap

Okay, now that I've finished up with all the regions, it's time to go back north and see what's happened.

And it's quite a lot.

As we know Hokkaido is it's own "Super-Region" and gets one automatic bid.

Just like the summer, they have their local regional qualifying for the super-regionals.

Summer participant Sapporo Dai-ichi managed to get out of the locals while Asahigawadai did not. The Komadai schools also made it out as well. Hokushou came out of Otaru once again, Hokkai looked to make another run to avenge their poor performance before, and Shirakaba Gakuen looked for another taste of Koshien.

Not surprisingly enough, quite a few of the better pitchers out of Hokkaido made it to the super-regionals:

Asahigawa Jitsugyou - Naruse Kousuke
Bushuukan - Ueda Masato
Komadai Tomakomai - Imazaki Jyunjirou

As the Super-Regionals started, Sapporo Dai-ichi fell to Asahigawa Kougyou. Sapporo Minami made a strong run towards the Best 4. Shirakaba Gakuen couldn't stop the Komadai Tomakomai steamroller while their brothers from Iwamizawa were doing the same on the other side of the bracket. And Hokushou wasn't one to be ignored.

It certainly seemed like we were headed for an all Komadai final, but interestingly enough neither were able to advance. Sapporo Minami scored 3 in the first inning against Tomakomai, and then another run in the 2nd en route to a 6-3 win. Hokushou grabbed a run against Iwamizawa, and tried to extend it twice with a run in the 5th and 8th, but Iwamizawa scrapped that run back. However, they were never able to plate the equalizing run and we suddenly found ourselves with a Sapporo Minami-Hokushou final.

The scoring began early and often in the final with Minami scoring 2 in the first only to have Hokushou double that in the bottom of the frame. After trading a run in the 2nd and 4th, Hokushou blew it open in the 6th with 5 runs to advance to secure a bid to the Spring Koshien with an 11-5 win.

Hokushou is led by ace Matano Tomoya, who can hit 137 kph (~85 mph) but probably should expect to see low 80's - and sports a curve, slider and forkball. He's also one of the team's better hitters, generally occupying the cleanup spot. Another person to look out for is 1st year Oono Masaya, a converted shortstop after manning the catcher position.

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