Monday, October 19, 2009

Kanto Super-Regional Recap

The Kanto Super-Regionals won't start until October 31, so there's a bit of time for these teams to rest. The brackets are up here.

So, what happened?

In Gunma, I mentioned the brackets were wide open. I mentioned that the Maebashi Shougyou, Maebashi Kougyou (I listed Shougyou twice, but meant Kougyou) and Kiryuu Shiritsu Shougyou. And it turns out I was right. Maebashi Shougyou flew through the remainder of the bracket and won convincingly over Maebashi Kougyou. So these teams will represent Gunma.

In Tochigi, Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku managed to beat Utsunomiya Minami in that round of 16 game and true to what I said earlier, they would go on to defeat Yaita Chuo in the finals to take the top seed. It wasn't without some work though as they had a 3-run rally in the top of the 9th to defeat Ashikaga Kodai Fuzoku 7-6. Yaita made it to the finals by edging out Sakushin Gakuin 1-0 in the semifinals, so they too will play in the super-regionals.

Ibaraki didn't quite play out the way I had thought. Jyousou Gakuin and Shimotsuma Dai-ni both didn't make it out of the 2nd round. Jyousou actually was a victim of the influenza virus as they lost too many players and had to forfeit. That opened the door for Mito Sakuranomaki, and they made it's way to the finals, although they just edged Suijyou 2-0 in the quarterfinals.

The team that beat Shimotsuma Dai-ni, Hasaki Yanagawa, continued to make it's run. It's surprising since in the summer tournament, they lost their first game to Hitachi Dai-ichi 5-3. And yet they defeated Mito Shougyou 3-2, and then Koga Dai-ichi 4-2 to get to the finals! There was a flurry of scoring in the middle of the game with at least one team scoring from the 2nd to 7th inning. In the end, Mito Sakuranomaki earned the top spot. And while Hasaki Yanagawa probably has little chance against Urawa Gakuin in the super-regionals, perhaps there's still some story left to be written.

Seibou Gakuen did advance to the Saitama prefectural tournament. 2 other summer Best 4 teams made it to the prefectural tournament - Urawa Gakuin and Kasukabe Higashi, but the bracket draw would create an early collision course. And sure enough, they did after they won their first game. Kasukabe was no match, losing 7-0. Seibou Gakuin was cruising through it's part of the bracket, but then against Sakado Nishi hit a wall, losing 2-1.

Hanasaki Tokuharu, who showed well in the summer, was making it's own run on the other side of the bracket. Interestingly enough, they had a semifinal rematch against Kawagoe Higashi. Unlike the summer, they had an easier time winning 8-1. Urawa Gakuin would have to face Sakado Nishi in the semifinals, and with some late scoring, won 3-1 guaranteeing a spot in the Super-Regionals. But for good measure, they defeated Hanasaki Tokuharu 7-3.

Onto Chiba, I lamented Narashino's loss to Toukaidai Bouyou 5-1, while Kisaradzu Sougyou defeated Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku 9-8 setting up another blockbuster matchup in the Best 8. Bouyou would prevail winning 4-3 sending his team to the Best 4. Meanwhile on the opposite side, Chiba Shoudai Fuzoku was making it's way through, defeating Shounan 3-2 to reach the Best 4.

Now losing in the semifinals didn't mean elimination. Chiba was awarded 3 bids, so there would still be a chance. Shiritsu Funabashi would fall to Bouyou 4-1, and Chiba Meitoku would lose to Shoudai 2-0 to set up the key 3rd place game. And in that game, Shiritsu Funabashi would prevail over Meitoku 7-4 to advance, while Chiba Shoudai would earn the top spot holding off a 9th inning surge by Bouyou.

And finally we have Kanagawa, which was already in its semifinals. Koujyou couldn't keep up with Toukaidai Sagami falling 5-1, while Touin Gakuen would once again make the finals, defating Kamakura Gakuen 2-0. Once again, Touin Gakuen would play 2nd fiddle, losing 5-3 to ace Hifumi.

(Added 10-22)
I almost forgot about Yamanashi! There's no Chuubu regional, and Yamanashi gets thrown into the tough Kanto super-regionals. And that's not a good thing.

But, they'll send 3 representatives to the super-regionals just the same. So who went?

As I had mentioned before, Nihon Koukuu lost in the first round while all the other top seeds advanced. Their ouster, Koufu Kougyou, was unceremoniously ousted 9-2 by Koufu Shougyou.

Outside of that one part, it was just about chalk. The only other seeded team to lose before the Best 8 was Nihon Meisei who lost to Ichikawa.

After the quarterfinals, we had seeded Enzan versus Koufu Shougyou in one side, while Tokaidai Koufu and Fuji Gakuen faced off on the other. When the smoke cleared, Koufu Shougyou continued its amazing run winning 5-3 but would have to face Fuji Gakuen who edged by Tokaidai 4-3.

When all was said and done though, Koufu Shougyou couldn't seal the deal, falling 6-1 to Fuji Gakuen. And in the 3rd place game, Enzan had no answers for Tokaidai Koufu as they were blanked 9-0.


So we have the participants, what about the Super-Regional draw? In one quadrant, Touin Gakuen gets no breaks, drawing Ibaraki's Mito Sakuranomaki. Should they win that game, a date with Hifumi and Tokaidai Bouyou could await. Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku has a bit of an easier draw in their quadrant with perhaps Maebashi Shougyou giving them trouble. Urawa Gakuin and Tokaidai Sagami area on a collision course while Chiba Shoudai Fuzoku earns a 1st round bye, and will have a relatively ease quarterfinal matchup against either Yaita Chuo or Maebashi Kougyou.

In the end it seems pretty wide open, but since 4 teams qualify, it's really a race to the Best 4. Win your quadrant, and you're almost guaranteed a spot in the spring Koshien.

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