Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kinki Super-Regional Recap

By the time I had done the nationwide recap, the prefectural qualifiers for in the Kinki region were about to conclude.

Hikone Higashi, the frontrunner on once side of the bracket was tripped up by Kousen 8-6, opening up a bid to whomever wanted it.

Meanwhile, Oumi and Kita Ootsu charged forward on the other side fulfilling their blockbuster semifinal matchup. And in that semifinal, Kita Ootsu dashed out of the blocks building a 3-0 lead after 2 innings. While the offense stalled after that, they also had kept Oumi scoreless. That is, until the 5th inning where Oumi pulled within 1. Now Kita Ootsu was nursing a 1-run lead. But that too wouldn't last. In the bottom of the 8th Oumi would come up with 2 runs to take the lead late giving Kita Ootsu little time to rally. Indeed they would hold on for the comeback win.

Their opponent would be Yasu out of the lower Lake Biwa area as they beat Kousen 7-4. And then they had an interesting game against Minakuchi Higashi. Scoreless for 5 innings, Yasu tallies 5 in the 6th. Minakuchi comes back in the 8th and scores 5 of their own to tie the game! The game would go into extras where Yasu would score the sayonara run in the 11th.

Unfortunately, the final was not as exciting as Oumi blew out Yasu 9-1. Kita Ootsu had a bit of a harder time than expected against Minakuchi Higashi, getting by with a 4-2 win.

Fukuchiyama Seibi did indeed avenge their loss to Ryuukokudai Heian, winning 5-3. That seemed to give them a direct shot at a bid in the super-regionals, but they ran into trouble against Tounan.

Up 2-0, Tounan tied the game in the 4th. Seibi reclaimed their 2 run lead in the 5th, only to see that disappear as Tounan scored a run in the bottom of the 5th and 2 more in the 6th to take the lead! They couldn't close the deal though as Seibi scored 3 in the 8th to pull ahead for good.

Higashiyama wasn't able to reach the finals on the other side of the bracket as Ritsumeikan Uji scored early and staved off multiple rallies by Higashiyama to win 4-3.

In the finals, Fukuchiyama Seibi was shocked by Ritsumeikan Uji early falling behind 3-1 after the first inning. While Seibi managed to pull within one by the 3rd, Uji pulled away with 2 in the 4th, and added 2 more insurance runs in the 8th for an 8-3 win!

And in the consolation game, Higashiyama pulled one out in a barnburner against Tounan 10-9.

Tenri continued to blow through the bracket, scoring double digits in each game. On the other side, Chiben Gakuen and Kooriyama faced off in the quarterfinals with Kooriyama squeaking one out 3-2.

In the semis, Tenri met up with Naradai Fuzoku, who managed to keep Tenri's offense relatively at bay. Still, they found themselves down 5-0 going into the late innings. But then something happened in the bottom of the 9th as Naradai Fuzoku started a rally. Run after run was being scored, until suddenly it was 5-4! That would be as far as they would go though as Tenri would advance to the finals, albeit with a great scare.

Kooriyama faced Kansai Chuo in the other semi. And while Kansai Chuo would open the scoring in the 3rd with a run, Kooriyama tied it up in the 4th and scored the go-ahead run in the 7th to set up a rematch of the summer final!

Sadly for Kooriyama, the result was the same as Tenri would rout them 15-4 to take the #1 seed. In the consolation game, Kansai Chuo got by Naradai Fuzoku 9-7.

So, Chiben Wakayama played 3 games, won by a combined 31-1 and took the #1 seed. No surprises there.

Their final opponent, who at least earned an automatic bid in the super-regionals was Kouyou.

As for the 3rd spot, Kashima was routed by Shiritsu Wakayama 13-4.

It's hard to put something together for this region as the games once we reached the Best 8 were mostly one-sided.

There was pretty much no surprises in block play as to who advanced.

Osaka Touin cruised through Block A with their closest game a 8-1 victory over Kinkidai Fuzoku in the quarterfinals. In Block B, there was no clear favorite, but Toukaidai Gyousei edged out Minoo Higashi 1-0 to advance. PL Gakuen and Riseisha did indeed meet in the Block C finals, and PL kept its run to return to Koshien alive with a 5-3 win. And in Block D, Konkou Osaka survived against Katano 1-0 to complete the Best 4 field.

With Toukaidai Gyousei being the odd team out, it followed that whomever faced them would have a good shot to reach the finals and an automatic bid. Osaka Touin was the benefactor, but found themselves down in the early going. It wasn't until the 5th where Osaka Touin would pull away for an 8-3 win. PL Gakuen and Konkou Osaka had a hard fought semifinal. PL took the 1-0 lead early, and then from the 4th through 6th innings the teams traded runs. When the dust settled though, it was PL who emerged with a 4-3 lead and would go on to win by that margin.

In the finals, Osaka Touin jumped on PL Gakuen early with 2 in the 1st and 3 in the 4th en route to an 8-5 win and a #1 seed. And in the consolation game, it was Toukaidai Gyousei who shocked Konkou Osaka 7-1 to earn the 3rd spot.

Kakogawa Kita couldn't get past the 2nd round losing to Akashi Shougyou 7-6. That left Toyoudai Himeji as the front-runner to take the #1 seed.

Then they faced Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku in the semifinals...

It was Hara for Toyoudai Himeji and Okamoto for Kobe Kokusaidai, and both were throwing donuts on the scoreboard. It continued for 9 innings... then 10, and then 11! As the game progresses, teams look for any way to end it quickly, and preferably not in a tie. But we approached the 15th inning and it was still scoreless.

Touyoudai couldn't score in the top of the 15th meaning that the best they could hope for is a tie. But Kobe Kokusaidai wouldn't stand for a tie, and came through with the sayonara run in the bottom of the 15th for the win!

On the other side of the bracket sat Ikuei and Shinkou Gakuen, and while certainly not as exciting Ikuei advanced with a 6-2 win setting up a matchup with Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku. The game would be scoreless until the bottom of the 6th when Kobe Kokusaidai would score a run. And while Ikuei would tie it up in the 7th, Kobe would grab it right back in the same inning. That would be all the scoring in the game as Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku would take the #1 seed 2-1.

And the 15 inning matchup seemed to take all the energy out of Toyoudai Himeji as Shinkou Gakuen would blank them 8-0 to deny the favorites a spot in the super-regionals.

As for those super-regionals, we're still in the 1st round, but all the top seeds advanced convincingly in the first day of competition (Chiben Wakayama, Ritsumeikan Uji and Osaka Touin). Kouyou hung in tough against Tenri on Day 2, erasing a 3 run deficit early, but a run by Tenri in the 7th would be enough to advance. Kita Ootsu, the #3 team from Shiga had Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku on the ropes early with a 3-0 lead. While Kobe scored a run in the 7th, Kita Ootsu still held the advantage. But in the bottom of the 9th, Kobe would mount yet another rally - tying and eventually scoring the sayonara run to advance! Of course they will have to face vaunted Tenri, but they've shown no give up late in games.

The remainder of the 1st round games will conclude this weekend, as well as the quarterfinal games between Chiben Wakayama and Ritsumeikan Uji, and Osaka Touin and Ikuei.

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