The spring tournaments are well underway (and in some cases completed). In the sake of sanity I will not be doing brackets for these, but will provide a recap for these.
Spring tournaments follow the same format as the fall tournaments with each prefecture doing a tournament, and then the winners advancing to the regionals.
So without further ado, here we go!
Since Hokkaido is it's own super-region, they are having their prefectural regionals right now.
Sapporo being so big has 4 bids while all other regions get one. Each block is almost fully in their semifinals.
Block A has Sapporo Ootani vs. Sapporo Shiroishi and Sapporo Shinoro vs. Sapporo Shinkawa
Block B has Sapporo Minami vs. Shoushi Gakuen in one semi, and the 2nd has yet to be determined. Sapporo Kougyou faces Eniwa Kita in the round of 8 while Sapporo Kokusai Jyouhou meets Ritsumeikan Keishou.
Block C has Hokkai vs. Sapporo Kaisei, and Hokkai Gakuen Sapporo vs. Sapporo Kousei
Block D has Sapporo Dai-ichi vs. Sapporo Nichidai in one semi, and in the quarterfinal stage has Sapporo Sousei vs. Sapporo Kotoni Kougyou and Sapporo Kiyota vs. Sapporo Moiwa
Muroran's bid will go to the winner of the Komadai Kougyou-Hokkaido Sakae regional final. Komadai Tomakomai was eliminated in the quarterfinals lost to Hokkaido Sakae 7-1. They haven't been able to do a whole lot since Ma-kun left in 2006.
Hakodate just finished the first round of games, so it's pretty early.
Otaru gets 2 bids, thanks to Hokushou winning the fall tournament, so while Hokushou defeated Futaba 4-2 in the regional final, Futaba earns a bid as well.
Sorachi's final features Komadai Iwamizawa who face-off against Takikawa Nishi in the final.
Asahikawa is in the quarterfinal stages. The matchups are Asahikawa Kougyou-Rumoi, Asakikawa Kita-Asahikawadai, Asahikawa Ryuukoku-Asahikawa Minami, and Asahikawa Jitsugyou-Furano Ryokuhou.
Nayoro's bid goes to Wakkanai Ootani as they defeat Nayoro 8-0 in the regional final.
Kitami's bid goes to Engaru who defeated Kitami Hokuto 3-0 in the regional final.
Tokachi's bid goes to Shirakaba Gakuen who edges past Obihiro Hakuyou 8-7.
Kuhsine has yet to start their regionals.
Tohoku is still in their prefectural stages at this point. Super-regional play will begin on June 10th.
Aomori is in regional block play right now. Teams that have qualified for the prefectural finals are:
- Aomori (4) - Aomori Yamada
- Goshogawara (3) - Goshogawara Kougyou & Goshogawara Nourin (block winners)
- Mutsu (2) - Oominato (Automatic bid from last year's spring tournament)
- Towada (3) - None
- Hirosaki (4) - Hirosaki Kougyou, Hirosaki Jitsugyou, Hirosaki Minami, Kashiwagi Nougyou
- Hachinohe (5) - Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi & Kousei Gakuin (Block winners), Hachinohe Shougyou & Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ni (runner-up)
Iwate has had their draw for the prefectural tournament. Notable teams include Ichinoseki Gakuin (who by the way doesn't seem to garner a whole lot of respect), Hanamaki Higashi (who faces off against Moriokadai Fuzoku), Senshuudai Kitami and Morioka Dai-ichi. Interestingly enough, these teams are on separate quadrants of the bracket.
Akita has also wrapped up regional tournament play. The top 3 in the fall tournament, Honjyou, Kanaashi Nougyou and Akita Shougyou all qualified and are placed in different quadrants.
Miyagi is also about to start prefectural tournament play. Fall champion Furukawa Gakuen has made it to the prefectural stage, as well as 3rd place Touyou. Rifu and Sendai Ikuei also have made it to this stage.
Yamagata has reached the Best 4 stage, and surprisingly Nihon Yamagata and Sakata Minami aren't among the final teams. Instead it's Haguro vs. Yamagata Minami, and Tsuruoka Higashi vs. Yamagata Chuo.
And finally in Fukushima, they're in the round of 16. Teams still involved include Nihon Tohoku, Seikou Gakuin and Higashi Nihon Shouhei.
This time around, Tokyo joins the ranks of the Kanto region. Teams that had qualified for the super-regionals were (in order):
- Ibaraki - Shimotsuma Dai-ni, Tsuchiura Kohoku, Mito Sakuranomaki, Toride Dai-ni
- Saitama - Hanasaki Tokuharu, Urawa Gakuin
- Tochigi - Seiran Taito, Sakushin Gakuin
- Gunma - Maebshi Shougyou, Kiryuu Dai-ichi
- Chiba - Narashino, Choushi Shougyou
- Tokyo - Nihon Tsurugaoka, Shuutoku, Nichidai-san (invitational bid?)
- Kanagawa - Toukou Gakuen, Yokohama Sougakukan
- Yamanashi - Hikawa, Toukaidai Koufu
*Ibaraki gets 4 bids because they are the host prefecture.
Quarterfinal games are actually happening today. At Mito City Municipal, Nichidai-san and Narashino face off in the 1st game while Tsuchiura Kohoku upsets Hanasaki Tokuharu and will face Yokohama Sougakukan.
Over at Hitachi Naka Municipal, Nihon Tsurugaoka faces off against Maebashi Kougyou in the morning match, while Hikawa meets Urawa Gakuin in the matinee match.
All prefectures have concluded their tournament play with the exception of Nagano. They're also hosting the super-regionals and will have 4 bids. Teams that have qualified are:
- Niigata - Niigata Meikun, Tookamachi
- Toyama - Tonami Kougyou, Takaoka Shougyou
- Ishikawa - Seiryou, Yuugakukan
- Fukui - Fukui Koudai Fukui, Fukui Shougyou
While Nagano hasn't completed play yet, the 4 teams have been determined. They are Maruko Shuugakukan, Saku Chousei, Nagano Nichidai and Ueda Nishi.
Tokai will be starting Super-regional play on the 21st. With such a small super-regional, quarterfinal matchups are:
- Ujiyamada Shougyou (Mie 1) vs. Kakegawa Nishi (Shizuoka 2)
- Touhou (Aichi 1) vs. Oogaki Nichidai (Gifu 2)
- Shizuoka (Shizuoka 1) vs. Chuukyoudai Chuukyou (Aichi 2)
- Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou (Gifu 1) vs. Inabe Sougou (Mie 2)
Surprisingly, the Kinki Super-regional is very small. Each prefecture gets only one bid, while the host (Wakayama this year) gets 3, for 8 teams total.
All prefectures with the exception of Nara has finished:
- Shiga - Kita-Ootsu
- Kyoto - Kyoto Furitsu Kougyou
- Osaka - Riseisha
- Hyogo - Houtoku Gakuen
- Wakayama - Chiben Wakayama, Kashima, Kouyou
In Nara, they've been delayed a bit. Tomigaoka advanced to the finals by defeating Takada Shougyou 8-5, and at least will play on an even playing field because Tenri and Chiben Gakuen played to an exhausting 13-13 draw! 17 runs were scored in the 1st 3 innings, and if that weren't enough, another 8 were scored in the 9th inning!
Chuugoku's Super-regional follows that of Kinki. All prefectures get 1 bid with the exception of the host prefecture which gets 4. This year it's Yamaguchi-ken. Matchups are as follows:
- Yanai Shoukou (Yamaguchi 4) vs. Yazu (Tottori)
- Takagawa Gakuen (Yamaguchi 1) vs. Izumo (Shimane)
- Nanyou Kougyou (Yamaguchi 2) vs. Hiroshima Kougyou (Hiroshima)
- Hikari (Yamaguchi 3) vs. Okayama Higashi Shougyou (Okayama)
The Shikoku Super-regionals are completed.
Round 1 matchups were the following:
- Nomura (Ehime 2) def. Komatsushima (Tokushima 1) 2-1 (12 innings)
- Kochi (Kochi 1) def. Marugame (Kagawa 2) 12-2 (6 innings)
- Sangawa (Kagawa 1) def. Kawashima (Tokushima 2) 6-1
- Okou (Kochi 2) def. Imamari Nishi (Ehime 1) 2-0
Then in the semifinals, Kochi defeated Nomura handily 7-0 in 8 innings, while Sangawa breezed by Okou 7-1. And in the championship Kochi had no problems with Sangawa, winning 5-1.
The Kyushu Super-regionals are also completed.
Out of the 16 teams, 4 are automatically given to the teams competing at senbatsu. So, the field consisted of the following:
- Fukuoka (4 + 1) - Jiyuugaoka (Auto), Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku, Fukuoka Kougyou, Iidzuka, Yuusei
- Saga (1) - Saga Kita
- Nagasaki (1) - Nagasaki Nichidai
- Oita (1) - Meihou
- Miyazaki (1 + 1) - Miyazaki Kougyou (Auto), Miyazaki Shougyou
- Kumamoto (1) - Kumamoto Kougyou
- Kagoshima (2) - Shounan, Kagoshima Jitsugyou
- Okinawa (1 + 2) - Kadena (Auto), Kounan (Auto), Itoman
The first round went as follows:
- Kumamoto Kougyou def. Miyzaki Kougyou 8-1 (8 inn.)
- Iidzuka def. Itoman 8-1
- Meihou def. Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku 2-1
- Kagoshima Jitsugyou def. Kadena 5-0
- Jiyuugaoka def. Nagasaki Nichidai 3-2
- Yuusei def. Saga Kita 5-1 (11 inn.)
- Shounan def. Miyazaki Shougyou 9-4 (11 inn.)
- Kounan def. Fukuoka Kougyou 8-4
So Kadena's malaise continues as they get shutout. In fact, all 4 teams struggled in their first games. Even Kounan, who had fallen behind 4-1 after a 4-run 4th inning by Fukuoka Kougyou. However, they scored every inning thereafter and cruised. Scarier yet, they didn't use Shimabukuro.
Quarterfinal matches went as follows:
- Iidzuka def. Kumamoto Kougyou 1-0
- Meihou def. Kagoshima Jitsugyou 6-2
- Yuusei def. Jiyuugaoka 4-3
- Kounan def. Shounan 8-0 (7 inn.)
Jiyuugaoka tried to comeback against Yuusei with 2 in the 9th, but that wasn't enough. Kounan once again didn't have to call on Shimabukuro in its victory.
So that setup the following semifinals:
- Meihou def. Iidzuka 1x-0 (10 inn.)
- Kounan def. Shounan 4-0
Yamano from Meihou pitched a complete game 147 pitches which featured a slow curve. He also scored the sayonara run.
Shimabukuro finally showed up, but only to record the final out!
And in fact, he would only be called upon to pitch 2 1/3 innings total as he came in the 8th inning of an 11-2 rout of Meihou.
And for the first time ever I've seen, Meihou made 9 pitching changes. Before you think they called upon 9 different pitchers, the manager instead went to a rotation of Yamano, Inagaki, and Shinogawa for an inning at a time before finally calling upon Takao to relieve Shinogawa in the 9th during a 4-run inning.