There's still a bit of ways to go here, but we're beginning to wrap things up:
So when the draw took place, there was a Hell quadrant in that Shirakaba Gakuen, Hokkai and Sapporo Dai-ichi was all in one quadrant. And the games there were just nuts.
Sapporo Dai-ichi held a 6-2 lead going into the top of the 9th against Hokkai, only to see that lead vanish. They go into extras, and in the 11th Hokkai scores 3. But Sapporo Dai-ichi almost comes right back, falling one short in the bottom of the 11th.
Then in the Hokkai-Shirakaba Gakuen game, Hokkai jumps out to a 5-0 lead in the 1st. And after Shirakaba scores 2 in the 4th, Hokkai claims those runs back. But Shirakaba would continue to chip away scoring runs in the 5th, 7th and 8th to pull within 1. Unfortunately for them, that's as close as they would get.
Asahikawa Jitsugyou seemed to have a easy bracket, but they lost in the first round to Wakkanai Ootani 3-1! That opened the door for Hokkaido Sakae who blew through Futaba, and rallied against the aforementioned Wakkanai Ootani 2-1.
On the other side of the bracket, it seemed like we were destined for a Hokushou-Komadai Iwamizawa matchup in the semifinals. It was not to be though as Hokushou gave up an early lead to Hakodatedai Yuuto in the quarterfinals that they could not come back from. Komadai Iwamizawa fulfilled their part of the bargain winning both of their game via the mercy rule.
The semi-finals and finals will happen today and tomorrow.
Tohoku finally had their draw for the Super-regionals, but before that we need to finish up prefectural play.
In Aomori, the prediction held true. Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi defeated Hirosaki Kougyou 9-3 in the crucial semifinal. Hirosaki would then have to face Aomori Yamada, who was blanked by Kousei Gakuin 5-0. And while Hirosaki Kougyou would make it close, they would fall 6-5.
But the real surprise was in the championship game where Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi dominated the final, winning 5-1 over Kousei Gakuin.
Akita Shougyou had no trouble with Oomagari Kougyou winning 14-2 to take the top seed in Akita. Yokote earned the final bid with a 9-6 win over Kanaashi Nougyou.
Over at Miyagi, Oosaki Chuo went from a 18-17 shootout to a 5-hitter against Shibata. Sendai Ikuei broke a 2-2 deadlock in the 7th against Touyou to win 3-2. In the finals, Sendai Ikuei flexed it's muscle winning 6-2. And earning the 3rd bid was Touyou who had no trouble with Shibata, winning 8-3.
And finally in Fukushima, Seikou Gakuin claimed the #1 seed defeating Higashi Nihon Shouhei 6-1. In the consolation game, Futaba would win a low scoring affair 2-0 overAidzu Gakuho.
Now onto the draw...
And boy is the draw heavy on one side...
Akita Shougyou, Senshuudai Kitami, Touyou, Aomori Yamada, Yamagata Chuo, Hanamaki Higashi, Higashi Nihondai Shouhei, Kousei Gakuin, AND Sendai Ikuei.
That's one half. ALL of it.
Which means the other half is almost wide open.
The three main teams that avoided that bracket were Seikou Gakuin, Haguro and Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi with the latter having a clear draw. Expect one of these teams to make it to the super-regional final. Play begins on the 10th.
The Hokushinetsu region will finally begin play tomorrow. With 5 regions, one top seed would not get a first round bye, and that would be Toyama's Tonami Kougyou. Matchups are as follows:
- Yuugakkan (Ishikawa 2) vs. Fukui Shougyou (Fukui 2) - Winner to face Maruko Shuugakukan (Nagano 1)
- Tonami Kougyou (Toyama 1) vs. Saku Chosei (Nagano 4) - Winner to face Niigata Meikun (Niigata 1)
- Ueda Nishi (Nagano 2) vs. Takaoka Shougyou (Toyama 2) - Winner to face Seiryou (Ishikawa 1)
- Tookamachi (Niigata 2) vs. Nagano Nichidai (Nagano 3) - Winner to face Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui 1)
The first games have been completed. Riseisha had no trouble with Kashima winning 9-2.
Tenri falls flat against Kita-Ootsu 6-3 thanks to a 5-run 8th inning. (Curse you Tenri! Why do you have to disappoint me over and over again!!!)
Kouyou was in another pitching duel against Houtoku Gakuen, taking a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 9th. And if I wrote that, then you know that they didn't hold it. Houtoku scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th for the win. I'm impressed by Kouyou, but they'll be forever blocked by Chiben Wakayama - who just annihilated Kyoto Furitsu Kougyou 9-1.
Chuugoku's Super-regional will begin tomorrow.