Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nationwide update (up to 21st)

I'm still working on updating the brackets, but I'll try to give some type of recap.

Kita Hokkaido
Kita Hokkaido is in the best 4. No surprise that Komadai Iwamizawa is there, but barely survived Wakkanai Ootani 4-3. They face Asahikawa Jitsugyou, who had to score 2 in the top of the 9th to beat Asahikawa Ryuukoku by the same score. In the other semifinal, there's Bushuukan facing unlikely Engaru who actually has had little trouble in the prefectural finals (although they really haven't faced any tough competition).

Minami Hokkaido
Minami Hokkaido will also be entering the best 4 today. The first team to get there was Hakodatedai Yuuto as expected. They'll face the winner of the Sapporo Dai-ichi vs. Sapporo Shiroishi game. I'd give the nod to Dai-ichi to advance to the semis, but their game against Komadai Tomakomai in the first round makes things muddy. Both teams scored in every inning that someone scored (i.e. either neither scored, or both scored). But going into the 8th, Tomakomai led 11-7. That's when Dai-ichi scores 2 in the last 2 innings of regulation to tie the game. And in the 10th, they score the go-ahead run to complete the comeback 12-11.

Personally I'd like to see Hakodatedai Yuuto make a run at the title - if nothing else that they've always been a good team, but never have been able to win it all.

The other semifinal will between the winners of Hakodate Kougyou-Hokushou and Sapporo Nichidai-Hokkaido Sakae. Chances are that Hokushou will advance out of this side of the bracket.

Aomori is also in their best 4. In one semi, it's Aomori Kougyou vs. #1 Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi. Aomori Kougyou had the benefit of a quadrant that saw #4 Hirosaki Minami exit early. Kougyou has lasted this long, but it's almost a certainty that they'll fall to the top seed.

On the other semi, it's a clash between powerhouses #2 Kousei Gakuin and #3 Aomori Yamada. Kousei has breezed through mercy ruling 3 of their 4 opponents, while Aomori Yamada only mercy ruled their first opponent, and beat Aomori Higashi in the quarterfinals 6-3.

Akita is in the best 4 as well. And I think we probably have our winner. In one semifinal is #1 Akita Shougyou facing #5 Takanosu. Takanosu barely survived Akita Chuo 5-4 in 10. Now, Akitasho hasn't shown a lot of offense, but they have been good in not giving up runs.

The other semifinal is Noshiro Shougyou vs. Nishisenboku. Only Noshiro has a prior Koshien appearance and that was back in 1985. Nishisenboku though, seems to have an ace in Sendou. While not a strikeout pitcher, he has carried a WHIP of 0.815 over the last 3 games, including a 4-hit shutout over #2 Oomagari Kougyou. Noshiro Shougyou has been just about impressive, defeating both last year's qualifier Meiou and #3 Kanaashi Nougyou. But the box score figures have deteriorated as they've advanced allowing either more hits, or more walks.

I wouldn't be surprised to see an Akitasho-Nishisenboku final, which should be interesting, but I think Akitasho is the frontrunner to go.

Iwate will be starting the round of 16 today. All 4 seeded teams have advanced so far. But the surprise is that top seed Kuji has only won their first two games 1-0 and 2-1. Ace Kikuchi Kazuhiro has kept his team in the games.

He's apparently found a second wind after being embarrassed in a 9-0 loss to Hanamaki Higashi last summer. Since then, he's come back to defeat Hanamaki Higashi 3-1 in the spring tournament prefectural final, and his only loss in tournament play so far in 2010 has been to Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi in the semifinals of the Tohoku Spring Tournament.

Kuji's next game will be against Mizusawa who has had little trouble in the tournament so far. Should they win that game, they'll probably have to face Ichinoseki Gakuin.

On the other side, it seems like #2 Hanamaki Higashi and #3 Senshuudai Kitami are on a collision course for the semifinals. Neither team has had too much trouble and the competition doesn't seem threatening.

Yamagata is in the round of 16. It's hard to say how the teams are doing as the top 8 have only played one game and all 8 have survived. Can't really comment on who's a favorite here. And none of the other teams have shown to be extraordinarily impressive except for perhaps Nagai who has won their 2 games via mercy rule.

Miyagi was supposed to be in the Best 8 right now, but a funny thing happened on the way there...

Sendai Shougyou tied Tohoku Gakuin 4-all after scoring 2 in the bottom of the 8th. And they stayed that way through 15 innings.

So... It's the Best 7 right now...

Now, of those 7, #1 Sendai Ikuei is the only seeded team left. But ace Kimura needed to pitch a 5-hit shutout as his team managed only one run against Shiroishi.

Good news? They're facing the Sendai Shougyou-Tohoku Gakuin game. It'll be 3 games in three days for the winner of that game, and you're asked to play the #1 seed? No chance.

Past that game, they'll face the winner of Izumi Tateyama-Rifu. Rifu we remember when they made that deep run in senbatsu last year reaching the semifinals. Izumi Tateyama seems to be the beneficiary of good timing so far, whether it be scoring 4 runs on 2 hits against Natori Kita, or coming from behind to beat Miyagi Hirose.

On the other side, we have Kesennuma Kouyou vs. Sendai Higashi and Sendai Dai-ichi vs. Tohoku. There's not much on the first matchup, but Sendai Higashi has been rather resilient in their last 2 games. Against Furukawa, they were tied at 0 when Furukawa scored 1 in the top of the 9th. Higashi comes back with 2 in the bottom of the 9th to win. Then they claw back from down 0-2 early against Kurokawa to win 4-2. But one wonders how long they can keep doing things like that.

The second matchup features last year's winner. But up until their last game, they hadn't looked all that impressive. Still, one would expect them to move on into the semifinals, and perhaps the finals.

Fukushima will have their semifinals today, and at this point, it's Seikou Gakuin's to lose. The only other participant to have an appearance is Kounan who went in 2008.

Their opponent in the semis is Odaka Kougyou. They upset #4 Futaba 4-2 on the way there and have used either ace Yoshino or secondary starter Nohara. They seem to have gained momentum after the upset, but they also haven't faced that tough of competition.

In the other semi, the aforementioned Kounan faces off against Shirakawa. Now they did defeat #6 Aidzu, but never had to face #3 Nihon Tohoku. Not sure who has the advantage in this game other than maybe Kounan who has recent experience.

But in all, it's Seikou Gakuin in the pole position.

Gunma will finish setting their Best 8 today. #1 Maebashi Shougyou has already advanced while #3 Takasaki Kenkoufukushi and #4 Tomioka play today.

Maebashi will meet Oota Higashi in the quarterfinals. Oota has depended on ace Sakamoto for their games, giving up just 1 run in 27 innings, and only 14 hits and 3 walks.

The other set quarterfinal is between Tatebayashi and Maebashi Kougyou. It's a bit odd that Maebashi Kougyou wasn't a seeded team given that they were in senbatsu earlier this year. They certainly responded to the challenge by defeating #2 Kiryuu Dai-ichi in their first game and mercy ruling the rest of their opponents. There's nothing special about Tatebayashi, but they were able to rally against Shiritsu Maebashi from down 7-3 to win 8-7 in 10.

Tochigi has half of the semifinals set. And for the most part it's been chalk. 3 seeded teams were eliminated - Mooka and Yaita Chuo lost in the first round, and Nasu Seihou lost to current Best 8 Utsunomiya Minami. Last year's participant Sakushin Gakuin has been rather impressive their first 3 games and just beat fellow seed Kokugakuin Tochigi 6-1 to advance to the semis. They'll face another seed in Tochigi Kougyou for the right to play in the championship.

Today's games will have seeded teams Seiran Taito and Utsunomiya Kougyou face off. Neither team has been really challenged in their games so far and both teams represented Tochigi in the spring Kanto super-regionals. Should be a good game.

The other is the aforementioned Utsunomiya Minami versus Sano Nihon. Both had recent appearances in senbatsu although neither has had a whole lot of success since then. Again, both have not been challenged so far so it's hard to say who if any has an advantage.

Ibaraki is in the round of 16. Of the 8 seeded teams, 6 are remaining (#4 Toride Dai-ni and #8 Tsukuba Shuuei were eliminated). None of them have had been really challenged outside of perhaps #6 Koga Dai-ichi who survived a late charge by Sawa.

Saitama is in the round of 16, and the committee has seemed to have done a good job as the top 4 seeds have made it so far with little problem except for perhaps last year's champion Hanasaki Tokuharu. They were given a shock as they let Shiritsu Kawaguchi get within 1.

Other teams remaining include Tokorozawa Kita, who came back from down 4-0 in the 1st to Hanno Minami capping it with 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th winning 5-4.

Chiba is now in their best 8 My team and one of 2 top seeds still in is Narashino. They'll have to face Shiritsu Kashiwa today. The other top seed is Urayasu, but they've been involved in close games - probably closer than they'd like.

But the entire field is littered with strong teams. Should Narashino win, they'll have to face the winner of the Narita-Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku game. Urayasu faces senbatsu participant Toukaidai Bouyou while Senshuudai Matsudo will face upset-minded Chiba Keiai who has been on one heck of a run!

Nishi Tokyo
Nishi Tokyo is in the quarterfinals, and 5 of the 10 seeded teams have made it.

Top seed Nihon Tsurugaoka came back against Touhou with 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th to win 3-2. They'll face Obirin (i.e. Oberlin, yes THAT Oberlin) who has been rather impressive in its games.

In a repeat of last year's final, Nichidai-san once again beat up on Nichidai-ni to the tune of 10-0 in 6 innings. They'll face Horikoshi who beat #4 Kokugakuin Kugayama, then rallied from 7-3 to defeat Meijidai Meiji 9-8.

On the other side, it's possible we could have an all-Waseda semifinal. Wasedadai Gakuin squares off against #9 Toua Gakuen, while #2 Waseda Jitsugyou plays #7 Souka.

First of all, could you imagine having a field full of Waseda jerseys? And then both sides singing Konpeki no sora? It would be fun. At least that's what I would think.

Might be a 1-2 matchup in the final, the way things are split right now.

Higashi Tokyo
Since Nishi and Higashi Tokyo alternate usage of Meiji Jingu, Higashi Tokyo just finished the round of 16 games.

Deanna mentioned Shuutoku's Mitsumata as a player to watch. He's pitched in all of their games so far, but unfortunately, I don't really have much to go on. He did survive a late rally by Seijyou Gakuen who scored 2 runs in the 9th to pull within one at 4-3. Don't know if he'll start tomorrow against Momijigawa.

If they win that game, chances are they'll face Kokushikan. While not seeded, they are generally considered an top tier team and have mercy ruled their last 3 games - including a 14-6, 7 inning win against Teikyou. Before getting ahead of ourselves, they have a game against Adachi Shinden.

On the other side, we have #3 Seiritsu Gakuen and #6 Nihon Daigaku Buzan squaring off in one quarterfinal, while #2 Kanto Dai-ichi meets Yasuda Gakuen.

Seiritsu Gakuen was actually behind Ueno Gakuen 2-0, but put together 3 run-scoring innings to win 3-2. Kanto Dai-ichi has only been challenged by last year's runner-up Yukigaya winning by a score of 2-0.

Kanagawa is just about to set the field of 16.

But before we get to that, there were a few games on the 18th that were rather exciting.

The big one was Yokohama-Yokohama Sougou. Yokohama Sougou was just 3 out away from defeating the vaunted squad when perhaps nerves got to them. Yokohama would score 2 in the top of the 9th to take the lead 3-2. That would be the final margin.

After that one, top seeded Yokohama Sougakukan traied Yokosuka by one going into the bottom of the 9th. Ace Inoue Yuutarou was 3 outs away when he gives up a homerun to Nagao to tie the game at 5. And if that weren't crushing enough, in the 10th against ace Gokita(?) Yuusuke, he gives up the sayonara 2-run homerun. You can't help but feel bad for Inoue.

At Fujisawa Happe, Ebina lost a 2-run lead in the 8th to Yokosuka Gakuin. Then when they scored a run in the 10th, so did Yokosuka. But when they scored another run in the 11th, they made sure they shut the door on Yokosuka.

And over at Matano, Chigasaki Nishihama also blew a lead, this one a 3-run lead to Shirosato. But 2 runs in the 11th gave them the win.

The Round of 16 games so far are between:
  • #1 Yokohama Shokudai vs. Yokohama (should be good!)
  • #5 Touin Gakuen vs. Ebina
  • #1 Yokohama Sougakukan vs. Chigasaki Nishihama
  • Yokohama Hayato vs. #9 Nichidai
(There are more than 1 #1 seeds as they just divide them into 4 levels instead of 16 seeds.)

Niigata is entering quarterfinal play today. Of the 8 seeded teams, only half remain.

#1 Niigata Meikun squares off against a #8 Niigata squad who has a short turnaround after their round of 16 game against Hokuetsu. Hokuetsu actually held a 6-1 lead, but saw it evaporate after a 4-run 7th and a run in the 8th. The game went into extras, and Hokuetsu actually looked to have the game won after scoring a run in the top of the 13th. Niigata though wouldn't quit and scored 2 to end the game. The winner of that game will meet the winner of the #5 Chuuetsu versus Murakami Sakuragaoka.

On the other side, it's Koshien runner-up and #3 seed Nihon Bunri playing against Shibata Nougyou who upset #6 Shibata Chuo in one game, and unseeded teams Sanjyou Higashi and Muikamachi in the other game.

Nihon Bunri has a good chance of trying to return to win it all this year, so long as they can get past Niigata Meikun.

Nagano has half of their Best 4 field set, and I couldn't be more happier. Mainly because a school representing an area a friend lives in is in the best 4! That would be unseeded Ueda Chikuma who admittedly has not had to face a seeded team this entire tournament. Of the 4 games, 3 had winning margins of just 1 (the other had 2), and 2 games go into extras. So they certainly have had to work hard. Their most recent game was against Nagano, where the game went scoreless into extras. There, in the 13th Hoshina led off with a double down the 3rd base line. After a sacrifice and two walks, Onuma hits a double down the right field line scoring 2! Nagano would get a run back with 2 down, but could not extend the game.

The other Best 4 qualifier so far is Matsushou Gakuen. Shockingly (or perhaps not given their scores), they mercy ruled fellow seeded team Maruko Shuugakukan 7-0 in 7 innings!

The quarterfinal games to be played today include seeded teams Nagano Nichidai vs. Matsumoto Kougyou and Toukai Dai-san vs. Saku Chousei.

So perhaps it's more impressive that Ueda Chikuma survived this long considering that all the other teams were seeded.

Toyama is still in the early stages of the tournament. They'll be wrapping up the 2nd round today to get to the round of 16.

So far, quite a few mercy rule games.

Fukui is wrapping up the round of 16 today.

And it's been an interesting tournament so far. Out of the 16 games played so far, there have been 5 extra inning affairs. Oddly enough, all of them happened at Fukui Prefectural.

First, there was Usui vs. Koshi. Tied at 3, Koshi scored a run in the top of the 9th to take the lead. Usui managed to tie it up to send it to extras. Then in the 11th, with 2 outs, Tanaka Nao hits the sayonara home run to right field.

Later in the day, Tsuruga Kougyou would score 3 in the top of the 10th to defeat Takefu 5-2.

Then on the 19th, Fukui Nourin and Hokuriku were scoreless going into extras. Both teams having gone to their relief staff, it would be Nourin's Masunari who would crack. Hokuriku would score the winning run in the bottom of the 12th.

The very next game, Tsuruga Kehi and Wakasa went into extras! Wakasa sent it into enchousen after tying it at 2 in the bottom of the 8th. The game would go all the way to the 15th and final inning. Just when Wakasa looked to pull out a draw at best, ace Sumiyoshi could not close the deal. Tsuruga Kehi scores 2 in the top of the 15th and holds on to win 4-2.

And finally on the 21st, Fukui Koudai Fukui was actually trailing Takefu Shougyou 1-0! They were able to tie the score in the 8th and win it in the 11th!

Ishikawa has such few teams that they start late, but quickly go through the brackets. They'll have the field of 16 set after today. All the top tier teams only need 1 game to get there so it's hard to gauge. But teams like Yuugakukan, Kanazawa and Seiryou have won their first game. Last year's participant Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa will play today.

Shiga is pretty much caught up now in it's games. All 4 seeds have advanced through their first games into the round of 16. Last year's participant Shiga Gakuen also has advanced through their first game. They'll have a date with Oumi if they defeat Nagahama Hokusei.

Yamanashi will have their Best 4 determined today. One semi is already determined. Top seed Hikawa will face second seed Nichidai Meisei. Hikawa defeated one of my favorite teams in Nihon Koukuu (i.e. Japan Aviation Academy), while Nichidai Meisei defeated last year's winner Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku 6-5 thanks to a run in the bottom of the 8th, and a sayonara run in the bottom of the 9th.

The quarterfinal games today include Fuji Gakuen vs. Katsura and top seeded Koufu Shougyou vs. Koufu Kougyou.

Interestingly for Gifu, they decide to do block play even though they don't have a lot of schools.

Anyways, they're having the block finals today and tomorrow.

Of the 8 possible seeded teams, 5 made it to the Best 8. That includes last year's participant Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou as well as past participants Shiritsu Gifu Shougyou and Oogaki Nichidai. Another Teikyou school in Teikyou Kani is here as well.

Aichi has caught up from the prior rainouts. Block play is approaching the semifinals. Of the 8 block seeds, only D Block's Homare has been eliminated. That means that last year's winner Chuukyoudai Chuukyou is still in it as well as Touhou. Aikoudai Meiden is trying to advance from the unseeded ranks, but they're in the same block as Touhou.

There was a bit of irony in the tournament, and it comes at the expense of Anjyou Gakuen. In their first round game against Shinshiro Higashi they were down 9-4 going into the top of the 9th when they scored 6 runs and won 10-9. 8 days later, they play Tojyaku and they led them 9-4 going into the bottom of the 9th. And I'm sure you know what happens next...

Yep. Tojyaku scores 6 in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Anjyou Gakuen. Karma's a... well, you know...

Shizuoka is having their round of 16 games today.

Of the seeded teams, Nichidai Mishima and Yaidzu Chuo are the only ones eliminated.

The Tokoha schools are both still in it - last year's Tokoha Tachibana and former senbatsu winner (and 2008 runner-up) Tokoha Kikugawa.

I (not so secretly now) want an all Tokoha final.

Mie will be getting the second half of the round of 16 determined today. Last year's Koshien participant Mie is still in it. Other notable teams such as Komono is still in it, but remember that with such a small field, teams have played 1 or 2 games.

Kyoto will be setting the rest of the Best 8 today. The two participants already there are Nishi-Jyouyou and one of "my teams" in Kyoto Gaidai Nishi. Of course, they survived their recent game against Ootani. They scored 2 in the top of the 9th to tie the game, then scored the winning run in the 13th.

The rest of the field includes last year's participant Ryuukokudai Heian, and another random team I like in Kyoto Subaru.

Outside of those teams, it's hard to see anyone else really challenging for the Kyoto bid. There's teams that have been impressive, such as Kyoto Seishou, Otokuni, and Kita-Saga. But against what level of competition I don't really know.

Nara is really a two horse race - Tenri and Chiben Gakuen. They have represent Nara since 2001. And since they're on opposite sides of the bracket, it seems likely that it could be the finals matchup.

But there are some interesting stories. Ikoma has had two walkoff games so far. That in and of itself isn't necessarily all that great, but considering they haven't won a tournament game since 2007 makes it more impressive. Sadly, they're running into the Chiben engine in the Best 8.

And it must be frustrating to be Takada Shougyou. Probably the best team not named Tenri or Chiben Gakuen, they are fairly successful in tournament play, but just can't break that ceiling.

Speaking of a ceiling, is there no bigger ceiling to break than Chiben Wakayama?

But perhaps there's some chinks in the armor. Kaseda, who had outlasted Taikyuu 2-1 in 11 innings in their first game was going into the bottom of the 9th with a 2-run lead. Ayame(?) couldn't close the door though and Chiben slammed through with 2 runs. The ball was given to Hirata for extras, but he could only go 1.1 before giving up the sayonara run.

I was impressed by Kouyou at senbatsu, and they looked good in their first game against Tanabe Kougyou, but again, they'll have to face Chiben Wakayama.

So teams will have to mostly focus on the small things, like getting as far as one can. Hatsushiba Hashimoto against Tanabe scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th to win 7-6 on the 18th.

Oooo~saka~~~ (sorry, been reading Azumanga Daioh again)
Osaka will be wrapping up block play in the next couple of days.

No upsets on the big name teams so far. Couple of good games though. Takaishi, down to their last 3 outs and down 3, find a way to tie the game against Kaidzuka Minami. They score the sayonara run one inning later.

Ikuno Kounan, facing the Rinku Shounan combined squad, thought they had the game won with a run in the bottom of the 8th. But Rinku fought back and leveled the score. Worse yet, Rinku scores 2 in the top of the 11th and all seems lost. But Ikuno comes back with 3 runs to win the game!

Sano blew a 3-run lead against Midori Seihou, but manages to put through the winning run in the 12th. Osaka Shougyoudai trailed Tondabayashi 4-3 going into the 9th, but rallies for 3 runs to win 6-4. Senriseiun scores 2 in the bottom of the 8th and the bottom of the 9th to beat Osaka Kyouikudai Ikeda 6-5.

Finally, Hirakata Tsuda has their 2nd consecutive walkoff as they rally from down 3-1, capping it with 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th for the sayonara victory over Ougimachi Sougyou. It's their second 4-3 win.

Hyogo is a couple of days behind but will have their 16 block winners in the next 2 days. Only 7 of the 16 seeded teams are still around, including Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku and ace Okamoto Ken. Joining them are Kansei Gakuin (who I think captured quite a few fans with their C/P ace), Houtoku Gakuen and Shinkou Gakuen.

Tottori's tournament goes in the blink of an eye (8 days to be exact), so outside of looking at the seeded teams, it's hard to gauge who's a front runner. There have been a handful of mercy rule games, and more predominantly low scoring affairs.

About the only thing I can say is that it's probable the representative from here is a one-and-done team.

Okayama is in their Best 8. Two top seeds and one second seed have been upset, but recent participants such as Kurayoshi Shougyou and Okayama Rikadai Fuzoku are still around. In addition there are no leaders in the clubhouse to take it all right now.

I'm not sure how to explain it, but when I see prefectures like Tottori and Shimane with less than 50 high schools, then compare it to others which have quite a few more, it reminds me about the continued aging of Japanese society and the movement of people to the metropolitan areas.

So Shimane is already in the Best 8 after just 5 days of games. Of those 8, they include Kaisei and Iwamichisuikan (fka Gonokawa).

Hiroshima while a day behind, just about has their round of 16 set. Front runners Kouryou and Jyousuikan are both still alive in the tournament and on opposite sides of the bracket.

Doesn't mean there aren't other strong teams remaining. Soutoku, Hiroshima Kougyou, Kure Shougyou, and one team that I'd like to see break through - Onomichi.

Yamaguchi is entering the round of 16 without last year's winner Karyou who lost to Takagawa Gakuen 8-4. Hayatomo is the only seeded team eliminated, but I'm not too familiar with the seeded teams.

Kagawa is a couple of days behind, but they're progressing. Sangawa is still around, as well as Takamatsu Shougyou. Interesting though that they're on the same side of the bracket.

Tokushima is just about in the best 8. Most seeded teams are still remaining with the exception of Anan Tousen who lost in the first round. Last year's participant Tokushima Kita also was eliminated in the first round, so the field is wide open to all including Komatsushima and Tokushima Shougyou.

With Imabari Nishi being upset in the first round (yes, they lost to Kawanoishi 4-2), the brackets open wide for Saijyou and Saibi to meet in the finals. I'm sure #2 seed Nomura will have something to say about that, but having never played at Koshien, they'll have to prove that they can get over that hump.

Kochi is down to their Best 4. And, it's all the seeded teams. Kochi and Kochi Shougyou, Meitoku Gijuku and Okou. Kochi and Meitoku Gijuku look to be the stronger teams so far. No surprise really given they have represented Kochi 9 of the last 10 years (Kochi Shougyou was the other). Okou is the biggest longshot. They just happen to be a good team in a prefecture with 2 strong ones.

Fukuoka has also reached the best 4 stage. Interestingly enough, 3 of the 4 participants had to play the extra game. Higashi-Fukuoka, Iidzuka and Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku all played 3 games to get to the semis.

Higashi-Fukuoka after an easy first game against Kaho Higashi, barely edged out Kyushu Sangyoudai Fuzoku and Kokura, Nishi Nippon Tankidai was involved in 3 low scoring affairs against Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou, Fukushou and Itoshima. Meanwhile, Iidzuka bookeneded a 7-5 game against Chikuyou Gakuen with 2 blowouts.

The final team is Toukaidai Dai-go. After edging Kurate 5-2, they saw their lead against Tobata disappear. Worse, Tobata scores a run in the top of the 10th, putting the team in jeopardy. Sure enough though, Toukai scores 2 in the bottom of the 10th for the sayonara win.

Saga just wrapped up the round of 16 play. 3 of the top 4 seeds (Saga Shougyou, Taku, Saga Gakuen) are still alive. The 4th was Saga Kita, but they were defeated by Ryuukoku handily in the first round 8-2 and are still alive in the tournament. Ryuukoku also defeated a Tosu squad that had won their 2 games in extras. Their next test will be a Arita Kougyou team that has come on as of late.

Nagasaki is in their best 8 - and almost all 8 seeds made it. The only exception was Keihou, who lost to Nagasaki Nishi 5-4. That was after they scored 4 in the 9th to defeat Seiryou 5-3 two days earlier.

Shikimachi Kougyou almost didn't make it either. They were in an extra inning affair against Shimabara Nougyou when they managed to win 2-1 in 14. Same goes for Kaisei. They were having fits against Kuwatana who they couldn't shake off. Worse, Kuwatana scored 2 in the 8th to take a 4-3 lead. But Kaisei would score 2 in the bottom of the 9th for the win.

The leader in the clubhouse has to be Sasebo Jitsugyou, who has looked impressive in it's 3 games so far.

The Best 8 is about to be set, and so far Buntoku is the only seeded team eliminated. Last year's participant Kumamoto Kougyou is still in it, as well as recent representatives Jyouhoku and Yatsushiro Higashi (who defeated the aforementioned Buntoku).

However, 2 of the seeds almost fell on the same day with Buntoku. Senshuudai Tamana trailed Luther Gakuin 5-3 when Tamana scored 3 in the bottom of the 8th. Amakusa Kougyou was upset-minded when they had a 5-run 5th to take the lead 6-5 over Hitsuyuukan. However, reliever Hayazaki couldn't hold the lead, giving up a run in the bottom of the 7th and 8th innings for the loss.

Oita is currently in their round of 16 games. Last summer's darlings Meihou is still in, and as strong as ever. Who isn't around is fellow top seed Oita. And their disappearance is by far the most shocking. Up 5-1 going into the 8th inning against Usa, they seemed to have the game in hand. Then in the bottom of the 8th, it all went to hell in a handbasket. Errors, misplays, and a loss of control led to 11 runs with only 1 out and a mercy rule 12-5 win.

In other games, Nihon Bunridai Fuzoku won their first game against Oita Higashi 4-3 in 11, then lost to Oita Minami 4-3 in 10 (both sayonara endings).

Miyazaki's schedule is a bit messed up, and it probably doesn't help that they're suffering from the whole Foot and Mouth disease in the prefecture.

All seeded teams have played one game, and Miyakonojyou Shougyou is the only team eliminated so far. But they lost because Sadowara was able to put together a 7-run lucky 7 when they were down 6-0!

However there were other seeded teams that almost bit the bullet too. Down 3-2 against Takachiho, Miyazaki Oomiya score 2 in the bottom of the 9th. Miyazaki Nichidai let Nobeoka Kougyou tie it up in the 7th. Then after getting a go-ahead run in the 10th, they give it right back. Finally, they score a run in the 11th and hold off Nobeoka for the win.

And in other games, Nisshou Gakuen outlasts Miyazaki Minami 2-0 in 13 innings, while St. Ursula score the gyakuten run against Miyakonojyou Higashi in the top of the 9th.

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