Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spring Tournament Update

One week later, and there's been quite a bit of progress that has been made across the country.

So, without further ado, いきますよ!

Prefectural teams have almost been determined. Teams that have qualified since last week:

In Sapporo, Sapporo Shinkawa made it out of Block A with little trouble while Shoushi Gakuen edged out Ritsumeikan Keishou in Block B. Over in Block C, it was a battle of Hokkai schools as Hokkai defeated sister school Hokkai Gakuen Sapporo 5-3, and to round things out Sapporo Dai-ichi advanced with a 6-3 win over Sapporo Kiyota.

Hokkaido Sakae advanced out of Muroran with a 2-0 win over Komadai Kougyou.

Hakodatedai Yuuto continues its regional dominance in Hakodate with a 3-1 win over Hakodate Shougyou.

No surprise in Sorachi as Komadai Iwamizawa had no trouble at all against Takikawa Nishi 8-0.

Asahikawadai's run after losing ace Kakita ended in the Asahikawa regional final losing 7-5 to Asahikawa Jitsugyou.

The last regional final to be determined was in Kushine where Nemuro and Kushiro Kougyou did battle yesterday, but the results aren't in yet.

Tohoku is still wrapping up their prefectural play (by the way, 3 teams from each prefecture qualify):

Aomori is in it's best 4 stage. Before the prefectural finals, the other teams that had qualified were:
- Aomori (4) - Aomori Yamada, Aomori Shougyou, Aomori, Aomori Higashi
- Goshogawara (3) - Goshogawara Kougyou & Goshogawara Nourin (block winners), Goshogawara Shougyou.
- Mutsu (2) - Oominato (Automatic bid from last year's spring tournament), Tanabu
- Towada (3) - Tawada Kougyou, Misawa, Misawa Shougyou
- 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), Sannohe

In the prefectural brackets, Aomori Yamada and Kousei Gakuin each had a close game to start, but rebounded in the quarterfinals to cruise. They face each other in one semifinal.

On the other side of the bracket, Hirosaki Kougyou has had two 1-run games to make it to the Best 4, while Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi edged Aomori 2-1 in their quarterfinal.

Needless to say, with this draw chances are that the key game will be between Hirosaki Kougyou and Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi. Whoever loses that match will have little chance of advancing to the Super-Regionals.

Iwate's prefectural tournament has concluded. Interestingly enough things went almost as normal. Ichinoseki Gakuin, well... they lost in the first round to Oofunato 3-1. Oofunato would actually advance to the semifinals where they would lose to Hanamaki Higashi 4-2. Senshuudai Kitami had no trouble in it's quadrant, but it wasn't Morioka Dai-ichi that waited for them in the semis.

No, instead it was Kuji who had shut out the ballclub 4-0. And then they go out and shutout Senshuudai Kitami 1-0 (and they scored that run in the top of the 9th!).

In the final, Hanamaki Higashi held a slim 1-0 lead against Kuji. But they wouldn't be able to hold it, as Kuji scored 3 in the bottom of the 8th to win by the same margin.

Meanwhile, in the 3rd place game, Oofunato suprised Senshuudai Kitami giving them all they could handle. In the end though, Senshuudai Kitami would eke out a 4-3 win to advance to the Super-regionals.

Akita is in their final games. Of the top 3 mentioned before, only Honjyou couldn't make it to the best 4 as they lost to Oomagari Kougyou 5-2. Kanaashi Nougyou and Akita Shougyou made it to their semifinal match, but the actual game was a bit of a letdown as Akitashou swept Kanaashi 8-1. Akitashou will face Oomagari Kougyou, who broke a 5-5 tie against Yokote with 2 in the top of the 9th to hold on 7-6.

So the key matchup will be the 3rd place Kanaashi Nougyou versus Yokote.

Miyagi is in the Best 4. One side of the bracket was wide open. Shibata had little trouble on their quadrant, and will face Oosaki Chuo who was in a 18-17 barn burner against Miyagi Suisan.

The other side had the quality teams. Sendai Ikuei and Furukawa Gakuen indeed faced off in the quarterfinals but it was all Sendai Ikuei who won 14-3. Rifu lost in their 1st round game, opening the bracket up for Touyou, but barely made it by winning Shiroishi 2-1 in the quarterfinals.

Yamagata's qualifying has been completed. Haguro mercied-ruled Yamagata Minami 12-2 in 6, while Yamagata Chuo bested Tsuruoka Higashi in a late game flurry of scoring.

In the finals, Haguro's scoring in the semis may have hurt them as Yamagata Chuo would plate a couple of runs late in the final to beat Haguro 6-4. And Yamagata Minami would find themselves the odd team out, losing 1-0 to Tsuruoka Higashi in the 3rd place game.

And finally in Fukushima, they're about to finish prefectural play. Nihon Tohoku and Seikou Gakuin collided in the quarterfinals. Seikou Gakuin would prevail 6-2 and cruise into the finals defeating Aidzu Gakuho 20-0. Their opponent will be Higashi Nihon Shouhei, who defeated Futaba 13-3 in the semis.

The Kanto Super-regionals have been completed.

In the quarterfinals, Narashino would get past Nichidai-san 6-5 and had a semifinal match against Yokohama Sougakukan who had no trouble with Tsuchiura Kohoku 7-0. And while Yokohama Sougakukan would take a 2-1 lead on Narashino in the semifinal, Narashino would comeback with 4 unanswered runs to win 5-2.

On the other side, Maebashi Shougyou defeated Nihon Tsurugaoka 6-2 setting up a match with Urawa Gakuin who had no trouble with Hikawa advancing 11-4.

In their semifinal match, Maebashi Shougyou jumped out to a 5-1 lead after 2 innings. Noguchi couldn't hold the lead though, and a 5-1 run in the 5th and 6th innings would tie the game. Urawa Gakuin would put the dagger in the hearts of Maebashi Shougyou as cleanup batter Hara would hit a solo homerun in the top of the 9th to complete the comeback.

The momentum surely carried Urawa Gakuin in the finals, as the tandem of Ogiwara(?) and Minami combined on a 4-hit shutout of Narashino to take the Super-regional title 4-0.

Not much has happened here except that Nagano has completed prefecutral play. In the semifinals, Maruko Shuugakukan scored a quick 2 runs in the 1st against Saku Chousei, and made it stick winning 2-1. In the other semi, it became a offensive display in the 2nd half of the game. Nagano Nichidai held a 4-2 lead over Ueda Nishi after the top of the 5th. After that, 12 runs would be scored, and Ueda Nishi would pull out with the 10-8 win.

And in the finals, Maruko Shuugakukan scored early and often against Ueda Nishi, and while Ueda held on early (they had leads of 1-0 and 4-1 after the top of the 1st and 2nd innings), they couldn't keep up with the pace, losing 11-6.

The 3rd place match would go to Nagano Nichidai who defeated Saku Chousei 7-3.

The Tokai Super-regionals have been completed, and it certainly was an interesting one from top to bottom.

In the quarterfinal games, Kakegawa Nishi could not hold off Ujiyamada Shougyou as they give up 2 runs in the 7th and 7 in the 8th for a 12-2 win. They would meet Oogaki Nichidai as they defeated Touhou 3-1 breaking a 1-1 tie with 2 runs in the 8th. And in the semifinal Oogaki Nichidai held a 3-1 over Ujiyamada Shougyou going into the late innings. But Ujiyamada couldn't hold onto it as Oogaki scored a run in the 8th and 9th innings. In the 12th, they would pull ahead with the 12th with a run, but Ujiyamada Shougyou would rally back with 2 runs to pull off the upset!

On the other side, Shizuoka and Chuukyoudai Chuukyou battled back and forth, and were tied 6-6 going into the 9th. Chuukyoudai Chuukyou looked to have pulled it out in the 9th with a run, but Shizuoka finds one more rally left in them and pulls off the 8-7 victory! Their opponent looked to be Inabe Sougou as they were routing Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou 10-2 after 7 innings. But in one of the more shocking comebacks, Kenritsu Gifushou would score 4 in the 8th and 5 in the 9th to somehow win 11-10!! In their semifinal, the teams would be deadlocked at 2 before Gifushou would score a run in the 11th to win 3-2.

In the super-regional final, it was all Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou as they would defeat Ujiyamada Shougyou 6-1.

In the Nara finals, Tomigaoka was given no favors in the finals against Tenri as they were annihilated 17-3. So Tenri once again advances out of the prefecture. Brackets have been drawn and the matchups are:

- Kashima(Wakayama 2) vs. Riseisha (Osaka)
- Tenri (Nara) vs. Kita-Ootsu (Shiga)
- Kouyou (Wakayama 3) vs. Houtoku Gakuen (Hyogo)
- Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama 1) vs. Kyoto Furitsu Kougyou (Kyoto)

Chuugoku's Super-regional has not started yet, so no update at this time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

2010 Spring Tournaments

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.