Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Tournament Update #5

So at this time, 2 more super-regions are completed. All others with the exception of the Kanto Super-Regionals which begins on the 30th are in the Best 4.

Tokyo Super-Regionals
As expected (and as Deanna mentioned in the comments), Nichidai-san had no trouble at all with Shouwa. 3 in the 1st, 6th in the 6th and 3 in the 7th mean a 12-0 called game.

Kokugakuin Kugayama jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Hachiouji. Hachiouji did not let Kokugakuin intimidate them and scored 2 in the 4th and 6th innings to take the lead!

Kokugakuin struck right back with 3 runs in the 7th, but yet again Hachiouji would rally. They immediately claimed one back in the bottom of the 7th, and in the bottom of the 9th Masuzawa would deliver a bases-loaded single to right to tie it up!

But in the 10th, Kokugakuin would deliver the final blow. Kawaguchi would hit a 2-run homerun to center, and then with runners at 1st and 2nd Kameya would hit a double to right-center clearing the bases and giving them a 10-6 lead. Kikuchi would get one back for Hachiouji with a double to left, but that's all they would get.

So it was Nichidai-san versus Kokugakuin Kugayama for the final. Right off the bat in the bottom of the 1st leadoff batter Takayama hits a homerun to immediately give the favorites a 1-0 lead.

The score would remain at 1-0, but in the top of the 6th with a runner on 1st and 2 down for Kokugakuin, Shinkyo lines a ball down the right field line. The runner is sent around 3rd for home! But a great relay throw guns down the runner and keeps the lead for Nichidai-san!

That seemed to deflate Kokugakuin as Nichidai would extend the lead to 2 in the bottom of the 6th. Then in the 7th, Nichidai would get two hits with the bases loaded to make it 4-0. Nichidai ace Yoshinaga would not put a runner in scoring position after the 4th, scattering 5 hits and striking out 10, giving Nichidai-san their 12th Kanto title, and first in 9 years.

Hokushinetsu Super-Regionals
Things went as planned in the first round. Fukui Shougyou defeated Sakurai 2-1, although they needed to score a sayonara run in the bottom of the 9th to do it. The team from the island of Sado couldn't hold off Saku Chousei and lost 6-0 to setup the quarterfinal match I expected. Except that in that quarterfinal Saku Chousei mercy-ruled Fukui Shougyou 9-0 in 7 innings. Certainly a surprise to me.

Meanwhile, Kanazawa mercy ruled Fukuoka 9-0 in 7 innings, and Tsuruga Kehi held off a 9th inning rally from Hokuetsu to win 7-5. In this quarterfinal, the tables would be turned on Tsuruga Kehi, Kanazawa built up an 8-1 lead and had to hold off a late charge from the boys from Tsuruga, advancing with an 8-5 win.

On the other side, Shin-Minato did not let an early run from Fukui Koudai Fukui stop them as they pulled off a 3-1 upset! Sadly for Nagano champions Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri, Yuugakugan showed them no mercy, dispatching them 12-0 in just 5 innings. In the semifinal, surely Yuugakukan was the favorite. Yet it was Shin-Minato scoring 2 in the top of the 1st! Ace Hakaymaya would be tasked with maintaining the lead. With the full game to go for Yuugakukan, that would be difficult. Right off the bat, they would pull within 1. Two innings later, they tied the game. And finally, in the 6th inning, Yuugakukan would pull ahead with one more run. Shin-Minato was unable to gather any momentum after the 1st, and would fall 3-2.

And in the last section, Nihon Bunri was relentless on Toyama Dai-ichi, scoring in 4 out of 6 innings in a 11-1 win. Matsushou Gakuen actually trailed Kanazawa Sakuragaoka 2-0 after 5 innings! That seemed to wake the team up and they went on a 9-2 run to win 9-4.

Matsushou Gakuen would prove to be the challenge I expected them to be against Nihon Bunri. After Nihon Bunri takes a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd, Matsushou would level it in the 4th. The game would remain knotted at 1 into extras, and Kumagaya couldn't hold on. In the 11th, Nihon Bunri would break the tie with a sayonara run.

The semifinals would determine the 2 front-runners to receive a bid.

Kanazawa vs. Saku Chousei turned out to be a one-sided affair. While ace Kamata did give up 10 hits to Saku Chousei, he still shut them out 7-0 in 7. In the 2nd semifinal, Yuugakukan's sent reliever Kurohaga to the mound. But in the 2nd, he would walk the bases loaded - never a good sign. Sure enough, Nihon Bunri's Noguchi would deliver a bases-clearing double to given them a 3-0 lead. Ace Togura would come in to relieve Kurohaga, and give up just 2 hits. In the 8th inning, with time running out, a walk and a base hit would put runners at the corners for Yuugakukan. An infield grounder would plate one run, and after another hit Yuugakukan looked for more. But a double play would end the threat. Tamura would give up just that one run on 4 hits and Nihon Bunri may have earned a bid.

But to definitively earn a bid, all Kanazawa or Nihon Bunri has to do is to win the final. Nihon Bunri would send up reliever Hatano in place of Tamura, and just like their opponents in the semifinals, it backfired as Kanazawa scores 2 in the top of the 1st. Nihon Bunri would play catchup the entire game against ace Kamata, but never got closer than 1 run, losing 4-2 giving Kanazawa their 8th Hokushinetsu title (and 1st in 7 years).

Toukai Super-Regional
So Round 1 of the super-regional was jockeying for position between the lower seeds.

Shizuoka led Kyouei 2-0 going into the bottom of the 9th when it all fell apart for ace Iwasaki and Shizuoka. Kyouei would score 3 runs to send a shocked Shizuoka home.

Komono faced off against Gifu Dai-ichi, and while Komono would take the lead, Gifu Dai-ichi would fight back and tie the game sending it into extras. And the game went into the 10th... the 11th... and the 12th with both aces still on the mound. Finally, in the 13th Komono would score a run against ace Sakada taking a 4-3 lead. Komono's ace Houda would make that stick giving them a hard fought win.

On the other side, Iwata Higashi dispatched Chuukyou 8-1. while Toyota Nishi did the same to Matsusaka 10-1.

In the quarterfinals, Kyouei led Mie 4-0 with a pair of runs in the 4th and 5th innings. Things looked bleak, but Mie would score one in the 8th, and then 3 in the 9th to level the score! An inning later, and they would score 2 more to defeate Kyouei 6-4. Seisei and Komono would be scoreless through 5. Seisei would break the draw with a run in the 6th, only to see Komono take it away with 2 in the bottom of the inning. Seisei would level the score once again in the 6th, and that game would also go into extras. The Shizuoka champions would do the same as Mie, scoring 2 in the top of the 10th for a 4-2 win.

Oogaki Nichidai would have the easiest quarterfinal of all the schools, defeating Toyota Nishi 8-2. They will play Aikoudai Meiden who scored 4 runs in the late stages to win 4-2.

So in the end, all top seeds advanced to the semifinals.

Kinki Super-Regional
The draw for the super-regional ended up being rather interesting.

In the upper left bracket, Houtoku Gakuen seem destined for a Best 4 appearance with an opening round game against surprise Kyoto champion Tounan, and a possible matchup against Chiben Gakuen.

Below them, Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku and Riseisha would clash in what probably will be a Best 4 bid as they're opposed by Murayama and Wakayama Kougyou.

On the other side, Hachiman Shougyou gets Tenri. Tenri has the better of it, but will have to face Kakogawa Kita or Osaka Touin. Not easy.

And in the lower right, Perfect Liberty Gakuen gets Wakayama Shougyou, but then could face "big brother" Chiben Wakayama, or perhaps Kyoto Gaidai Nishi.

All but the lower right have completed their first games, and there are some surprises.

Tounan held in there against Houtoku Gakuen. After falling behind 3-1 after the 1st inning, they tied the game up in the 5th. Perhaps Houtoku took exception to that and scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th, and then 7 one inning later to invoke the mercy rule.

Kyoto Seishou held in there against Nara champion Chiben Gakuen. They traded a run in the 4th, and actually took the lead the next inning. Chiben would level the game back at 2 in the top of the 6th, but Seishou would take it once again with a run in the 7th - and won by that margin!

Murayama and Wakayama Kougyou were involved in a slugfest as the teams scored runs often. Murayama mostly had the better of it, and a run in the top of the 9th would give them a 6-4 lead. But that wouldn't be enough as Wakayama tied the game and sent it into extras. In the end, Murayama would prevail with a run in the top of the 10th.

Of course the more important game was the Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku-Riseisha matchup. And Riseisha with 3 runs in the first 2 innings jumped ahea. Kobe would pull within one in the 4th, but couldn't get any closer, falling 3-2!

Tenri did ineed have no problem against Hachishou winning 9-1 in 8 innings. And in perhaps one of the bigger surprises, Kakogawa Kita shuts down, and shuts out Osaka Touin 2-0!

Chuugoku Super-Regional
5 of the 8 first round games ended via the mercy rule. Of those 5, two were upsets. Summer representative, and Tottori #2 seed Yazu was defeated 9-0 by Okayama #3 seed Okayama Gakugeikan. An 11-run 5th by Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu (Hiroshima #3) dispatched Shimane #2 seed Taisha 17-2.

In the other 3 games, Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin defeats Yasugi 6-1. A 3-run 1st inning by Tottori Ikuei gets them past Ube Koujyou 4-2. In the final game, Matsue Shougyou scores 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th to tie the game at 2 against Soushi Gakuen. The game would go into extras where Soushi Gakuen would score a run in the 11th to win 3-2.

Moving into the quarterfinals, Soushi Gakuen jumps ahead of Hiroshima Kokusai 2-0 in the first inning and with the help of 4 pitchers, defeated them 2-1.

I had high hopes in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi's champion - and they even took a 2-1 lead over Tottori Ikuei. But Tottori scores 5 runs between the 4th and 5th innings to take the lead for good, winning 8-4.

Kanzei continued to look strong shutting out their prefecture's #3 finisher Okayama Gakugeikan 3-0, and Hiroshima's #3 seed Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu exacts revenge from their 16-6 defeat, using a 2-run 8th to break a 2-2 tie to beat Onomichi (drat!).

Soushi Gakuen squared off against Tottori Ikuei in the first semifinal, and after scoring a run in the top of the 1st, made Tottori play catchup the entire game. They were up to the task, tying the game 1-1 in the 4th, and again 2-2 in the 6th. But after Soushi scored a run in both the 8th and the 9th innings, it would be just too much for them. Tottori Ikuei gets back only one run like the other times, and fall 4-3.

In the other semifinal, Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu surprisingly hung in there against Kanzei. Kanzei's run in the 3rd inning would be the only run scored in the game though, as they advance to the finals with a 1-0 win.

So it's a rematch of the Okayama championship game as Kanzei will square off against Soushi Gakuen for the fall title. With 2 automatic bids for the region, it seems as though Okayama will have 2 representatives (although that isn't a given).

Shikoku Super-Regional
Shikoku's draw went like this:

Hidari bracket
  • Kochi (Kochi 1) vs. winner of Imabari Nishi (Ehime 2)-Komatsushima (Tokushima 3)
  • Jyounan (Tokushima 1) vs. winner of Kagawa Nishi (Kagawa 2)-Tosa (Kochi 3)
Migi bracket
  • Sangawa (Kagawa 1) vs. winner of Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi 2)-Matsuyama Shougyou (Ehime 3)
  • Niita (Ehime 1) vs. Tokushima Shougyou (Tokushima 2)-Marugame Jyousai (Kagawa 3)
In the opening round, all #2 seeds advanced easily with the exception of Imabari Nishi who trailed Komatsushima 3-1 before a 8-run 7th inning decided things.

The bigger test would be the quarterfinals, and all games were 1-run affairs except for the aforementioned Imabari Nishi who couldn't keep up with Kochi losing 7-0 in 7 innings.

Kagawa Nishi, after falling behind 1-0, turned around and built a 4-1 lead only to see Jyounan score 4 to retake that slim 1-run margin. They were unfazed as they score 3 unanswered runs to take back the lead, and a 7-5 margin. Jyounan would make things interesting pulling within 1, but that's all they could get.

On the other side, Sangawa and Meitoku Gijyuku were locked at 1 until runs in the 6th and 7th gave Meitoku a 3-1 lead. Sangawa quickly leveled the score in the next half inning...

...only to see Meitoku score 3 in the bottom of the 8th. Once again, Sangawa would give Meitoku a scare, scoring 2 in the top of the 9th to pull within 1, but that's as close as they would get.

Finally, Niita was holding its own building a 4-2 lead on Tokushima Shougyou. But Tokushou would tie the game in the bottom of the 6th. Niita would waste no time reclaiming the lead with a run in the lucky 7, and that proved to be the winning margin as they advanced with a 5-4 win.

And in the semifinals, Kochi was shutdown by Kagawa Nishi ace Utsunomiya as they fall 3-1. As for Niita, their run ends at the hands of Meitoku Gijyutsu 9-2 in 7 innings.

So 2 seasoned teams will face off for the fall title and an automatic bid.

Kyushu Super-Regional
The first round wound up being favorable to the home teams as both Kumamoto Kokufu and Senshuudai Tamana won their games against Kagoshima Shougyou and Kurume Shougyou while in the other game Souseikan had no problems with Chikuyou Gakuen.

Surprisingly, the 2nd round involved a lot of parity with close games in all but 3.

Those 3 matchups were Senshuudai Tamana falling to Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku 5-0, Kounan beating Souseikan 5-1, and Touin dispatching Saito Shougyou 9-2.

In the other games, Okinawa Shogaku yielded a run to Nobeoka Gakuen in the 1st, but they tied it in the 3rd and scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 8th. Ryuukoku edged Shuugakukan also by a score of 2-1. Hasami never trailed against Oita, but Oita made it close pulling within 1 at 3-2 in the top of the 9th, but that's as close as they would get.

On the other side of the bracket, Kyushu Gakuin's offense was surprisingly stifled by Karatsu Shougyou winning just by the score of 2-0.

But perhaps the most surprising game was between Kagoshima Jitsugyou and Kumamoto's 3-seed Kumamoto Kokufu. After scoring 7 in the first inning, Kajitsu led 11-2 after 6. Then in the 7th Kokufu scores 3, and in the 8th they somehow score 5, making it an 11-10 ballgame!! The momentum was certainly on their side, yet ace Noda who was left in the game managed to compose himself and shutdown Kumamoto Kokufu to hang on in what turned out to be a scare.

Quarterfinal action began with Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku and Okinawa Shogaku. Early on it was all Kyukoku leading 6-1. But 2 runs in the 5th and 4 in the 7th would give Okishou the lead! Kyukoku would have an answer to the tune of 3 runs in the 7th and 8th innings to put the game away 12-7. Their opponent would be Nagasaki champion Hasami, who replied to Ryuukoku's 2-run 5th with 3 of their own and never looked back winning 6-4.

On the other side, Haru-natsu renzoku yuusho Kounan found themselves in trouble with Kyushu Gakuin scoring 3 runs in the top of the 1st. Kounan would quickly cut that deficit to 1 in 2 innings, but then allowed Kyushu Gakuin to extend that lead to 4. Kounan would once again pull within 1 with 3 in the 7th, but could never find the equalizer and would fall 6-5!

That certainly was welcome news for Kajitsu who took no chances against Touin, scoring in all but one inning winning 12-3 in 7 innings.

So it would be Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku vs. Hasami in one semi, while Kyushu Gakuin squares off against Kagoshima Jitsugyou.

Hasami certainly was the underdog in their game, yet they strung together 3 hits in the bottom of the 2nd to take a 2-0 lead! However, in the next half inning, a dead ball and two hits would immediately get Kyukoku within 1. Then with 2 down and a runner on 2nd, ace Miyoshi delivers a hit to center, tying the game. The pressure must have gotten to Hasami ace Matsuda as he throws a wild pitch, giving the lead to Kyukoku at 3-2. Miyoshi would not waste a second chance as he would give up just 2 hits afterwards, sending the team to the finals with a 4-2 victory.

In the other semi, Kajitsu would open up the scoring in the 3rd with a timely double by Sugiyama down the left field line. After Kyushu Gakuin tied the game in the 4th, Toyosumi would deliver another timely hit for Kajitsu, this time to center, to retake the 1-run lead. Toyosumi would add another insurance run for Kajitsu as Noda gives up just 5 hits in an 3-1 win.

Kyukoku had certainly given themselves an invitation to senbatsu, but wanted the Kyushu title. They jumped to a 1-0 lead in the 1st, but a timely hit by Hirayama for Kajitsu ties the game. Then in the 8th, Kuroki would give Kajitsu the lead! Noda would give a strong effort in the final, giving up just one run on 7 hits to give Kajitsu their 13th fall title and first in 17 years!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Tournament Update #4

So to recap the completed Super-Regionals (alternates, possible invitees):

Hokkaido Super-Regional - Hokkai
Tohoku Super-Regional - Tohoku, Kousei Gakuin (Aomori Yamada, Sendai Ikuei)

Now for the ongoing super-regionals:

Kanto Super-Regional
The draw for the Kanto Super-Regional has been held. Urawa Gakuin holds the only 1st round bye. Matchups are:

Hidari Bracket
  • Sano Nichidai (Tochigi 1) vs. Kasukabe Kyouei (Saitama 2)
  • Suijyou (Ibaraki 1) vs. Nihon Koukuu (Yamanashi 2)
  • Maebashi Ikuei (Gunma 1) vs. Washinomiya (Saitama 2)
  • Kisaradzu Sougou (Chiba 1) vs. Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa 2)
Migi Bracket
  • Yokohama (Chiba 1) vs. Takasaki Shougyou (Gunma 2)
  • Koufu Kougyou (Yamanashi 1) vs. Kasumigaura (Ibaraki 2)
  • Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku (Tochigi 2) vs. Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku (Chiba 2)
  • Urawa Gakuin (Saitama 1 ) - Bye
Quick thoughts:
  1. What's up with Suijou facing Nihon Koukuu. I liked how Suijyou played in their game at Koushien, but they have to face Nihon Koukuu. I'm covering this regional under protest!!
  2. Toukaidai Sagami is the leader to reach the super-regional final on the left side of the bracket. Kisaradzu Sougou will be no pushover though, and if Suijyou makes it to the semifinals, well that will make for a good rematch!
  3. It looks like a Yokohama - Urawa Gakuin semifinal on the right side - that would be a Ken vs. Deanna matchup there. Heh. I don't know if the university schools will pose a threat, but it's possible.
  4. So with 4 teams, I figure the semifinalists (and ergo qualifiers) will be Suijyou, Toukaidai Sagami, Yokohama and Urawa Gakuin.
Tokyo Super-Regionals
The round of 16 and 8 have been completed and we're down to the Best 4. And the field isn't exactly what you would think.

After handling Nissho Gakushadai Fuzoku 3-0, Nichidai-ni was thrown for a loop by Hachiouji, getting upset 4-3. Those were the first runs Hachiouji has given up so far in the super-regional as they blanked both Meijidai Nakano-Hachiouji, and Toritsu Ikubunkan.

It was not a good week for the Meiji schools as Meijidai Meiji was blanked by Waseda Gakuin 4-0. Kokugakuin Kugayama did the same thing to Shuutoku for a surprise upset. The surprise continued as Kokukaguin Kugayama upset Waseda Gakuin 9-2 and is now 2 wins away from a Koushien appearance!

Moving along to the other side of the bracket, Toritsu Shouwa edged Toritsu Kunitachi 2-1, but didn't face Kokugakuin! They were upset by Toukaidai Takanawadai 5-2! And with that upset, Shouwa breezed through Takanawadai 4-1 for a spot in the semifinals.

About the only thing that did go right was the last quadrant where Nichidai-san defeated Setagaya Gakuen 6-3 just like their first round, then defeated Kousei Gakuen 8-1.

Nichidai-san has the inside track to earn the bid, but I'm not sure I can sleep on Kokugakuin Kugayama.

Hokushinetsu Super-Regionals
The draw has occurred for the super-regionals and they are the following:

Hidari Bracket
  • Sakurai (Toyama 1) vs. Fukui Shougyou (Fukui 3)
  • Saku Chousei (Nagano 2) vs. Sado (Niigata 2)
  • Fukuoka (Toyama 3/4) vs. Kanazawa (Ishikawa 1)
  • Hokuetsu (Niigata 3) vs. Tsuruga Kehi (Fukui 1)
Migi Brakcet
  • Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui 2) vs. Shin-Minato (Toyama 2)
  • Yuugakukan (Ishikawa 3) vs. Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri (Nagano 1)
  • Nihon Bunri (Niigata 1) vs. Toyama Dai-ichi (Toyama 3/4)
  • Matsushou Gakuen (Nagano 3) vs. Kanazawa Sakuragaoka (Ishikawa 2)
Is it bad that I think that Fukui could possibly have 3 of the 4 semifinalists? Saku Chousei could challenge Fukui Shougyou, but I'm not sure. Tsuruga Kehi will only have Kanazawa to worry about. So it could possibly be a replay of the Fukui semifinal!

About the only possible obstacle to having 3 Fukui semifinalists is Yuugakukan. They've always been a good team, and could give Fukui Koudai Fukui a challenge. As for the last semifinalist, it could be Nihon Bunri although Matsushou Gakuen could put up a fight.

Toukai Super-Regional - No change here, see last post for draws. Tournament begins on the 23rd.

Kinki Super-Regional
Well, things on the surface went as expected. With the recent emergence of Riseisha, Uenomiya Taisha stood no chance, falling 8-0 in 7 innings. There was a beatup in the other semifinal, but it was one-sided as PL Gakuen was actually mercy-ruled by Osaka Touin 9-2 in 8 innings!

In the final, it was actually Riseisha who set the pace, never trailing throughout the game taking a 1-0 lead in the 2nd, and having a response for each Osaka Touin score. They led 4-3...

...until the bottom of the 9th. That was when Osaka Touin staged a late rally, scoring 3 runs and coming from behind to win their 2nd consecutive title and surprisingly, only their 4th total.

Uenomiya Taishi would be the bridesmaid in all of this as PL shuts them out (only to the tune of 3-0) to take the last spot.

With Tenri and Chiben Gakuen winning by the mercy rule in the semifinals, it would guarantee that one of these schools would be the fall champ for the 4th consecutive year.

The final would see Chiben Gakuen blank Tenri, winning 3-0 and giving Chiben Gakuen their 13th title, but 1st in 10 years!

So our field as set as follows:
  • Shiga - Hachiman Shougyou, Murayama
  • Kyoto - Tounan, Kyoto Gaidai Nishi, Kyoto Seishou
  • Osaka - Osaka Touin, Riseisha, PL Gakuen
  • Hyogo - Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku, Kakogawa Kita, Houtoku Gakuen
  • Nara - Chiben Gakuen, Tenri
  • Wakayama - Chiben Wakayama, Wakayama Kougyou, Wakayama Shougyou
Again, I'll wait to see the draw before I make any analysis.

Chuugoku Super-Regional
The draw has occurred for this super-regionals as well. This is how it shook out:

Hidari Bracket
  • Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin (Hiroshima 2) vs. Yasugi (Shimane 4)
  • Matsue Shougyou (Shimane 1) vs. Soushi Gakuen (Okayama 2)
  • Iwakuni (Yamaguchi 1) vs. Tottori Shougyou (Tottori 3)
  • Ube Koujyou (Yamaguchi 3) vs. Tottori Ikuei (Tottori 1)
Migi Brakcet
  • Kanzei (Okayama 1) vs. Tokuyama Shoukou (Yamaguchi 2)
  • Yazu (Tottori 2) vs. Okayama Gakugeikan (Okayama 3)
  • Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu (Hiroshima 3) vs. Taisha (Shimane 2)
  • Izumo (Shimane 3) vs. Onomichi (Hiroshima 1)
On the left side, I don't really see a clear favorite. Perhaps Iwakuni, maybe Matsue Shougyou. The right side has the more well-known teams such as Yazu and Kanzei. I still would like to see Onomichi make it, but the road won't be easy.

Shikoku Super-Regional
So Kagawa Nishi looked to be in the driver's seat against Sangawa, scoring 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 4th and 1 in the 6th to lead Sangawa in the final 4-0.

But then Sangawa staged a rally. Three in the bottom of the 6th immediately got the deficit to 1. And in the 9th, a double would plate both the tying and sayonara run to give Sangawa the 2nd consecutive title and 3rd overall.

Marugame Jyousai would handle Kanonji Chuo 8-1 to earn the last bid. We'll see how the draw works out.

Kyushu Super-Regional
Here is the draw for the Kyushu Super-Regional:

Hidari Bracket
  • Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka 1) vs. Senshuudai Tamana (Kumamoto 4)-Kagoshima Shougyou (Kagoshima 2) winner
  • Nobeoka Gakuen (Miyazaki 1) vs. Okinawa Shougaku (Okinawa 2)
  • Shuugakukan (Kumamoto 1) vs. Ryuukoku (Saga 2)
  • Hasami (Nagasaki 1) vs. Oita (Oita 2)
Migi Brakcet
  • Kounan (Okinawa 1) vs. Souseikan (Nagasaki 2)-Chikuyou Gakuen (Fukuoka 3) winner
  • Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto 2) vs. Karatsu Shougyou (Saga 1)
  • Touin (Oita 1) vs. Saito Shougyou (Miyazaki 2)
  • Kagoshima Jitsugyou (Kagoshima 1) vs. Kumamoto Kokufu (Kumamoto 3)-Kurume Shougyou (Fukuoka 2) winner
Even though Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku supposedly gets an easier matchup because of the extra game their opponent will have to play, their road will not be easy until the semifinal.

Kounan should have an easy first round, but after that could face Kyushu Gakuin, then Kagoshima Jitsugyou. I can see Kounan making it, but as for the other side, I'm not sure.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Tournament Update #3

Hokkaido Super-Regional (1 automatic bid)
Well, I return back to Hokkaido, and we've just crowned the champion.

Looking back at the games, and it ended up being fairly straight-forward.

Otaru's representative, Hokushou, blew through their opponents (including Hakodatedai Yuuto and Mukawa) to face Komadai Iwamizawa who themselves had no issue with Hokkai Gakuen Sapporo and Shirakaba Gakuen. In the semi, the teams would trade 2 runs in the 1st, but 5 in the second from Hokushou would separate them. Not to say that there would still be scoring, as the teams combined for 6 home runs in a 13-6 win by Hokushou.

On the other side, Hokkai would surprisingly have a hard time against Hokkaido Sakae, but made a 2 run 1st stick in a 2-1 win. They faced Sapporo Dai-ichi who breezed through their first 2 games. Hokkai would take a 4-0 1st inning lead, but after trading a pair of runs in the 5th, they saw Sapporo Dai-ichi score 6 runs to take the lead!

Hokkai would not give, scoring 2 in the 7th to tie the game. The teams would trade a run in the 8th, and in the bottom of the 9th, Hokkai would score the sayonara run against Nishijima to advance to the final.

So we have a Hokushou-Hokkai final. That feels like deja vu.

Hokkai took control of the final with 4 runs in the 3rd inning. And 1st year ace Tamakuma Shouichi leads Hokkai to their 11th fall title, but 1st in 16 years!

Tohoku Super-Regionals (2 automatic bids)
We have our automatic bids, but before I reveal them, let's see how my predictions did.

In the upper left bracket, Tohoku did not have the easy road I thought they might have. They did defeat Oomagari Kougyou 8-2, but then Touryou gave them a fight. While they gave up a run in the 1st, they leveled the score in the 5th. But in the 9th inning, Tohoku would push in the go-ahead run and a spot in the semifinals.

Tohoku's opponent in the semis would indeed be Aomori Yamada, but they almost stumbled against Oodate Houmei. After the teams traded runs, Oodate Houmei scores 2 in the top of the 5th to take a 3-2 lead. Aomori would score 2 in the bottom of the 6th for the final 4-3 margin.

They wouldn't know their opponent immediately though as Ichinoseki Gakuin and Sakata Minami proved to be equal matches for each other, playing out a 0-0, 15 inning draw!

Aces Aida for Sakata Minami and Numata for Ichinoseki Gakuin, who played for all 15 innings, would take the hill once again. But the pitching would obviously not be as sharp as the first game. Sakata Minami would score a pair of runs in the 5th and 6th innings for a 5-1 lead as Ichinoseki Gakuin went to the bullpen to try and nurse the team on.

There would be no such backup for Aida, as he was asked to finish the game. Problem was, he wasn't able to. 4 runs in the top of the 8th would tie the game, and 3 more in the 9th against the tired ace would be the difference.

The quarterfinal would be an interesting one, in that all the scoring was done in the lucky 7 innings. Ichinoseki Gakuin would score 2, but Aomori Yamada would score 7 in the 7th. And so Aomori Yamada would meet Tohoku.

Tohoku and Aomori Yamada would spend the first 4 innings scoreless, then the teams would trade the lead 3 times. Tohoku would finally level the score 4-4 in the 7th and pull away with 3 in the 8th for a 7-4 win, and in all likelihood a senbatsu bid.

On the other side, Sendai Ikuei and Seikou Gakuin did indeed meet up in the quarterfinals after winning their games by a 11-3 margin. Seikou Gakuin slowly pulled out to a 4-1 lead, but Sendai's never-say-die attitude from Koushien must have stuck as they score 6 unanswered runs, including a sayonara 3-run homerun to win 7-4.

Their opponent would be Kousei Gakuin, who didn't have to face either Iwate team (Morioka Chuo or Hanamaki Higashi), and thus blew through their 1st 2 games 30-0.

In the semifinal though, Sendai Ikuei would have to answer for Kousei's 3B Tamura Tatsuhiro. He would hit 3 (3!!) homeruns to lead Kousei Gakuin to a 8-3 win and a probable bid to senbatsu. Tamura Tatsuhiro will be a player to watch should they indeed receive the bid.

In the finals, Tohoku would score 3 in the first inning and never really look back. Kousei Gakuin would keep the game close, but would fall 5-3, giving Tohoku their 17th super-regional title.

Kanto Super-Regionals (4 automatic bids + 1 at-large?)
Tochigi (Sano Nichidai, Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku)
In the semifinals, Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku stayed with Sakushin Gakuin keeping the score at 3-3, then pulled away late with 3 in the 6th and another one in the 7th for a 7-3 win. The other semi had Hakuoudai Ashikaga unable to keep up with Sano Nichidai, losing 10-5.

The final was actually a tale of two games. The first half saw Bunsei Geidai take a 3-1 lead through 5. Then in the 6th Sanichi would explode for 4 runs to take a 5-3 lead, only to see Bunsei score 5 in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead! Sanichi would put the deficit back at 2 with a run in the 7th. All seemed lost for Sanichi though as Bunsei added an insurance run to make it 9-6.

Except inexplicably, Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku could not close the deal. 6 runs later, and they were as good as dead now down 12-9. And that would be the final margin.

Chiba (Kisaradzu Sougou, Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku)
The quarterfinals were all blowouts as Toukaidai Urayasu and Senshuudai Matsudo win 8-0. Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku blew out Chiba Meitoku 21-2.

But perhaps the most bizarre game was between Kisaradzu Sougou and Chiba Eiwa. The best way I can explain it is to go through the game by each half inning.

Kisaradzu Sougou - Chiba Eiwa
Top 1 - 0-0
Bottom 1 - 0-8
Top 2 - 5-8
Bottom 2 - 5-8
Top 3 - 7-8
Bottom 3 - 7-9
Top 4 - 13-9
Bottom 4 - 13-11
Top 5 - 16-11
Bottom 5 - 16-14
Top 6 - 18-14
Bottom 6 - 18-15
Top 7 - 21-15
Bottom 7 - 21-15
Top 8 - 21-15
Bottom 8 - 21-16
Top 9 - 21-16
Bottom 9 - 21-16

21-16??! That seems like a football score more than a baseball score, but yep, Kisaradzu Sougou won by 5.

The semifinals were much more tamer, but still one-sided. Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku wins 8-2 over Toukaidai Urayasu while Kisaradzu Sougou thought that they still haven't scored enough runs this tournament, defeating Senshuudai Matsudo 7-2.

The final was much more like a baseball game. After trading a run in the 6th, Kisaradzu Sougou scores 2 in the 7th for a 3-1 win for only their 2nd fall title - their 1st being 40 years ago!

So your participants are:
  • Ibaraki - Suijyou, Kasumigaura
  • Tochigi - Sano Nichidai, Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku
  • Gunma - Maebashi Ikuei, Takasaki Shougyou
  • Saitama - Urawa Gakuin, Kasukabe Kyouei, Washinomiya
  • Chiba - Kisaradzu Sougou, Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku
  • Kanagawa - Yokohama, Toukaidai Sagami
  • Yamanashi - Koufu Kougyou, Nihon Koukuu
At a glance, and with no draw done for the brackets yet, Suijyou certainly is a good possibility, Yokohama cannot be counted out, Toukaidai Sagami may be better without Hifumi (as effectively wild as he was, I think they could do better). Urawa Gakuin would be those teams in the 2nd tier that might make it, along with Sano Nichidai. I'd like Nihon Koukuu to make it, but they haven't really made a deep run in a while. The Chiba teams have seen Koushien before, but Kisaradzu Sougou needs to prove me something - especially after the Chiba Eiwa game, and Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku ever since losing their ace Saitou Keisuke.

Tokyo Super-Regionals (1 automatic bid + 1 at-large?)
2nd round has been completed, and perhaps the biggest surprise is Obirin. They squared off against Kokugakuin Kugayama. Obirin led 2-1, but in the 8th Kugayama scores 4 and then blows it open with 8 in the 9th. Kokugakuin Kugayama would win 13-4.

Next up for Kokugakuin Kugayama will be Shuutoku. Shuutoku needed an extra game though against Toukaidai Sugao. Actually, Shuutoku was down 2-0 going into the top of the 9th and somehow found a way to tie the game! But after the game was tied at the end of regulation, rain forced the game into a tie. The replay saw both aces take the hill again, but this time Shuutoku scores 3 in the first inning and that's the only runs scored in the game.

In other games:
  • Nichidai-ni ralled against Souka late, scoring the sayonara run in the 9th to cap off a 3-2 win,
  • Waseda Gakuin is carrying the flag for Waseda and will face Meijidai Meiji.
  • Nichidai-san with a 6-3 win over Meijidai Nakano, combined with Toua Gakuin suffering a sayonara 5-4 loss to Kousei Gakuen in the 3rd round has a clear road to the quarterfinals where they could face Kokushikan.
Hokushinetsu Super-Regionals (2 automatic bids)
Nagano (Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri, Saku Chousei, Matsushou Gakuen)
Saku Chousei had no trouble with Iiyama Kita, winning 11-4, but the surprise was Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri shutting out and mercy-ruling Matsushou Gakuen 7-0 in 7 innings!

In the final, Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri and Saku Chousei would be scoreless for 7 innings until Shiojiri would break it with a run in the 8th and another in the 9th for a 2-0 win! This is their 9th title.

Matsushou Gakuen sneaked into the super-regionals with a 2-1 win over Iiyama Kita.

Niigata (Nihon Bunri, Sado, Hokuetsu)
Tookamachi would not be able to secure that automatic bid as Sado would shut them out 4-0. Meanwhile, Nihon Bunri had no trouble with Hokuetsu winning 9-3.

Sado would be no match for Nihon Bunri in the final, giving them their 14th Niigata title. Hokuetsu would edge out Tookamachi 6-5 for the last bid.

Ishikawa (Kanazawa, Kanazawa Sakuragaoka, Yuugakukan)
Ishikawa's semifinals were as expected. Hakui Kougyou was no match for Kanazawa Sakuragaoka being shutout 6-0. Yuugakukan and Kanazawa was a good match, but Yuugakukan couldn't overcome the 2 early runs they gave up, and lost 2-1.

The final was a fairly pedestrian game, although Kanazawa Sakuragaoka held the 3-2 lead. Then Kanazawa would score 7 in the 6th, 5 in the 7th and 3 in the 8th! Sakuragaoka did rally for some runs, but lost 17-8 giving Kanazawa their first fall title in 13 years! That seems surprising for a team such as them.

Yuugakukan kept their hopes of returning to Koushien alive with a 10-3 win over Hakui Kougyou.

Fukui (Tsuruga Kehi, Fukui Koudai Fukui, Fukui Shougyou)
The Fukui final would be decided in the last 3 innings. The teams would trade runs in the 7th, but Fukui Koudai would not have an answer to Tsuruga Kehi's run in the bottom of the 8th. This is Tsuruga Kehi's 3rd title.

As for Nyuu, their hopes for reaching the super-regional were rudely ended by Fukui Shougyou, who had no trouble with a 7-1 win.

This means our participating teams are:

Nagano - Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri, Saku Chousei, Matsushou Gakuen
Niigata - Nihon Bunri, Sado, Hokuetsu
Toyama - Sakurai, Shin-Minato, Toyama Dai-ichi, Fukuoka
Ishikawa - Kanazawa, Kanazawa Sakuragaoka, Yuugakukan
Fukui - Tsuruga Kehi, Fukui Koudai Fukui, Fukui Shougyou

There are a lot of historically good teams in this field. Saku Chousei, Matsushou Gakuen, Nihon Bunri, Kanzawa, Yuugakukan, and all 3 Fukui teams. I'll wait for the draw to happen before I handicap the field.

Tokai Super-Regionals (2 automatic bids)
Mie (Mie, Matsusaka, Komono)
Mie was the last prefecture to finish in the Tokai region. Matsusaka kept up with Mie for a while, but as the game progressed Mie found cracks in their opponents. A 4-1 win would give Mie their 3rd straight fall title. Matsusaka, while the 2nd place finishers, will advance to the super-regionals for only their 2nd time - their last appearance in 1979!

In the consolation game, Shiroko was no match for Komono, falling 5-0.

With Mie done, the small 4-prefecture Tokai Super-regionals had the following teams:
  • Shizuoka - Seisei, Iwata Higashi, Shizuoka
  • Aichi - Aikoudai Meiden, Kyouei, Toyota Nishi
  • Gifu - Oogaki Nichidai, Gifu Dai-ichi, Chuukyou
  • Mie - Mie, Matsusaka, Komono
The draw was held, and the quadrants are as follows:
  • Kyouei vs. Shizuoka. Winner faces Mie.
  • Gifu Dai-ichi vs. Komono. Winner faces Seisei.
  • Iwata Higashi vs. Chuukyou. Winner faces Aikoudai Meiden.
  • Matsusaka vs. Toyota Nishi. Winner faces Oogaki Nichidai.
Mie is the favorite to advance to the finals. There is no one on their side of the bracket that I think can challenge them. Normally, I might mention Komono, but the 10-1 loss they suffered to Mie in the prefectural semifinals makes that pretty unlikely.

On the other side, it's either Oogaki Nichidai or Aikoudai Meiden. Again, none of the lower seeds seem to pose a threat to the top teams. Now as for the winner of that expected matchup, as much as I'd like to go to Ichiro's alma mater, they have not shown themselves to be a strong program as of late, while Oogaki has established themselves as a strong stable program. I think Mie and Oogaki Nichidai will reach the finals, and subsequently be rewarded with bids to senbatsu.

Kinki Super-Regionals (6 automatic bids)
Kyoto (Tounan, Kyoto Gaidai Nishi, Kyoto Seishou)
I'm shocked. In the semifinal between Tounan and Fukuchiyama Seibi, Tounan ace Awazu Tetsuya (粟津 達也), who recently took the #1 jersey shuts out Fukuchiyama Seibi 2-0 to claim an automatic bid to the super-regionals! By the way, it first looks like he's throwing warm-up pitches due to his tempo, but no, he's a quick pitcher it appears.

They would have to face Kyoto Gaidai Nishi again as they had no trouble with Kyoto Seishou 4-1.

In the final, Kyoto Gaidai Nishi would have multiple chances against Tounan and ace Awazu. But each time they threatened, Awazu would get out of the jam. On the other side, Matsuoka for KGN couldn't find his control, which led to 2 runs in the 4th. He would be relieved by Satou, but would fare no better, with 2 walks leading to a bases-clearing double in the 5th by cleanup batter Komatsuki. That deficit would be too much for KGN, as Tounan would win their first ever fall title!!

And to finish the surprise in Kyoto, Kyoto Seishou throws a combined 3-hitter against Fukuchiyama Seibi to win 2-1 and take the 3rd spot!!!!!

We have our 4 block winners, and the subsequent Best 4 matchups.
  • In Block A, Riseisha shutout Taisha Gakuindai 4-0.
  • Block B had Uenomiya Taisha just getting by Kansai Souka 3-2 to advance.
  • Osaka Touin had no trouble with Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan in the Block C final 8-2.
  • Osaka Shoudai Sakai would face PL Gakuen after Perfect Liberty defeated Higashi Osakadai Kashiwara 6-2. PL would crush Shoudai 10-3 for a spot in the Best 4.
And when the draw for the best 4 came out, it was the best possible scenario for Riseisha.

Why? Because they'll face Uenomiya Taisha while the powerhouses Osaka Touin and PL Gakuen will beat each other up in the other semifinal.

Hyogo (Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku, Kakogawa Kita, Houtoku Gakuen)
Summer representative Houtoku Gakuen, who make a deep run this past summer, was shocked by Kakogawa Kita 5-1 and was regulated to the consolation game. Meanwhile, Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku ran circles around Shinkou Gakuen, mercy-ruling them 10-1 in 7 innings.

The final was close as Kakogawa Kita did take the initial lead with a run in the 3rd. Kobe Kokusai scores 2 in the 4th to take the lead, and the score would remain at 2-1. But Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku would blow it open with 5 runs in the 8th to win their 2nd consecutive title.

And Houtoku Gakuen would not be denied a super-regional appearance, who defeated Shinkou Gakuen 9-1 in the consolation game.

Nara is in the Best 4. The lucky team to join Tenri, Kooriyama and Chiben Gakuen is Nara Suzaku. Tenri and Kooriyama will meet in one semi, while Nara Suzaku will have to face Chiben Gakuen.

Wakayama (Chiben Wakayama, Wakayama Kougyou, Wakayama Shougyou)
In the semifinals, Naga actually held a lead against Wakayama Kougyou 2-1 late into the game, but ace Aketo could not close the deal, as Wakayama Kougyou scores 2 in the bottom of the 8th to win 3-2.

And Wakayama Shougyou actually gave Chiben Wakayama a fight! They intially took a 1-0 lead, then saw Chiben come back to take a 2-1 advantage. They tied the game in the 7th, but like the Naga game, Chiben would score 2 in the bottom of the 8th for the final margin at 4-2.

After that scare, I bet Takashima-kantoku got the kids ready for the final as they shutout Wakayama Kougyou 6-0 for their 4th consecutive fall title and 10th consecutive super-regional appearance.

Wakayama Shogyou would deny Naga a super-regional bid, defeating them in the 3rd place game 8-6.

Chuugoku Super-Regionals (2 automatic bids + 1 at-large bid?)
Chuugoku has all the representatives determined, but the draw has not been held yet:
  • Okayama - Kanzei, Soushi Gakuen, Okayama Gakugeikan
  • Hiroshima - Onomichi (Yatta!), Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin, Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu
  • Tottori - Tottori Ikuei, Yazu, Tottori Shougyou
  • Shimane - Matsue Kougyou, Taisha, Izumo, Yasugi
  • Yamaguchi - Iwakuni Tokuyama Shoukou, Ube Koujyou
Shikoku Super-Regionals (2 automatic bids + 1 at-large bid?)
In the remaining quarterfinal games, the Takamatsu schools did not fare very well as Takamatsu Kita lost to Marugame Jyousei 8-3 while Takamatsu Shougyou lost to Kagawa Nishi 6-4. The last semifinal saw Kanonji Chuo defeating the only unseeded team to make it this far (although they aren't just any team), Jinsei Gakuen.

Sangawa held on against Marugame Jyousei 6-4 to get an automatic bid. Kanonji Chuo couldn't keep up with Kagawa Nishi, losing 8-1.

So that leaves Sangawa and Kagawa Nishi to fight for the title, while Marugame Jyousei and Kanonji Chuo fight for the last bid.

Once decided, they will join the current qualifiers:
  • Tokushima - Jyounan, Tokushima Shougyou, Komatsushima
  • Ehime - Niita, Imabari Nishi, Matsuyama Shougyou
  • Kochi - Kochi, Meitoku Gijyuku, Tosa
From the field given, it's quite a strong field with a lot of Koushien teams participating. Here too, I'll have a better idea when the draw comes out.

Kyushu Super-Regionals (4 automatic bids)
The final games have been played. In the championship, all the scoring was done in the 5th inning. Kurume Shougyou scored 1 run in the top of the inning, but Kyushu Kousaidai Fuzoku scored 2, giving them their 16th title.

In the 3rd place game, Chikuyou Gakuen never trailed against Touchiku winning 4-2 and more importantly a bid in the super-regional.

Nagasaki (Hasami, Souseikan)
In the quarterfinals, seeded Souseikan had trouble with Keihou, but managed to win 3-2. Meanwhile, fellow teams Nagasaki Nanzan and Hasami had an easier time.

Seihou advanced as well with 7-0 shutout against Kaisei, and was one step away from an automatic bid. But they trailed Souseikan 3-0 as they ran out of time. But Seihou came back to score 4 runs in the top of the 8th and seemed to have it wrapped up.

Souseikan would ruin the party though, as they would mount one final rally, scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th for the sayonara win.

Hasami would not have as much trouble, as they routed Nagasaki Nanzan 10-0 in just 6 innings.

The final would be just as dominating as Hasami would win 12-0 to given them their 7th fall title.

Kagoshima (Kagoshima Jitsugyou, Kagoshima Shougyou)
In the semifinal matches, Kagoshima Jitsugyou continued to shutout their opposition, this time defeating Kagoshima Jyouhou 6-0. Shounan indeed would be their semifinal opponent as they eliminated Kagoshima Jyousai. On the other side, Kamimura Gakuen and Kagoshima Shougyou were in a tight, high-scoring battle with Kagoshima Shougyou prevailing 8-7. It would be an all-Kagoshima affair as they would face Kagoshima Kougyou, who defeated Shibushi 9-2.

Seriously, all of the Best 4 teams are in Kagoshima City!

Kagoshima Jitsugyou would finally yield their first run of the fall tournament, but it was when the game was well in hand - up 4-0 in the bottom of the 8th against Shounan. They would win 5-1 and guarantee a spot in the super-regional.

As for the other semi, Kagoshima Kougyou just couldn't comeback from an early 2-0 deficit, only mananging to keep the deficit at 2 as Kagoshima Shougyou tried to pull away. They traded a pair of runs in the 2nd, and a run in the 5th. Kougyou would pull within 1 with a run in the 7th, but once again they traded 2 runs in the 8th. There would be no douten run for Kougyou though, as they lost 7-6.

Kagoshima Jitsugyou completed the rout taking an 8-0 lead. They must have let up on the gas as they yielded 4 runs in the final. It didn't matter in the end though as Kagoshima Jitsugyou wins their 29th title with an 18-4 win over their commercial compatriots.

Our qualifiers for the super-regional are as follows:
  • Fukuoka - Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku, Kurume Shougyou, Chikuyou Gakuen
  • Saga - Karatsu Shougyou, Ryuukoku
  • Nagasaki - Hasami, Soushikan
  • Oita - Touin, Oita
  • Miyazaki - Nobeoka Gakuen, Saito Shougyou
  • Kumamoto - Shuugakukan, Kyushu Gakuin, Kumamoto Kokufu, Senshuudai Tamana
  • Kagoshima - Kagoshima Jitsugyou, Kagoshima Shougyou
  • Okinawa - Kounan, Okinawa Shougaku
Kounan certainly is the front-runner to go to Koushien. The road though could be frought with traps as teams like Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku, Nobeoka Gakuen, Kyushu Gakuin, Senshuudai Tamana, both Kagoshima schools, and even their fellow qualifier Okinawa Shogaku.

This may be the toughest super-regional out of the entire bunch.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Tournament Update #2

New trip through the prefectures!

Hokkaido Super-Regional (1 automatic bid)
Asahikawa Jitsugyou drew Mukawa for their 1st game (2nd round). Ow. That is a tough start. Then they could face Hakodatedai Yuuto or Hokushou.

Komadai Iwamizawa is also on the same side of the bracket, and could face Hokkai Gakuen Sapporo before possibly facing Asahikawa Jitsugyou in the semifinals.

On the other side Hokkai may only have Hokkaido Sakae as a threat before the semifinals. Sapporo Dai-ichi's only probable opposition lies in Obihiro Ootani. This side of the bracket is by far the easiest.

I cannot really handicap the brackets as there are many good teams and many good matchups. We'll just have to let this play out as far as I'm concerned.

Tohoku Super-Regional
Before we hit the super-regional bracket, let's finish up prefectural play.

The Miyagi final wound up being a pretty good game. After a run in the 2nd and 3rd innings, Tohoku would cough up the lead giving up 3 runs in the 3rd. They bounced right back to take the lead with 2 in the 4th. Sendai Ikuei would hang in there, and in fact tied the game in the 6th. Tohoku would finally shut the door with a run in the 8th and 2 in the 9th, winning the title 7-4.

In Fukushima, the final was dominated by Seikou Gakuin, leading wire-to-wire 10-0.

So with the prefecturals out of the way, how did the draw for the Tohoku Super-Regionals go?

Let's recap the qualifiers:

Aomori - Kousei Gakuin, Aomori Yamada, Hirosaki Kougyou
Iwate - Morioka Chuo, Ichinoseki Gakuin, Hanamaki Higashi
Akita - Oodate Houmei, Yokote Jyounan, Oomagari Kougyou
Miyagi - Tohoku, Sendai Ikuei, Touryou
Yamagata - Sakata Minami, Tsuruoka Higashi, Yamagata Chuo
Fukushima - Seikou Gakuin, Nichidai Tohoku, Shouin Gakuin Fukushima

With 18 teams, four #3 seeds get the short end of the stick having to play an extra game. Those unlucky souls are Oomagari Kougyou vs. Yamagata Chuo , and Hanamaki Higashi vs. Shouin Gakuin Fukushima. The winner of the 1st match get Tohoku, and the winner of the 2nd gets Kousei Gakuin. Have a good time!

Going counter-clockwise from the upper left quadrant, Tohoku looks to be the favorite to reach the semis with no real notable competition except for perhaps Nichidai Tohoku although as noted summer participant Yamagata Chuo is also in their bracket.

In the next quadrant, one would think that Aomori Yamada would be the choice, but Sakata Minami and Ichinoseki Gakuin are in the same bracket. The problem is that both teams are for the most part paper tigers on the big stage, so it's hard to gauge how well they'll do here.

Moving on to the other half of the bracket, Kousei Gakuin is the odds on favorite in the next quadrant. Hanamaki Higashi might have had a boost because of Kikuchi Yuusei, but how long and how effective that bump is seems to be insufficient. Morioka Chuo may pose a threat, but Iwate has not generally produced strong teams.

And in the final quadrant lies Seikou Gakuin. They could easily clash with Sendai Ikuei in the quarterfinals, and all bets are off.

But if I were to pick the semifinals, it would probably be Tohoku vs. Sakata Minami on one side as I'm just not convinced that Aomori Yamada is the real deal anymore and I don't trust Ichinoseki Gakuin as far as I can throw them (Yes I know that makes no sense, but bear with me). The other would probably be Kousei Gakuin versus... versus.... Sendai Ikuei? It's hard to say really, Sendai Ikuei did reach natsu Koushien, and their bench was full of underclassmen. But Seikou Gakuin isn't a bad team, although they haven't really been tested.

Kanto Super-Regional
Ibaraki (Suijyou, Kasumigaura)
Ibaraki had completed prefectural play, but let's see what happened.

Shimotsuma Dai-ni seems to be back, as they handled the first couple of rounds defating Jyousou Gakuin along the way. I kinda liked Kasumigaura and when Tsukuba Shuuei lost to Kashima Gakuen, it opened the door for them to reach the semifinals where they faced Shimotsuma Dai-ni. Kasumigaura scored right off the bat with 2 in the top of the first, and while they yielded a run in the bottom of the 9th, Kasumigaura advanced to the finals.

Suijyou though, has proven to be more than just a one-hit wonder as they flew through the brackets. Sadly for my friend Ken, Mito Sakuranomaki couldn't get out of the 2nd round, losing to Fujishiro 7-2. The two teams would meet up in the semifinals, and Suijyou shutout Fujishiro 5-0 to secure an automatic bid.

In the finals, Kasumigaura took an early 1-0 lead on Suijyou, but late in the game Suijyou would tie and take the lead, winning 3-1 and taking their first ever fall title. They impressed at Koushien, and continue to do so here in the fall.

Quarterfinal games have been played and no surprise who advanced. Sakushin Gakuin and Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku will meet up in one semi, while Sano Nichidai (who just edged Kokugakuin Tochigi 6-5) will meet Hakuoudai Ashikaga.

Gunma (Maebashi Ikuei, Takasaki Shougyou)
In what may be an upset, Maebashi Ikuei defeated Kiryuu Dai-ichi 6-4 to secure a bid. They would face Takasaki Shougyou who scored 4 in the 5th to rally against Takasaki Kenkou Fukushidai Takasaki also by the score of 6-4.

In the final, Takisaki Shougyou kept pace with Maebashi Ikuei, tying the game twice after Maebashi Ikuei tried to pull away. But Maebashi would pull away for good with a run in the bottom of the 6th to win only their 2nd title (their first was 42 years ago).

Saitama (Urawa Gakuin, Kasukabe Kyouei, Washinomiya)
The Saitama tournament became rather two-sided, in other words 2 teams dominated each side of the bracket. Kasukabe Kyouei and Urawa Gakuin could not be stopped. Kasukabe Kyouei's run was even that more impressive in that their ace pitcher is a 1st year. Takezaki Yuuma (竹崎) was named the ace number on the 2008 National K-Ball Chuugakkou (Middle School) team. From what I understand, a K-ball is a rubber ball with dimensions equal to that of a baseball. He sent his team to the finals with a 1-run 8-hit effort against Urawa Jitsugyou. Urawa Gakuin just gained momentum, scoring more runs with each progressive game - 7-0, 8-1, 10-0 and a 12-2 win over Washinomiya in the semifinal game.

Takezaki game Urawa Gakuin a good challenge, giving up just 3 runs in a complete game effort. However, the offense couldn't score for him and they lost 3-0.

No change here. They're still in the Best 8.

Kanagawa (Yokohama, Toukaidai Sagami)
The semifinals held true in that the favorites advanced to the finals. Toukaidai Sagami had no trouble with Tourei Fujisawa 8-2. But Yokohama had to nurse a 2-1 lead over Yokohama Shoudai for 7 innings to advance to the final.

In that final, Yokohama would go out to a 2-0 lead, only to see Sagami eventually tie it in the 7th. But Sagami ace Kondou couldn't keep Yokohama off the board again, and 3 runs in the 9th would be the difference.

Yamanashi (Koufu Kougyou, Nihon Koukuu)

Nihon Koukuu, led by ace Fujimoto throws a 5-hit shutout against Toukaidai Koufu for a 3-0 win an a spot in the super-regionals. Joining them would be Koufu Kougyou, who after tying the game in the bottom of the 8th, gave it up, then rallied with 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th for a 7-6 sayonara win.

In the final, Nihon Koukuu couldn't handle Koufu Kougyou, getting shutout 5-0 and giving them the 17th fall title.

Tokyo Super-Regionals
The Tokyo Super-Regionals are underway with 1st round games completed.

Perhaps the most unfortunate (or fortunate if you were a non-major school) draw of the entire bracket was a first-round match between Teikyou and Kokushikan! Such is the life of random draw brackets.

In the game ace Itou Takurou would actually be pulled, after it appears Kokushikan scored 5 runs off of him. Teikyou's offense would never recover and perhaps shockingly, their chance at a senbatsu appearance goes up in smoke.

In other games, Kanto Dai-ichi shutout Toritsu Dai-yon Shougyou 3-0, Shuutoku handled Toritsu Fujinomori 6-3, Toua Gakuen defeated Toritsu Sakuramachi 9-1, and Meijidai Meiji, Meijidai Nakano and Meijidai Nakano-Hachiouji both advanced as well. Meanwhile Seiritsu Gakuen lost to Toritsu Shouwa 6-3.

Teams that will open prefectural play include Nichidai-ni, Nichidai-san, Waseda Gakuin and Obirin.

Tokai Super-Regionals
Shizuoka (Seisei, Iwata Higashi, Shizuoka)
The final games were played and Seisei would come from behind with 3 in the 6th inning to defeate Iwata Higashi 4-3 for their 3rd title. Meanwhile, Nirayama would be denied a bid losing in the 3rd place game to Shizuoka 3-1.

Aichi (Aikoudai Meiden, Kyouei, Toyota Nishi)
Aikoudai Meiden would fall behind to Kyouei 3-1 in the bottom of the 5th, but answered tying the game in the next half-inning. It wouldn't be until the 9th when Ichiro's alma mater would score 2 to take the title 5-3. It is just Meiden's 4th ever title, and 1st in 20 years.

Toyota Nishi would secure the last bid with a convincing 7-0 win over Aichi.

Well, one side was expected. Mie and Komono reached the semifinals with 3-2 wins. And when they clashed, Mie opened a can of whoop-ass on Komono, winning 10-1 in 7 innings.

On the other side, Shiroko exacted some sort of revenge on Inabe Sougou Gakuen eliminating them 2-1 after they were eliminated 6-3 in the summer final.

Matsusaka liked that theme, and when they squared off against Shiroko, they maybe had that 3-0 loss in the 2nd round of the summer tournament in the back of their minds.

Things didnt't go initially as planned though as they fell behind 3-1. But a run in the 6th, followed by a run in the top of the 9th would tie the game and send it into extras. 2 innings later, Matsusaka would push through the go-ahead, and eventual winning run, giving them an automatic bid.

So Matsusaka and Mie will play for the top seed, while Shiroko and Komono will fight for the 3rd bid.

Hokushinesu Super-Regionals
Well, the draws came out and the main players, Saku Chousei and Matsushou Gakuen were placed on opposite sides of the bracket.

Other teams I follow included:

- Ueda Nishi, who lost to Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri 7-1 in the quarterfinals.
- Oomachi, who lost to Chikyuu Kankyou 2-1 in the first round.

Back to the tournament, Saku Chousei advanced to the Best 4 with back-to-back 4-1 victories, and will face Iiyama Kita for an automatic bid. Matsushou Gakuen with 7-4 and 4-2 wins, will face the aforementioned Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri in the semifinals.

Nihon Bunri, with a 4-1 win over Niitsu Minami is the front-runner to win the Niigata prefecturals. Hokuetsu stands between them and an automatic bid. Meanwhile, Tookamachi, who didn't have a team in the summer prefectural qualifying (and I don't see any punishments handed down on them) is now in the Best 4 with an 8-0 win over Shibata Nougyou. A win over Sado in the semifinals will give them an automatic bid!

Oddly enough the semi-final between Toyama Dai-ichi and Sakurai was a rematch of the semi-final in the summer. In the summer, Toyama Dai-ichi defeated Sakurai 6-1. This time around though, they would rally after giving up 3 runs in the 1st two innings, with 2 in the 2nd, 5th and 7th innings to advance to the finals with a 6-3 win.

In the other semi, Shin-Minato was relentless on the Fukuoka pitching staff, scoring runs in all but one inning and winning 15-8.

With all 4 teams advancing, there was no 3rd place game, so the last game would be the final where Sakurai outlasted Shin-Minato 4-3 for their 2nd title.

Ishikawa is in the Best 4, and as expected Kanazawa and Yuugakukan will face off in one semifinal. In the other side, Komatsu couldn't last, losing to Kanazawa Sakuragaoka 6-1. They will meet Hakui Kougyou, who defeated both seeded teams in its quadrant.

Wow, what a semifinal for Fukui. On one side, Fukui Shougyu took a 4-0 1st inning lead over Tsuruga Kehi into the late innings... and then the bottom fell out suddenly. 3 runs in the 8th and 7(!) in the 9th for a 10-4 lead! Even better, Fukushou mounted a rally! They only scored 3 to fall 10-7, but that was a packed final 2 innings!

Not to be outdone, Nyuu certainly was the underdog against Fukui Koudai Fukui. And they were down 3-0 after 3 innings. They pulled within 1 in the 4th, only to see Fukui score 2 in the bottom of the 6th.

But nobody told Nyuu that they had no shot. In the 7th, they score 3 tying the game!!!

And the game would go into extras....

...and continue into extras....

...and end in a 5-5 draw!

So Nyuu certainly showed its tenacity in achieving a draw against a team such as Fukui Koudai Fukui.

...but they would have to come back and play again. It's one thing to win a game against a favorite, it's another thing to try and put back-to-back games.

Nyuu actaully jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st, and it held for a couple of innings. Fukui would score 2 in the 4th and not look back. While Nyuu would finally respond with 3 in the 7th, by that time those runs merely made it 8-4 with 2 innings left to play. A run on each side finished the scoring and Nyuu would fall 9-5.

So it'll be Tsuruga Kehi and Fukui Koudai Fukui in the final, while hopeful Nyuu will play Fukui Shougyou for the 3rd bid. (Personally, I'm rooting for Nyuu. I'd like to see them advance at least to the super-regional.

Kinki Super-Regional
Shiga (Hachiman Shougyou, Murayama)
In the Shiga semifinals, Hachiman Shougyou outlasted Minakuchi, scoring the sayonara run in the 10th to win 2-1. Joining them into the super-regionals would be Murayama as ace Iwanaga strikes out 10 in a 1-0 win over Kousen.

It was all gravy for Murayama, who qualified for their first ever super-regional appearance. So losing 3-1 to Hachiman Shougyou wasn't all bad. For Hachiman, this is their 13th title and 1st in 6 years.

Quarterfinal games have been completed, and as expected Fukuchiyama Seibi advanced, but only by a 2-1 margin over Hokuryou. Next up in the semifinals is Tounan, who dispatched Momoyama 6-0.

Kyoto Gaidai Nishi handled Kita-Saga 12-5, and will now face Kyoto Seishou for a spot in the finals.

Osaka will be one of the last prefectures to finish, being only in the Round of 8 now. Well, it's really the 4 block finals, but anywho....

- Block A final will be summer participant Riseisha facing Taisha Gakuindai.
- Block B has unknowns Kansai Souka meeting Uenomiya Taishi.
- Block C has Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan clashing with Osaka Touin (who defeated Konkou Osaka soundly 8-1)
- Block D has half of the final set. Osaka Shoudai will square off against the winner of the PL Gakuen - Higashi-Osakadai Kashiwara.

So, in the one real quarterfinal matchup, Shinkou Gakuen shutout Touyoudai Himeji 3-0 to advance. They'll face Kobe Kokusaidai Fukzoku, while Kakogawa Kita meets summer representative Houtoku Gakuen.

Tenri and Chiben Gakuen continue to advance on each side of the bracket. Kooriyama is also alive. That's all you need to know until someone gets eliminated. Seriously.

As expected. Chiben Wakayama routed Kaseda 11-0. Wakayama Shougyou is next, follow by probably a match with Shiritsu Wakayama (who will face Naga).

Chuugoku Super-Regionals
Okayama (Kanzei, Soushi Gakuen, Okayama Gakugeikan)

Kanzei defeated Okayama Kyousei 3-1 to advance to the finals where they met Soushi Gakuen who defeated Okayama Gakugeikan. And 10 runs in the first 2 innings was more than enough for Kanzei in a 17-1 rout in the finals, giving them the title! Okayama Gakugeikan took care of business with a 10-1 win over Okayama Kyousei for the 3rd place bid.

Yamaguchi (Iwakuni, Tokuyama Skoukou, Ube Koujyou)
Well, I was wrong. Almost all the teams I mentioned lost in the first round.

Ube Koujyou and Iwakuni advanced with 11-0 victories, while the Ube specialty schools lost - Tokuyama Shoukou defeated Ube Shougyou 5-3, while Ube Kougyou lost to Yanai 7-6.

The semifinal games were really close as Tokuyama Shoukou eliminated the last Ube team 2-1 while Iwakuni rallied from down 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th for a sayonara 3-2 win.

The final wound up being anti-climatic as Iwakuni scored 6 in the first on their way to a 12-0 win and their 11th title. Ube Koujyou defeated Yanai 2-1 for the 3rd bid.

Shikoku Super-Regional
Only one Best 8 game has been played so far, and unfortunately for Eimei, Sangawa outscored them 10-6 to eliminate them from fall play.

Kyushu Super-Regional
Fukuoka (Kurume Shougyou/Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku, Chikuyou Gakuen/Touchiku)
Well, those regional finals turned out to be interesting.

In the Hokubu Regionals, Kyushu Kokusadai Fuzoku held a 5-1 lead going into the late innings, when suddenly Touchiku made a comeback. A run in the 8th wasn't too bad, but when they scored 2 in the 9th to pull within 1, it certainly gave them a scare. That's as close as they would get though as Kyushu Kokusai advances to the finals.

Over in the Nanbu Regionals, Kurume Shougyou and Chikuyou Gakuen would exchange leads each inning, with Chikuyou getting a 4-3 lead after the 6th inning. But in the top of the 9th, Kurume would tie the game at 4. The game would head into extras where Kurume would shock Chikuyou with a run in the 12th.

So the matchups you see above will determine the bids from Fukuoka.

The opening round of the prefectural tournament has started, and of note is Seihou advancing over Shimabara 11-1, and Nagasaki Nichidai defeating Nagasaki Shougyou 5-4. Seihou will face Kaisei (No, not that Kaisei), while Nagasaki Nichidai will play Hasami.

Kumamoto (Kyushu Gakuin/Kumamoto Kokufu, Senshuudai Tamana/Shuugakukan)
The other 2 qualifiers were determined as Senshuudai Tamana shuts out Kumamoto Nishi 2-0, while Shuugakukan edges Hitsuyuukan 2-1.

Oita (Touin, Oita)
In the final, Touin and Oita traded runs back and forth, but Touin looked to have the game in hand after scoring 4 in the 5th. But Oita would make a 2nd half rally, pulling within a run in the 9th inning. They would get no closer though as Touin wins only their 3rd title.

Miyazaki (Saito Shougyou/Nobeoka Gakuen)
The other quarterfinal matches were played, and Miyazaki Kita shocks Miyazaki Nichidai 6-4 to reach the semifinals. Nobeoka Gakuen blew away Miyakonojyou 10-1, and seeded Houshou was shutout by Miyakonojyou Izumigaoka 4-0.

Unknown Saito Shougyou secures a spot in the super-regionals, having an answer for every score by Miyazaki Kita, winning 5-2. Nobeoka Gakuen surprisingly handles Miyakonojyou Izumigaoka 11-4 in 7 innings for their spot. All that's left is the title.

Kagoshima Jitsugyou has yet to give up a run in the fall tournament, and will play unknown Kagoshima Jyouhou for a spot in the semis. Shounan could be their next opponent should they get past Kagoshima Jyousai.

On the other half of the bracket, well-known Kamimura Gakuen and Kagoshima Shougyou meet up in one quarterfinal, while Kagoshima Kougyou and Shibushi meet in the last quarterfinal.

Okinawa (Kounan, Okinawa Shogaku)
My God, can anyone stop Kounan? In the final against a hardy Okinawa Shogaku squad, Kawamitsu Takaya throws a 4-hitter in a 6-0 win! A 4-hitter!!

Kounan in its 6 games outscores their competition 34-2, with those 2 runs given up against Koza. The real test will be the super-regional, but man, they STILL look impressive.