Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 Haru Taikai - Kinki Taikai Update

All prefectures have completed play and the draw has been determined for the super-regionals. But before that, let's go see what happened:

In the semis, Tounan actually got off to a quick start against Fukuchiyama Seibi, getting 2 runs in the top of the 1st. However, in the next 3 innings, Seibi went 1-3-1 to take a 5-2 lead and won 6-3. Their opponent in the finals would end up being Ritsumeikan Uji as Kyoto Gaidai Nishi collapsed in the 2nd inning, giving up 6 runs en route to a 9-2 loss.

In the final, Ritsumeikan and Seibi would be wrapped in a closely contested match. No team ever led by 1 run, and while Ritsumeikan Uji led 1-0 and 2-1, Fukuchiyama Seibi scored a pair to take a 3-2 lead late. It all collapsed in the 9th though as the bullpen couldn't hold it down. Uji scores 2 to win their 3rd title and first in 29 years.

The 4th team joining the Big 3 would be Kansai Chuo who defeated Ikoma (I remember passing by that station quite often) 3-2.

Kooriyama found themselves with their hands full against the "outsider" and could only manage 1 run. That was 1 run more than Kansai Chuo could manage though, and Kooriyama was in the final.

Now Chiben Gakuen and Tenri also had a close game... kinda...

After trading a pair of runs in the 1st, Tenri would score 7 unanswered to take a commanding 9-2 lead.

And then the pitching staff proceed to blow all of it. Facing a called game in the 7th, Chiben Gakuen scores 4 in the 7th and 8th innings to take a 1-run lead!

Tenri, suddenly finding themselves behind, manages something they haven't been able to do at Koushien.


They score a run in the 8th, and a sayonara run in the 9th to send Chiben Gakuen home.

Even with that high-stress game just to show that Kooriyama, while a Top 3 team, is still miles behind the Top 2, Tenri scores 8 runs in the first 5 innings of the final and run away with it 8-3 for their 23rd title, and 2nd consecutive.

Sadly for Han-ai, they were not able to keep up with Osaka Touin, although perhaps most thought that they didn't have a chance anyways. Osaka Touin wins 8-1 for just their 6th title and first in 3 years.

In the more important 3rd place game, Osaka Shoudai Sakai edges out fellow university school Osaka Gakuindai 3-2 to win the last spot.

Kouyou indeed did Chiben Wakayama fits in their game, hopefully indicating that there may be a chance that they're in some ways here to stay in the prefecture.

For now though, Chiben Wakayama scores 3 in the top of the 9th to break a 2-2 tie to advance to the finals. Minoshima would be their opponents as Minabe had no chance losing 11-2 (no mercy rules here).

Minoshima has also been another team that has cracked the ceiling recently, and they did so once again scoring 4 runs between the 2nd and 3rd innings to take a 4-2 lead. Chiben got a run back in the 4th, but perhaps the pitching-minded tack now has hurt Chiben Wakayama as they couldn't find that equalizer. Minoshima wins 4-3 and earns their 10th title and 1st in 19 years!

So the draw for the prefecturals go as follows:

Akashi Shougyou (Hyogo) vs. Han-ai (Osaka 2)
Oumi (Shiga) vs. Tenri (Nara)


Osaka Shoudai Sakai (Osaka 3) vs. Minoshima (Wakayama)
Osaka Touin (Osaka 1) vs. Ritsumeikan Uji (Hyogo)

I think all of the game should be competitive with perhaps the exception of the Minoshima game. I like Minoshima and I hope they have a resurgence (not to take anything away from Kouyou which I like too).

Tenri and Osaka Touin should have the inside track to the title, but it's not out of the realm of possibility that someone else takes it as well.

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