Saturday, July 23, 2011

93rd Koushien Qualifying - July 16th-23rd (Hokkaido & Tohoku Region)

Ok, so I still haven't been able to get to the Kinki prefectures. I need to quickly double back and do Hokkaido and Tohoku before prefectures finish. (Too late)

Kita Hokkaido
Round of 16
  • Asahikawa Kougyou kicked off play with a 7-3 win over Wakkanai. They'll play Komadai Iwamizawa who shutout Obihiro Ryokuyou 3-0.
  • Kushiro Kounan down 3-0 to Kitami Hakuyou in the bottom of the 9th scores 3 to tie the game! And they then go on to win the game 4-3! They get Engaru who blew out Hiro-o.
  • Memanbetsu handles Kushiro Kougyou and will play Iwamizawa Higashi who scored a minor upset in beating Bushuukan 3-2.
  • Shirakaba Gakuen, one of the teams on the inside track, used a 5-run 1st inning to cruise over Asahikawa Minami 9-5. Asahikawa Nishi looks to avenge them in the quarterfinals after almost blowing an 8-0 lead to Wakkanai Ootani.
  • Komadai Iwamizawa continues on a collision course with Shirakaba Gakuen with a mercy win over Asahikawa Kougyou. The last obstacle to the finals is Engaru who recorded their 2nd mercy win and 2nd double digit offensive output.
  • Memanbetsu moves one step closer to the finals with a convincing 8-2 win over Iwamizawa Higashi. Only problem is, Shirakaba Gakuen stands between them and a finals appearance.
  • Engaru ace Furugoe(?) Tomoaki (古越 友章) seems to come out of nowhere in terms of being able to manage a game. Despite giving up 9 hits and 5 free passes, he limits Komadai Iwamizawa to just 2 runs! Combine that with their 3 in the 3rd and it's Engaru who finds themselves in the finals!!
  • It started to look like it was going to be an all-new final as Engaru has never been to Koushien, and neither had Memanbetsu. Yet here was Memanbetsu holding a 2-1 lead over Shirakaba Gakuen! But in the 4th Shirakaba showed they have staying power, scoring 3 and putting Membanbestu behind the 8-ball. Surprisingly though, Memanbetsu did not fold. They scored one in the lucky 7 to pull within 1. However, that would be as close as they would get as ace Kobayashi would shut them down.
So it's rookie Engaru versus the one-timers Shirakaba Gakuen for the Kita-Hokkaido bid!

But in reality, feel good stories only go so far. Engaru fought hard, but in the end was shutout by Shirakaba Gakuen who will make their 2nd appearance at Koushien! But kudos to Engaru. I really wish they made it this year.

Minami Hokkaido
Round of 15
  • Hokkai gets a bye here, but needs to rest up as they're matched up with another favorite team of mine, Hakodatedai Yuuto who won their game over Toukai Dai-yon 4-0.
  • Tomakomai Chuo used a 5-run 8th to defeat Eniwa Kita 7-3. Next up will be Shiriuchi who went on a 3-0 run for a gyakuten victory over Otaru Chouryou.
  • On the other side of the bracket, Sapporo Minami edges out Hokkaido Sakae 3-2, but will have their hands full with Sapporo Dai-ichi who had a 5-inning mercy win over Sapporo Kousei.
  • And in the last pairings, Komadai Tomakomai was tasked with a difficult challenge in Hokushou, but was able to pull it out with a 5-3 win. Shoushi Gakuen will have to take up the flag against them next after they beat Hakodate Chuubu 3-1.
  • Sadly for my team, Hakodatedai Yuuto can't keep up with Hokkai. They fall 6-2. Tomakomai Chuo will step into the ring next as they defeat Shiriuchi 4-1.
  • Sapporo Minami's Ooma 4-hits Sapporo Dai-ichi and will look to reach the finals with a victory over Komadai Tomakomai who won 6-3.
And finally to the semis. Once could almost see it coming given the teams involved. Komadai Tomakomai may finally be surging once again after 4 years of anonymity. They shutout Sapporo Minami 4-0 to advance to today's final. As for Hokkai, they take it to Tomakomai Chuo 7-0 in 8.

So we're back to the days of umm.... last decade? Hokkai and Komadai Tomakomai for the Minami Hokkaido bid!

As the first 2 rounds ended, we had some interesting games such as Goshogawara Nourin scoring 4 in the 9th for a gyakuten victory over Shoufuu Jyuku, Aomori Toyama giving up a 5-1 lead to Hirosaki before winning 6-5 in 11, St. Ursula and Hachinohe Suisan in a barnburner with Hachinohe winning 12-11 in 10, Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi needing 4 in the 8th to beat Goshogawara 5-4, and biggest of all A seed Hachinohe being mercy ruled by Seiai 11-2 in 7!

So all seeded teams outside of A seed Hachinohe advanced to the round of 16...

...and for the most part, things went status quo. B seed Touou Gijyuku was the next seeded team to fall, losing 3-2 to Kidzukuri. And those teams that pulled off upsets (Noheji Nishi and Seiai) continued on with convincing victories.

In the quarterfinals, the trend continued. So far Noheji Nishi fell behind Aomori 2-0, scored 3 to take the lead, watched Aomori tie it in the bottom of the 8th and plated the winning run in the 9th. Seiai ace Naraoka held Hachinohe Nishi to just 1 run, and their 2 runs was just enough to advance to the semis.

Teams started to stumble as early as the 2nd round. First of those was actually the top seed Oomagari Kougyou who could only muster just 6 hits and 1 run on Nishime as they lost 2-1! 5 seed Akita Kougyou almost lost too if it weren't for a 3-run 9th for a gyakuten victory over Oodate Kokusai. 7 seed Akita Hokuyou did lose, getting shutout 2-0 by Akita Chuo.

In the round of 16, Akita Kougyou did lose but not just to any team though. Noshiro Shougyou, last year's representative, defeated them 4-1.

Even though Akita Shougyou was a #3 seed, the team has had so much experience, it's no surprise that they're advancing through the brackets with as much relative ease as possible. The same can't be said for #2 seed Honjyou as they were the next team to fall. Akita Chuo took them to the limit, scoring 2 runs in the 11th after Honjyou did the same, and slayed their 2nd seeded team, 5-4 in 12 innings! In other games, Nishime's run ends at the hands of #8 seed Kanaashi Nougyou 7-4 and Noshiro Shougyou continues their repeat bid with an impressive 7-1 win over 4-seed Oodate Houmei.

The semis continued to impress. Noshiro Shougyou moves just one game away from a back-to-back appearance defeating Kanaashi Nougyou 6-3. In the other semi, Akita Shougyou looked to be in full control of the game early, getting 4 runs in the 2nd and another in the 7th to lead 5-1 over Akita Chuo. But if there was a time perhaps to have a lucky 7, it was now. Chuo scored 4 runs to tie the game and now Shougyou had to be nervous. They had every right to because 1 inning later, they'd plate another run and take a 6-5 lead! Shougyou tried to comeback, but could not - meaning that Akita Chuo will face Noshiro Shougyou for the title!

In the final again, it was a nice run for Akita Chuo, but in the end it was the "favorite" in Noshiro Shougyou that prevailed. They get 2 in the 1st, and 4 more in the 4th spelled doom. Noshiro Shougyou earns their 2nd consecutive appearance and 3rd overall.

Running through the 2nd round we had Daitou breaking a 2-2 tie against Iwate with 4 runs in the 9th, but needing all 4 as Iwate scored 3. Morioka Kita allowed Morioka Nougyou to score 3 in the bottom of the 9th extending the game, but 5 runs in the 10 settled matters.

Round 3 saw Hanamaki Higashi get their 2nd mercy rule game in as many played. Miyako Kougyou brings some joy to their city as they move on with a 5-4 win over Ichinoseki Kougyou. Oofunato does the same as they mercy rule Kitakami Shounan. Karumai scores 7 runs in the last 4 innings to bid sayonara to Morioka Shougyou 9-8.

Onto round 4 and Kamaishi does their town proud as they score 4 in the 8th to pull off the upset over Ichinoseki Gakuin 7-6!

As we entered into the Round of 16, those nice stories start facing realities. Kamaishi fall 5-2 to Ichinohe. Miyako Shougyou is mercy ruled by Morioka Dai-san. Kuji Higashi gives Hanamaki Higashi the fight of their lives, but Hanamaki Higashi scores the sayonara run to win 5-4. Morioka Chuo ends Miyako Kougyou's run with a 12-5 win. Only Oofunato remained, though they had to beat Kuji 6-4 to do so.

Quarterfinal play say Morioka Dai-shi with 3 runs in the luck 7 to defeat Ichinohe 4-3. They will play Hanamaki Higashi as they end Oofunato's run 6-2.

In the battle of Morioka schools, Dai-san shuts out Dai-ichi 4-0 to advance to the semifinals. They will play Moriokadai Fuzoku as they win over Morioka Chuo 4-1.

So Hanamaki Higashi was the "odd man out" as it were. 3 Morioka schools and 1 Hanamaki school. To boot we could have had something similar to Nichidai-san v. Nichidai-ni a couple of years back if Morioka Dai-shi and Morioka Dai-san had won their games.

That was not to be though as Kikuchi Yuusei's alma mater crashed the party. They built a 4-0 lead on Dai-sh1 but almost frittered it away in the top of the 9th. Dai-shi pulls within 1, but reliever Ohara shuts it down just in time.

The other semifinal was hotly contested. Moriokadai Fuzoku and Morioka Dai-san were tied at 1 until the lucky 7th. That's when Moriokadai Fuzoku scored 1 to break the deadlock, but then Dai-san responded with 4. That would prove to be the difference as Dai-san advances to face Hanamaki Higashi 5-2.

Yamagata's first full day included Kunori Gakuen and Yamagata Shougyou playing to a 4-4 draw! In the replay, Kunori Gakuen would advance with a 3-1 win.

In other games in the 1st round, Yamagata Meisei rallied for 3 in the 9th, but fell short 4-3 to Shinjyou Higashi. My irrational favorite team here, Haguro had to go 12 against Yamamoto Gakuen to win 6-5.

Round 2 saw the first seeded teams to fall. 5-8 seed Kita-Murayama falls to Yamagata Jyouhoku 5-1. Fellow seed Sakata Kougyou lost 3-1 to Toukaidai Yamagata as well as Tsuruoka Kougyou who lost 6-5 to Yonezawa Chuo. Haguro continued shutting out their opposition as Tateoka failed to score.

Outside of that it was mainly status quo to the Best 8 with one exception. My Haguro upset Sakata Minami to the tune of 9-3!! Toukaidai Yamagata will be next up in the quarterfinals.

The first day of quarterfinal action was yesterday. Tsuruoka Higashi finally was put to the test by Yamagata Kougyou. Ace Furuichi(?) was up to the task still, limiting them to 1 run on 9 hits. The offensive output was limited to 3 runs, but was more than plenty. Their opponent will be 4-seed Nichidai Yamagata who mercy ruled Yamagata Jyouhoku.

As the field of 16 started to form we saw some familiar names. Tohoku made it without breaking a sweat. So did the other seeded teams - Sendai Ikuei, Touryou, and Furukawa Kougyou. Joining them was Rifu - who almost let the game slip away against Shibata.

Because of the rainouts, they condensed Round of 16 play into 2 days with all seeded teams in play on the 21st. All 4 advanced. In the other games:
  • Tome def. Sanuma 6-3
  • Sendai Shougyou def. Sendai Dai-ichi 5-2
  • Tohoku Gakuin def. Kogota Nourin 3-2
  • Rifu def. Ishinomaki Kougyou 3-2
Yesterday was quarterfinals, with all teams at Kleenex Stadium Miyagi. First up was top seed Tohoku, who had no trouble with Tome 13-1 in 5. 4-seed Furukawa Kougyou was up next and while they never trailed Tohoku Gakuin, it took 2 runs in the 8th to finally stay ahead and win 6-5. Doubt they'll be able to get away with that against Tohoku.

Afternoon session began with Touryou playing Rifu. Needless to say Rifu as of late has been a very good team in Miyagi. Rifu's Katou shuts the 3-seed out 6-0 and advances to the semis!

And if one upset wasn't enough, we had 2! 2-seed Sendai Ikuei was in a fight with Sendai Shougyou early. But then Sendai Shougyou scores 3 in the 6th to pull away! Ace Kome doesn't allow a run after the 3rd and it's a 5-1 upset!

As Round 2 concluded, there we had some interesting games such as Iwaki Kaisei who rallied from down 5-1 scoring 2 in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Fukushima Minami. Fukushima Higashi stems the scoring from Yotsukura with 4 in the bottom of the 8th and hangs on to win 9-8.

The 21st saw all teams in play across 7 stadiums. Aidzu and Hobara were involved in a scoring affair, with Hobara scoring in the middle innings, but it's Aidzu's bookend scoring that leads to a 10-8 win. Iwaki Kouyou wins late with a pair of runs over Fukushima Shougyou. And Shirakawa Asahi scores the only run in the bottom of the 8th over Futaba.

After a day off, the round of 16 saw all teams in play, and the games were either blowouts or close affairs.
  • Top seed Seikou Gakuin records their 3rd mercy and double-digit game.
  • 4-seed Haramachi is unceremoniously upset as Higashi Nippon Kokusaidai Shouhei scores 8 in the 6th to win 12-2.
  • Shirakawa defeats Aidzu 8-0 in 7.
  • Despite only getting 4 hits, Iwaki Kouyou scores the only run versus Gakkouhoujin Ishikawa.
  • Odaka Kougyou mercy rules Naganuma 13-1 in 7.
  • Sukagawa holds off a 9th inning charge from Shirakawa Asahi to win 4-3.
  • Nichidai Tohoku needs 10 to defeat Aidzu Kougyou 2-1.
  • 2-seed Shouin Gakuen Fukushima scores a run in the 1st and ace Yachi makes it stick over Kooriyama Shougyou.

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