Fukuoka had wrapped up regional play and was about to start the prefectural brackets.
Round 1 of the prefecturals didn't see anything too out of the ordinary. Oomuta mercy ruled Asakura 12-5 in 7. Kokura held on 2-1 over Hokuchiku... and oh yeah, in the game between Iidzuka and Higashi-Fukuoka, the game was tied at 2 going into extras - which isn't surprising - but Iidzuka scored 9 in the 11th. That is.
Obviously, there are certain teams to key on for the prefecturals, Iidzuka and Higashi-Fukuoka were 2, Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku is another, Jiyuugaoka, the other university schools - Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku and Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou, and to a lesser extent Touchiku.
Kyukoku having to play on back to back days, almost had a hiccup in the quarterfinals against Fukuoka Kougyou. The game was tied 4-4 before they scored 5 in the 9th to put it away.
Jiyuugaoka in their first game against Touchiku fell flat losing 4-3! Touchiku followed up that win scoring 5 in the 2nd inning against Iidzuka and putting them on their heels early. While Iidzuka was able to tie the game 2 innings later it may have taken something out of them as they were unable to respond when Touchiku scored 2 in the 7th!
Meanwhile Oomuta continued to surprise everyone giving Tankidai a punch in the gut scoring 5 to take the lead in the 3rd after Tankidai has scored a pair of runs in the first 2 innings. Tankidai was able to tie the game, but wound up losing 8-7! Combine that with a 3-2 win over Touyou and they're into the semis against Kyukoku.
Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou advanced to the quarters with little issue, probably could consider them having the easiest time getting to the semis.
We left Saga in the middle of the quarterfinals and with Karatsu Shoguyou and Saga Nishi playing to a 2-2 draw. They'd have to play the next day along with the other 2 quarterfinals. In that replay (which was the last game of the day), it was all Karatsu Shougyou winning 7-3.
They'd wind up playing Saga Gakuen, who needed 2 in the bottom of the 9th to bid Kashima Jitsugyou sayonara 3-2. Saga Kita, who has won their game the prior day would play Saga Kougyou who nursed a 1-run advantage over Kyuuragi to the semis.
The semis were rather anti-climactic. Karatsu Shougyou, despite the extra game controlled the game against Saga Gakuen winning 11-5. And as nice as Saga Kita was a few years ago, Saga Kougyou showed no mercy, winning 11-2.
And in the finals, it was the Kitagata Yuujyou show. He throws a 2 hitter in the finals striking out 12 in a 2-0 win giving them their 4th title and 1st in 27 years!
The semifinals here was just as anti-climactic as in Saga. Both Kaisei and Seihou mercy ruled their games, so it was onto the finals.
The finals were nuts. Kaisei got a 3-0 lead after 2 only to see Seihou tie it in the bottom of the 2nd. Kaisei rebuilt the lead to 4 by the 9th, but Seihou somehow scored 4 in the bottom of the 9th to send it into extras! The game would be scoreless for 2 innings until Kaisei scored a run in the 12th. Seihou had no response this time and Kaisei earns their 16th appearance and first in 9 years!
Kumamoto was going into their quarterfinals. Kumamoto Kougyou was the first to advance with a 1-0 win over Kumamoto Gakuendai Fuzoku despite being outhit 6-4. They'd play Kyushu Gakuin who had a less than convincing win over Buntoku 7-4.
The 22nd had the 2nd set of games. Both seeded teams, Shuugakukan and Senshuudai Tamana both advanced.
Which brings us to the semis. Kumamoto Kougyou and Kyushu Gakuin could easily be seen as a good matchup and indeed it was. Both teams managed just 5 hits the entire game. However, Kumamoto Kougyou managed to score 3 runs on those 5 hits and they proceed to the finals with a 3-0 win! The other semi looked to be all Shuugakukan's. They had built a 4-0 lead and seemed in control. But in the 8th Senshuudai Tamana scores 5 for a successful reversal!
And so it's Kumamoto Kougyou versus Senshuudai Tamana for the title!
Interestingly enough, all seeded teams advanced into the Best 8... though Touin needed the 4 runs in the 6th through 8th innings to win 5-3 over Nakatsu Higashi, and Hita Rinkou needed 3 in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Beppu Shougyou.
Onto the quarterfinals, and A seed Meihou out-dueled Oita Houfu 1-0, who really took the loss hard. Oita Shougyou was barely able to beat Oita 2-1. Nihon Bunridai Fuzoku scores a sayonara run to defeat Tsurusaki Kougyou 2-1. And in the only upset, Hita Rinkou holds off a late charge by Touin to win 4-3.
The final round of 16 games went to the seeded teams Houshou and Miyazaki Shougyou with little resistance.
Onto the quarterfinals with all but one seeded team playing. Nobeoka Gakuen behind 4-3 was able to push through 4 runs late to defeat Miyazaki Kita 7-5. Nichinan Gakuen got involved in a pitchers duel with unseeded Miyakonojyou Higashi. The one run they scored in the 2nd proved to the only one as they advanced.
The next day, Miyazaki Shougyou held a comfortable lead before watching Miyakonojyou Shougyou started rallying in the 9th. Though they scored 3 runs, Miyashou still won 10-7. And in the final quarterfinal, Miyazaki Nichidai and Houshou each got 7 hits, but it was Houshou who scored the only and sayonara run.
The semifinals have been played yesterday, which is where we stand presently. Miyazaki Shougyou could not recover from a 7-0 deficit after just 2 innings. Nobeoka Gakuen would advance with a 10-6 win. And in the 2nd semifinal. Nichinan Gakuen and Houshou who were both in 1-0 games were evenly matched with the game tied at 3 heading into extras. Not until the 12th did the stalemate get broken when Nichinan scored 3. Houshou was unable to make a reply and Nichinan Gakuen will meet Nobeoka Gakuen in the finals.
Probably one of the biggest shocks of the tournament, unseeded Satsuma Chuo scored a pair of runs in the 6th & 7th innings and defeated Kagoshima Jitsugyou 4-2!!
With that upset, it seemed that the road was wide open for Kamimura Gakuen to reach Koushien. And yet they almost blew it. Kanoya Chuo scored 3 runs early and held a 2 run advantage for a couple of innings. Kamimura then scored a run in the 4th to make it just a 1-run deficit and 2 more in the 5th to finally take the lead. Ace Kubo, who actually came in relief, made the lead stick.
And finally given the opportunity to go to Koushien, they take it. Satsuma Chuo can only manage 3 hits off of Kubo as Kamimura Gakuen goes to just their 2nd Natsu Koushien - the other appearance being 4 years ago.