Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Natsu Koushien Update (games through 7/9)

A whole host of prefectures started play on 7/7, but it would not be as lucky for some...

Interestingly, two of the top seeded teams went off on the 2nd day.  Senshuudai Kitami lost out to Moriokadai Fuzoku 8-1. However, the score was not indicative of the game as Moriokadai scored 5 in the 9th to pull away.  It will be interesting to see what happens in their next game against Karumai who survived a late game flurry against Ichinoseki TousenHanaizumi managed to last 8 innings against Ichinoseki Gakuin, slowly pulling to 5-2 before giving up 4 runs to call the game.  Next up will be Mizusawa Shougyou, who won 5-3 over Miyako.

In today's games, Ootsuchi waits until the last minute to defeat Morioka Nougyou 6-5 in 15.

Opening ceremonies were delayed by a day as rain delayed proceedings.  While Ishinomaki was unable to advance out of the first day, other tsunami affected area schools such as Miyako Kougyou and Kesennuma and Natori advanced today.  Meanwhile Kogota Nourin places a 2-spot in the 14th to lead Wakuya 4-2.

Day 1 saw a good game between Fujioka Kougyou and Meiwa Kenou.  Meiwa led 2-1 late before Fujoka scored a run in the 8th and 9th for the sayonara win.

Games were rained out on day 2, but when play resumed today, seeded Maebashi Ikuei did not look sharp at all against Numata, scoring a run in the 8th, 9th and 10th inning for the 4-3 win.  Notable Kiryuu Dai-ichi won 4-0, while Takasaki Kenkoudai Fukushi had no trouble with Yoshii 6-0.

Ibaraki is underway, though none of the favorites have kicked off play just yet.

Nishi Tokyo
Defending natsu champions Nichidai-san were up on the docket on day 2, and had no trouble with Tokyo Tousen, winning 10-0 in the minimum 5 innings at Kami-Yagi Park.  Meijidai Nakano, who had a deep run last year had no problems with Nishi, winning 7-0 in 7.  Two of the 3 Waseda schools also advanced with no issues as Waseda Gakuin and Waseda Jitsugyou move to the next round.

Higashi Tokyo
Higashi Tokyo kicked off one day later, and the third and final Waseda school, Waseda, fell 6-2 to Katsushika Shougyou. And only one main contender has started play with Shuutoku having no trouble with Shinozaki, winning 5-0.

Kanagawa has played their opening game with Yokosuka Sougou coming from behind in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Kouyou 3-2.

The Nagano qualifiers got underway with an 18-0 drubbing of Minowa Shinshuu by Iiyama.  None of the main players have started play just yet, and we're seeing the normal collection of very close games - such as Ueda Nishi outlasing Matsukawa 3-2 in 11 and Toukai Dai-san just holding off Tateshina 11-10... and not so close ones - such as Sonan falling to Fujimi 22-1 in 5, and Ina Kita defeating Karuizawa 19-0 in the same.

The games in Yamanashi have taken their cue from the opening 2 games of the tournament.  Nirasaki Kougyou led wire-to-wire, but just defeated Masuho Shougyou 5-2, and Koufu Higashi went 11 before defeating Uenohara 4-2.

Former Natsu Koushien participant Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku waited until the 8th to pull away from Hikawa (who has proven to not be an easy out), winning 5-1.  Nichidai Meisei ralled from 4-0 down to win 5-4 in 11 over ShiraneYamura Kougyou led Kouryou (no, not that Kouryou) 9-0 before letting their opponents rally to within 2.  They held on to win 10-7.

In fact, there have only been 2 mercy rule games so far, and both happened today.  First was Teikyou Dai-san defeating Fuefuki 10-1 in 7, and Koufu Jyousai defeating Katsura 9-0, also in 7.

All the seeded teams have received a first-round bye, so all the other schools are in the trenches battling it out.  After a first day that was fairly one-sided, 25 games were on the docket for the 8th.  17 of those were decided by 3 runs or less, and 9 of those by one run.

You had Fujinomiya Kita giving up a 4-1 lead late to Shimoda, managing to win 5-4 in 14, while Shimada Shougyou and Hamamatsu Shougyou played to a 2-2 draw!

In addition, Mishima Kita scored 2 in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Numadzu Shougyou, Oyama who scored 3 in the first against Kawane holding off a 9th inning rally to win 3-2, Hamamatsu Kotou scoring the only run in the bottom of the 8th to defeat Ooigawa, Hamamatsu Kaiseikan doing the same to Fujinomiya Higashi in the top of the 9th, Shizuoka Kita scoring 3 in the 8th for a gyakuten win over Futamata 5-4, Hamamatsu Oohiradai rallying twice to tie the game at 7 versus Hamamatsu Shiritsu - only to give up the sayonara run one inning later, and Seiryou scoring 4 in the 9th inning for a 7-5 victory over Izu Sougou.

But probably the most exciting game was between Susono and Touyou at Susuono Stadium where Touyou had pretty much dominated the game against Susono, but led by a 1-0 margin.  Out of nowhere, Susono gets to starter Yamada, scoring 2 in the top of the 9th!  Hagiwara stops the bleeding, but the team finds themselves down with just 3 outs to go.  But they find a way against Susuono ace Ootake to tie the game and send it to enchousen.  Ishizaki takes over for Touyou as Hagiwara is pinch-hit for, but in his 2nd inning of relief, Susono strikes again for a pair of runs!  Touyou is under the gun once again, but the pressure seems to be too much for Ootake!  Touyou this time decides to finish the game once and for all and scores 3 in the bottom of the 11th for the 5-4 win!

Opening day for Gifu was rained out, and the only close game of the 3 to have taken place so far was Gifu Dai-ichi holding off Hashima Kita 4-3.

Aichi is underway, and the range of scores is as expected.  The main school to have started their quest for Koushien is Chuukyoudai Chuukyou who defeated 9-0 over Yutakagaoka in 7 innings.

Opening day at Wakasa Stadium saw unseeded Ritusmeikan Uji easily handle Kumiyama 10-0 in 5.  Meanwhile Ritsumeikan, Ryuukokudai Heian and Kyoto Gaidai Nishi all advanced on Day 2 with no problems at all.

The Osaka tournament almost started with an unthinkable upset.  On the back of homeruns by Zenimura and Nishigami, Tomioka actually led 3-1 over Perfect Liberty (aka PL) Gakuen!  However, ace Kusumoto couldn't hold onto the lead.  PL chipped away, scoring runs in the 6th and 7th to tie the game, eventually winning 4-3 with a run in the 9th.

Hyogo has started play, and nothing of note to say, unless you're rooting for Nishinomiya Kita like I am - who defeated Amagasaki Kougyou 3-0 in their opening round game.

Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou is the first major team to play in the taikai, as Kasahara throws a 6-inning perfect game (yes, I know it's only for 9 innings but still) against Shinguu, striking out 12.  Yanagigawa scores the one and only run in the game in the bottom of the 9th against Chikushi Chuo to just advance to the next round.

Opening day had Waseda Saga starting their run, but it ended abruptly in a 6-4 loss to Kanzaki Seimei.  Saga Kita hasn't taken the field just yet (sorry Deanna, you'll have to wait a little longer).

None of the major players - Seihou, Nagasaki Nichidai, Hasami or Souseikan have played their opening game just yet.

In other games, Iki comes from down 6-2 to Nagasaki Higashi in the 9th to tie the game, eventually winning 7-6 in 11.  Kunimi and Nagasaki Sougoudai Fuzoku combine for just 5 hits, but Sougoudai manages to score the only run in the game.  Shimabara gives up a 3 run lead in the last 3 innings, but finally wins 4-3 in 12.

I still remember Oita Uenogaoka and their brief appearance in 2009 as a 21st century team.  Sadly they've now fallen back into anonymity as they lose 2-1 on opening day to Nihon Bunridai Fuzoku.

Meihou though is still fighting to stay relevant as a prefectural powerhouse and they start with a 10-0 win in 5 over Oita Tousen.

Ever since I saw Akagawa Katsuki play for Miyazaki Shougyou, I continue to root for the team.  So it's nice to see them advance, though just, on a 3-2 win over Miyazaki Dai-ichi.  On the first day (the opening game was rained out), Kobayashi ties the game a 1 against Nichinan in the top of the 9th, then scores 4 in the 13th to seal the deal.

Kinda.  Nichinan mounts one final charge and pulls to within 1 before falling short.

Kumamoto is underway with Kyushu Gakuin winning 9-0 in 7 over new school Yatsushiro Seiryuu (formerly Yatsushiro Minami and Hikawa).

Of the serious contenders, only Kagoshima Jitsugyou has started play, but struggled against Kanoya, winning 7-4.

Okinawa is in the best 8 after games this weekend.  Yasumura belts a sayonara 3-run homerun for Kumejima to defeat Ginowan 3-1!  Tomishiro gives Okinawa Shougaku the biggest scare so far, losing, but by only the final of 1-0.  That should provide hope to the rest of the teams, hopefully for the aforementioned Kumejima who faces them next.

Itoman and Yaeyama both advance with ease and will square off against each other in the quarterfinals.

The third semi is a gami I'll be interested in as Chinen and Maehara have appeared as dark horses.  Chinen continued their offensive output, scoring 7 runs (averaging almost 9 runs/game), but this time giving up 5 against Naha Nishi - which doesn't portend good things for their next match.  Maehara has gotten stronger as they have progressed, defeating Shuri 7-1 in their last game.  However, they have not faced any tough competition, so it's hard to say how strong they really are.  Should be the most interesting game of the bunch.

Finally, Urasoe Shougyou was also in a fight of their lives Sunday as Futenma was not intimidated at all.  Down 2-0 and 5-4, the team rallies to take a 7-5 lead.  But with 3 outs to go the bullpen cannot shut the door and Urashou instead busts it down with 6 runs to win 11-7.  They'll face Kadena, who reached senbatsu in 2010 and has been on the cusp of being an annual contender, as they defeated Chuubu Shougyou 3-1.

No comments: