Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Taikai Update - Hokushinetsu

Hokushinetsu (2 bids)
  • Champion - Harue Kougyou - Sakai-shi, Fukui (First title)
  • Runner-up - Tsuruga Kehi - Tsuruga-shi, Fukui
  • Other Consideration - Ueda Nishi - Ueda-shi, Nagano, Niigata Meikun - Niigata-shi, Niigata
Uh oh.  The selection committee may have a problem.

So, let's go through the brackets first, and if you haven't identified the problem yet, I'll spell it out for you later.

So if you looked at the brackets, you'd think that the "right" teams won.  Though if you put rankings in, they may seem more like an "upset".
  • Takaoka Shougyou (Toyama 2) 0-3 Yuugakukan (Ishikawa 3)
  • Gosen (Niigata 3) 2-3x Tsuruga Kehi (Fukui 1) - How Tsuruga Kehi barely beat Gosen I don't know...
  • Shin-Minato (Toyama 3) 2-3x (10) Seiryou (Ishikawa) - Shin-Minato puts together a 2-run rally in the 9th to send it to enchousen, but this time can't finish the job.
  • Ueda Nishi (Nagano 2) 1-1 (15), 6-1 Niigata Kenou Kougyou (Niigata 2) -  The teams play to an exhaustive draw in their game, then have to turn around the very next day where Ueda Nishi wins easily.  Probably because Ueda Nishi used 4 pitchers for the 15 inning draw while Niigata used the same 2 pitchers for each game.
  • Nihon Bunri (Niigata 1) 0-15 (5 inn) Matsushou Gakuen (Nagano 3) - That was an uncharacteristic ass-kicking of a generally solid Nihon Bunri squad.
  • Kanazawa Gakuin Higashi (Ishikawa 2) 4-5 Harue Kougyou (Fukui 2) - Not surprising.  2 middle-of-the-road teams play a back and forth game where Harue Kougyou scores a run in the top of the 9th to advance.
  • Saku Chousei (Nagano 1) 0-3 Fukui Shougyou (Fukui 3) - Fukushou's shutout of Saku Chousei leaves Ueda Nishi as the only team left - and they needed 2 games to advance out of the 1st round!
  • Niigata Meikun (Niigata 4) 4-3 Toyama Dai-ichi (Toyama 1) - Toyama is completely eliminated from the Super-Regional as the "4th place" Niigata Meikun holds off a last minute rally from Toyama Dai-ichi to advance.
Moving to the quartefinals, Tsuruga Kehi and Yuugakukan struggled to find any offense as the teams combined for 9 total hits.  But despite drawing more walks, Yuugakukan would lose 1-0 in 10 innings.

Probably more surprising is the fact that Harue Kogyou went and defeated Matsushou Gakuen 2-1 after the showing they had against Nihon Bunri.

Rounding out the first day of quarterfinal games, home-cooking probably helped Niigata Meikun put up a 6-spot in the 8th to reverse a 2-0 deficit and win 6-3.

The other shocker was that Ueda Nishi, playing it's 3rd game in 3 days went and defeated Seiryou 4-3.

So teams had the rest of the week off before games resumed this past Saturday.  Ueda Nishi got rest, but perhaps didn't want it.  Against Tsuruga Kehi, they fell behind in the bottom of the 8th 1-0.  Facing elimination, they found a run in the 9th to send it to enchousen (again).  This time though they couldn't find the winning run and lost 2-1 in 11 innings.

Meanwhile, the #4 seed for Niigata - Niigata Meikun was leading 3-1 over Harue Kougyou and was just about ready to punch their ticket.  But inexplicably things fell apart in the 8th inning and Harue put up 4 runs, turning a 2-run deficit into a 2-run advantage.  Niigata Meikun couldn't put together a rally that quickly and lost 5-3.

So the Hokushinetsu final is the rematch of the Fukui final!  In that first matchup, it was all Tsuruga Kehi as they blitzed Harue Kougyou 15-2.

But this time around things were much different.  Ace Tsubota limited them to just 5 hits while striking out just one.  And while they only managed just two more, they managed to turn that into one extra run, defeating Tsuruga Kehi for their first ever Hokushinetsu fall title.

Now if you haven't figured out what the problem is, it's this:

Will the selection committee give both of the bids from one Super-Regional to the same prefecture?

Harue Kougyou will definitely get one.  But what about Tsuruga Kehi?

If the committee has no problems with it, they will invite them to come.  But if they don't?  Who do they pick?

Ueda Nishi played one extra game and still defeated Seiryou and narrowly lost to Tsuruga Kehi.  Niigata Meikun actually led Harue Kougyou before giving up the lead late.

It's possible all teams are worthy for the spot, but Tsuruga Kehi must be kicking themselves right now because that final game was probably the most important one for them to win precisely because they were facing someone from their own prefecture.

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