19 of 47 tournaments are now underway, and 2 of them are in the round of 16(ish).
Not too many upsets to speak of in regional play, and we're down to our final 16. Asahikawa Kougyou is still alive for a 2nd straight appearance, but struggled against Asahikawa Shougyou in the regional block final. In fact none of the teams that advanced look like they could run away with it all, and the teams that had blowouts in their final are from areas not known for strong teams.
This could open it for teams like Engaru, Kitami Hokuto, and Asahikawa Ryuukoku this year. But as far as I'm concerned it's all up in the air.
We had some theatrics before reaching the final 15. While it may not matter in the long-run, for Otaru Ouyou to rally from down 10-3 with just 9 outs left to win 13-12 over Otaru Kougyou in their 1st game is rather amazing. Unfortunately, while they tried to pull it off again against Otaru Suisan and went from 4-0 to tied at 4, ace Tanabe couldn't keep it tied as they lost 5-4.
In the Sapporo regionals, Sapporo Dai-ichi led Shoushi Gakuen 3-0 going into the top of the 9th, but as they say, the final 3 outs are the hardest to get. And despite Sapporo Dai-ichi being the more experienced team, they fell victim to the saying and 5 runs later, were eliminated.
For Sapporo Ryuukoku, who earlier pulled off a huge upset in Hokkai, they couldn't parlay that into a 2nd stage appearance, giving up 4 runs in the first to Sapporo Okadama losing 5-3.
The draw is out here for the 2nd stage as well, and Hakodate Chuubu gets the benefit of a 1st round bye. It won't be much benefit though as they will have to play either Hakodatedai Yuuto or the aforementioned Sapporo Okadama. Komadai Tomakomai gets a rather easy draw as they are on the opposite side of both Hokushou and Sapporo Nichidai (who could face each other in the quarterfinals).
I do like Hakodatedai Yuuto in this scenario.
3 days in and quite a few seeded teams are underway. Maebashi Ikuei and Kendai Takasaki both cruised as well as 5-8 seed Maebashi Kougyou. Kiryuu Shiritsu Shougyou survived in walk-off fashion against Takasaki Shoudai Fuzoku and looks to be in a lot of trouble.
So does 3-4 seed Numata as today they needed a 4-run 7th to defeat Isesaki Kougyou 6-4.
Ibaraki with mostly blowouts, though we had a couple of walk-offs on the first full day of action. Tokiwadai couldn't hold a 1-run lead in the 9th, but won the very next inning over Toride Shouyou. Tsuchiura Dai-san did the same to Iwase Nichidai in the 10th inning as well.
Highlights of today's action had Nakaminato Dai-ichi scoring 5 unanswered runs in the late innings to defeat Ryuugasaki Minami 6-5, at Hitachi Ibaraki Christian scoring 2 in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Hitachi Shougyou 5-4,and at Kasama Shimodate Kougyou outlasting Tskuba Kouka 2-1 in 11.
We won't see the seeded teams until the 12th.
Nishi Tokyo/Higashi Tokyo
Nishi Tokyo is rather quiet on their first day with little of note to speak of. In Higashi Tokyo it was mostly the same, with a couple of exceptions. Meguro Gakuin rallied from down 3-0 to tie it in the bottom of the 9th against Shinjuku and would eventually win in 12. And over at Oota Stadium, Risshoudai Risshou scored 4 in the 9th to defeat Katsushika Shougyou 9-6.
Kanagawa had their opening game at Baystars Stadium and Keiou Fujisawa had no problem with Kaiyou Kagaku 8-0 in a 7 inning game.
It was a slow start to the Gifu tournament as games at Nagarakawa were called off due to rain. This after they tried to get Chuukyou-Gifu in but was rained out with Chuukyou leading 2-0 after their part of the 3rd inning.
The only game of the opening day was played over in Oogaki as Oogaki Shougyou scored 7 unanswered runs to defeat Nourin 11-6.
Those rained out games were played the next day, pushing the scheduled games back a week. Chuukyou still managed to win their game while Gizan blew out Kani Kougyou.
Those who stayed at Mizuho Kouen for the opening game were treated to a low-scoring affair as Tougou eked by with a 1-0 win over the prefecture's namesake.
Aichi's first full day went without hitch with again mostly blowouts. Inuyama Minami scored 4 runs in the final 3 innings to wipe out a 4-1 deficit to defeat Asahino 5-4.
At Kariya Stadium, Toyoda Kougyou pulled out to a 5-2 lead with 6 outs to go before Komaki Kougyou scrambled to level it at 5 in the bottom of the 9th. However, they couldn't capitalize and would wind up losing in 13. And in the game after that Iwadzu scored 2 in the 8th to tie it at 2 all over Kasugai Kougyou, but ace Shibata couldn't hold it, giving up the winning run in the bottom of the inning.
And over in Toyohashi, some home cooking was needed as Toyohashi Minami scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the 9th to defeat Kozakai.