Saturday, September 28, 2013

Aki Taikai Recap-to-date - Kanto ex Tokyo

Things get a bit more wacky as we start heading south and west...

Regional play has been completed, and 29 teams moved on to prefectural play.  Jyousou Gakuin got a free pass and is probably expected to go deep into the tournament. Kasumigaura, who was just 6 outs away from winning their first title, is also present - but the question will be has their time passed them by? If they do get their revenge matchup it will be in the finals, but in the haru format does not guarantee them a spot in Koushien.

However, the other seeded teams are Meishuu Hitachi, Suijyou and Fujishiro - the latter 2 being familiar names.

Tochigi has no such regionals, all 61 teams are just thrown into a bracket and they beat each other up. So far, Sakushin Gakuin looks to be the front-runner with mercy-rule wins in their first two games and advancing into the quarterfinals.

Joining them are 5 other "seeded teams" including Sano Nichidai, Hakuoudai Ashikaga and Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku. Only the former has had mercy-rule wins throughout.

Sadly, when it comes to the one-time winners, it kind of follows that they are unable to follow it up.

Such was the case with Maebashi Ikuei, who couldn't get past their first game losing to Oota Kougyou 4-3...

As a result, the mainstays have been able to reassert themselves within the prefecture at least - sort of.

Kendai Takasaki has made the semifinals, in Kendai fashion, with not one, not two, but three 1-run ballgames. They will face Kitoku, who is definitely a solid C team, for an automatic bid into the Super-Regional.

On the other side, Kiryuu Dai-ichi is back once again and will face unknown Takasaki Shoudai Fuzoku.

The struggles for Urawa Gakuin continue... Ojima cannot get them past their 2nd game of the prefecturals, falling to Honjyou Dai-ichi 3-2.  They will face Yashio Minami for a spot in the semifiinals.

Elsewhere, familiar names Saitama Sakae and Hanasaki Tokuharu after eking out 4-3 sayonara wins will face each other... there's an all-Kawagoe matchup as Kawagoe Higashi and Shiritsu Kawagoe meetup...

...and can Kasukabe Kyouei finally get to Koushien please? Two shutout wins pit them now against Matsuyama for a spot in the semis.

Kisaradzu Sougou had the unfortunate draw to face Toukaidai Bouyou right off the bat in the prefecturals... and lost 2-1.  Oddly enough they then lost to unknown Abiko in the very next game 3-1!

There were even more early strong matchups as Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku defeated Toukaidai Urayasu 3-1.  Senshuudai Matsudo has been given no favors having to face Chiba Keiai and now Narita.

Narashino is still alive, but two close games so far do not instill confidence in the team's strength early despite having an easy road so far.

And don't forget about Kashiwa Nittai, they're always in the mix and may not have a challenge until a possible matchup with Chiba Reimei in the quarterfinals.

Toukou Gakuen look to make it back to the Super-Regionals having defeated Nichidai Fujisawa and Yokohama Sougakukan.  They should have no trouble against a Nichidai squad despite them giving up their first runs of the taikai in the last round in a 5-4 win over Busou.

The bigger matchup is Toukaidai Sagami (who has just beat the heads in on all opponents - including Touin Gakuen) all without giving up a run, versus a Yokohama squad who once again does not look all that impressive though they did have to face Yokohama Hayato and Keio Gijyuku.

We could be in line for a rematch of the natsu final as both Hikawa and Nihon Koukuu are on opposite sides of the bracket and are on a collision course. In their way immediately right now are Koufu Kougyou and Koufu Shougyou respectively.  After that, it could be fellow powerhouses Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku and Toukaidai Koufu. So while the rematch may happen, there's still some obstacles left to go.

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