Jyousou Gakuin, who represented Ibaraki in the summer, continued their success here in the fall, but it was slow going in the prefecturals. First, they let a 4-0 lead against Kagaku Gijyutsu Hitachi slip away, winning it 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th. Then, against Shimodate Dai-ichi they actually trailed 4-2 before scoring 2 in the bottom of the 9th again and one more in the 10th to advance again 5-4. And in the semis, they could only muster 1 run against Mito Kougyou, but it was enough to reach the finals.
Opposing them would be Kasumigaura - a C level team who has been on the verge of breaking that barrier. They had a bit of an easier time, but still edged out Katsuta Kougyou in the 2nd round 5-4 and Tsuchiura Kohoku 3-1 in the semifinals.
And so we had a rematch of the summer final for the fall final. And in almost a repeat of the final, Kasumigaura could not hold a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the 9th and allowed Jyousou to level the score. But unlike the final, Kasumigaura held on as each inning passed, eventually playing to an exhaustive 15-inning draw with the score still level at 3.
And so the teams came back one day later, and much like enchousen neither team could score. Jyousou Gakuin broke the deadlock in the 6th with a run, but this time it was Kasumigaura who rallied with 2 in the lucky 7 and this time held on for the 2-1 win!
With Ibaraki hosting, the 3rd place game matters as they get an extra bid. Mito Kougyou would tally the only run in the top of the 9th to advance past Tsuchiura Kohoku into the Super-Regionals.
Sakushin Gakuin, perhaps the favorite wound up having their bid ground to a halt as they couldn't rally late down 3-0, falling 3-2 to Hakuoudai Ashikaga 3-2! It wouldn't be the only upset as their opponent wouldn't be Bunseigeidai Fuzoku, but instead Kokugakuin Tochigi! They led wire-to-wire 7-3 to reach the semifinals! On the other side, Sano Nichidai kept on rolling, shutting out fellow seed Utsunomiya Minami 5-0, setting up a matchup with Seiran Taito who scored 8 runs in the final 3 innings to upset Mooka 8-3.
It would be heartbreak from the non-powerhouses - especially Kokugakuin Tochigi. Leading Hakuoudai Ashikaga 3-0 with just 3 outs to go, they gave up the lead - and then the game 1 inning later...
As for Seiran Taito, after responding to Sano's 2 runs in the 4th with 3 of their own in the top of the 5th, Sano Nichidai would score in the next 4 innings putting Seiran's dreams on ice.
Sano Nichidai would limit their runs given up in the fall taikai to just those 3 runs in the semifinals as they blanked Hakuoudai Ashikaga 5-0 to claim the 2nd straight title and 5th overall. Surprisingly, this is just Hakuoudai's 2nd trip to the Super-Regionals.
Once again, it's a case of the lower-level schools unable to close out games against the powerhouse schools.
Takasaki Shoudai Fuzoku could not get the final 3 outs, giving up 3 runs to fall 3-2 to Kiryuu Dai-ichi in the first semifinal. In the second semi, Kitoku couldn't make a 4-2 lead stick in the 9th as Kendai Takasaki tied the game and sent it to enchousen. But due to Kendai's style, Kitoku was allowed several chances to try and get back the lead. Eventually though, Kendai would push in the sayonara run in the 13th inning to advance to the finals.
In the final, Kendai Takasaki would hold off Kiryuu Dai-ichi in the top of the 9th, winning 3-2 to claim the prefectural title.
AUGH!! Kasukabe Kyouei falls short yet again!! After a struggling 3-2 win over Matsuyama, they fell in the semifinals to Shiritsu Kawagoe 1-0...
Hanasaki Tokuharu had no problems with Saitama Sakae and then Honjyou Dai-ichi (who earlier upset Urawa Gakuin) to reach the finals. And then in the final, they pitched their 2nd straight shutout, blanking Shiritsu Kawagoe 4-0 to claim their 2nd straight title and 4th overall.
Well, after Narashino's apparent slow start they got 2 pass-through games over Kashiwa Minami and Kemigawa to reach the semifinals. Their opponent probably should have been Senshuudai Matsudo, but after outlasting Narita 4-3 they had nothing left for Shiritsu Funabashi getting shutout 2-0. Shiritsu Funabashi would give Narashino a good fight in the semifinal but too would fall 3-1 guaranteeing Narashino a spot in the Super-Regional.
On the other half, Kashiwa Nittai did move on to the quarterfinals with a mercy-rule win over Shiritsu Kashiwa, but then couldn't keep up with Chiba Reimei losing 4-3.
Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku after the tough start, had two easy games much like Narashino to reach the semifinals. Chiba Reimei gave them all they could handle but much like Shiritsu Funabashi they too lost 3-1.
In the final, Narashino jumped out to a 5-0 lead early over Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku only to see it evaporate in the 5th as 10 batters would come up to the plate. The game would head to enchousen where Narashino would score a run in the 11th to claim their 2nd straight title and 8th overall.
Well, there goes Toukou Gakuen. What I thought would be an easy matchup against Nichidai turned out to be anything but. Nichidai puts up 5 runs in the 3rd and holds off Toukou Gakuen 7-5.
In the other semifinal, Yokohama blanked Toukaidai Sagami 4-0 to reach the finals to secure their spot in the Super-Regionals.
Nichidai would not be able to pull off another upset as a late game rally couldn't erase a 4-0 deficit as Yokohama claimed the title with a 4-2 win.
Well, it would be the usual suspects in the semifinals. Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku would face Hikawa in the first semi while Toukaidai Koufu and Nihon Koukuu would meet in the other semi.
Remember when I said that I was expecting Hikawa and Nihon Koukuu to clash? Well, I wasn't expecting it to be in the consolation game... Hikawa actually got mercy-ruled by Yamanashi Gakuin 9-2 in 8 innings, and then Nihon Koukouu was never in it losing to Toukaidai Koufu 7-1 eliminating both teams from the super-regionals. That game doesn't matter, but Nihon Koukuu won it 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th 5-4.
As for the finals, it belonged to Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku as Toukaidai Koufu was never in it, losing 8-2. For Yamanashi Gakuindai it is their 5th title and first in 6 years.
The super-regionals will commence on the 26th and the opening game is a doozy. Narashino and Jyousou Gakuin will clash in one heck of a battle. The brackets are as follows:
- Narashino (Chiba 1) vs. Jyousou Gakuin (Ibaraki 2)
- Hanasaki Tokuharu (Saitama 1) vs. Hakuoudai Ashikaga (Tochigi 2)
- Kendai Takasaki (Gunma 1) vs. Mito Kougyou (Ibaraki 3)
- Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku (Yamanashi 1) vs. Nichidai (Kanagawa 2)
- Sano Nichidai (Tochigi 1) vs. Toukaidai Koufu (Yamanashi 2)
- Yokohama (Kanagawa 1) vs. Shiritsu Kawagoe (Saitama 2)
- Kiryuu Dai-ichi (Gunma 2) vs. Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku (Chiba 2)
- Kasumigaura (Ibaraki 1) - Bye