It also means that Okinawa will receive 4 bids while all other schools get 2.
Okinawa Shougaku, the team that perhaps improved a bit in the summer, may have needed to start over after losing their seniors. It couldn't be all that bad though, when you beat Kounan 2-0 in your first game. And while not dominating offensively, they did not allow a run in their trip to the championship game:
- def. Yokatsu 7-0 (8 inn)
- def. Mawashi 2-0
- def. Ginowan 10-0 (5 inn)
That semifinal game paid dividends for Misato Kougyou as they played Okinawa Shougaku to a 0-0 tie in regulation, then scored 3 in the 10th to outlast them for their 2nd ever title (their only other one was 21 years ago!)!
That game followed a 3rd place game that went the full 15 before Yaeyama Shoukou beat Ginowan 1-0!
Shounan struggled to repeat their summer performance, winning some close games early before finally falling to Ooshima 8-7 in the quarterfinals.
The school filling the gap is a familiar one - Kamimura Gakuen. They were not without their own close calls, defeating Kagoshima Jitsugyou 5-4 in the quarterfinals, then barely getting by unknown Ibusuki Shougyou in the finals 3-2! The thing is... Ibusuki's only game of note was a 2-0 win over Shoushikan, otherwise they played no one special.
So what does that say about the prefecture? Or does that say something about Ibusuki Shougyou instead?
Ah, Nobeoka Gakuen we hardly knew ye. After that almost magical run in the summer, it was an unceremonious dismount as they fall in the 2nd round to Sadowara 7-5. Hopefully we see them sooner rather than later.
It seems to be the right timing for Nichinan Gakuen though. They were not challenged at all until the finals.
On the other side, it was not as clear. Nisshou Gakuen and Miyazaki Minami were dominating teams a good team should be dominating until their matchup in the semifinals. Miyazaki Minami's ace Sakai would limit Nisshou's offense to just 5 hits. However, he would give up 3 runs in all, which would be all they needed in a 3-2 win, sending the hopefuls home...
Nisshou Gakuen would finally give Nichinan Gakuen a tough time, but it would not be enough as they would be shutout 2-0 giving Nichinan their 6th title.
Oita Shougyou looked to show their appearance at Natsu Koushien wasn't just a fluky thing - and with a fair amount of regulars returning, it seemed possible.
There were a couple of scares - a 2nd round win over Beppu Shougyou 2-0 and then later a 2-1 win over Nakatsu Higashi in 10 in the semifinals, but they managed to claim a spot in the super-regionals.
However, they would not win the title. Just 1 year after they represented Oita at Natsu Koushien, Kitsuki marched through the field, yielding just 3 runs (all three against Meihou in the semifinals) and claiming their 2nd straight (and 2nd overall!) fall title!
Kumamoto is not yet finished, but are in the semifinal stage. Kumamoto Kougyou is not part of that group though, as they fell to Chinzei 6-5 in the 3rd round. In fact, Chinzei is still in the field and with one more win can advance to the super regionals. But to do so they will have to defeat new powerhouse Seiseikou in the semifinals.
On the other half, Kyushu Gakuin looks to be back up and running with quality wins against Hitsuyuukan and Buntoku. Taragi will have their hands full if they want to head to the super-regionals.
Sasebo Jitsugyou will not be repeating for Nagasaki. In fact, they look to be in a rebuilding state after falling early to Nagasaki Higashi 3-1.
Seihou seems to have fallen back more permanently towards the rest of the field. They could only muster the 3rd round before falling to Sasebo Kougyou 6-3.
Looks like the two candidates to become the Nagasaki representatives (they're in the quarterfinal stages) are two B level schools who have made more noise recently - Hasami (who defeated Yokohama several years back) and Souseikan (who finally got to Koushien this spring). The road for all other schools will have to go through one of these two teams.
Arita Kougyou's time in the sun has apparently passed as they lost in their first game to Ryuukoku 6-0. The runner up in the summer - Waseda Saga, took advantage of the opportunity to claim their first fall title (one of many probably as the school was established in 2010).
It'll be fresh faces for Saga's representatives as Kashima defeated Saga Kita and Ryuukoku to reach the finals before narrowly losing 6-5 to the aforementioned Waseda Saga. While this is Kashima's 8th trip to the super-regionals, it is their first in 91 years!
Jiyuugaoka will have to go back to the drawing board, though they did manage to reach their block final before losing to Yahata 9-5.
The usual suspects have emerged out of block play - Higashi-Fukuoka, Nishi-Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku, Kurume Shougyou, Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku, Chikuyou Gakuen and Kokura.
In fact, only Yahata and Orio Aishin (who became a co-ed school 11 years ago) were the only newcomers to come out of block play. Sadly for both schools, they couldn't get past the blockade of powerhouse teams as they both fell in the quarterfinal round.
And so Nishi-Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku and Kurume Shougyou will play each other in one semifinal, and Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku and Kokura will play in the other for the right to advance to the super-regionals.