Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Aki Taikai Recap-to-date - Tohoku Super-Regionals

We are in the final stages of the Tohoku Super-Regionals and for one school, they are fighting to break a triumvirate of powerhouse teams to take the title.  More importantly though is to win the next game and perhaps secure a spot in the haru koushien.

First of all, the results of the prefecturals.

Aomori wound up being very competitive... as long as you were one of the upper-level teams in the prefecture.  Aomori Yamada, Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei (fka as Kousei Gakuin) and (Hirosaki Gakuin) Seiai all advanced through the field without much resistance.  Unfortunately for Seiai, they had to face Aomori Yamada in the semifinals and lost soundly 9-3.  That put them in the consolation game where they just outlasted Aomori 6-4 to claim the final spot in the Super-Regionals.  Aomori Yamada couldn't be stopped as they beat Kousei 8-3 to claim the title.

Iwate predominantly belonged to the powerhouses... sort of.

Hanamaki Higashi, embroiled in some controversy at Natsu Koushien, seemed to have little ill effect come the fall.  They started off a bit slow early on with a 7-5 win over Takada in the first round, then followed that up with a 5-3 win over Morioka Dai-san.  After that though they gained momentum, defeating Morioka Dai-yon and Ichinoseki Gakuin (again) without difficulty.

The stage would have been set for familiar foes to match up as Moriokadai Fuzoku were on the other half of the bracket.  But in the semifinals, Kuji Kougyou gave them a surprising challenge.  The game would in fact go into extras tied at 1 until Kuji Kougyou would actually prevail in the 13th inning 2-1!!

That meant that just to get to the super-regionals, Ichinoseki Gakuin would have to defeat Moriokadai Fuzoku.  And in 10 innings... they lost 1-0.  Yet another disappointing run for the school.

In the finals, Kuji Kougyou once again proved to be a stubborn opponent to Hanamaki Higashi.  However, Hanamaki Higashi would win 2-0 to claim yet another fall title.

Well, I wanted Kakunodate to reach the super-regionals, I had no idea they'd decide to go all the way!  The semifinals were both mercy-rule games with Kakunodate winning 8-1 over Oomagari in 7 innings, and Oomagari Kougyou defeating Akita Chuo in the exact same manner.

And in the final, Kakunodate would defeat Oomagari Kougyou 7-5 to claim the fall title!!

Sadly for Oomagari, they couldn't join their sister school in the super-regionals as they were narrowly defeated by Akita Chuo 4-3.

Well, there's a shocker for you!  Yamamoto Gakuen, who defeated Sakata Minami 3-2 in the semifinals, went on versus Nichidai Yamagata in the finals with 4 in the 9th to seemingly put the game away at 5-2!  And when Nichidai rallied back to send it into enchousen, they would not give in scoring one more in the 10th and hold off this time around to win their first title!

Sakata Minami would move on to the super-regionals as expected with a mercy-rule win over Sakata Kouryou 8-1 in 7 innings.

Tohoku Super-Regionals
And now to the super-regionals...

How was this for a quadrant?
  • Aomori Yamada (Aomori 1) vs. Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima 3)-Moriokadai Fuzoku (Morioka 3) winner
  • Seiai (Aomori 3) vs. Yamamoto Gakuen (Yamamoto 1)
Seikou Gakuin put up a fight against Moriokadai Fuzoku, but was walked off in the bottom of the 9th 2-1.  They in turn gave up a 1-1 tie in the 9th to Aomori Yamada, and lost 3-2.

Seiai would get a rematch with Aomori Yamada after easily disposing of Yamamoto Gakuen 8-2.  The saying goes that it's hard to defeat a team twice in the same season, and Seiai got a 6-2 lead over Aomori Yamada.  However, it's also said that for a lower-level team, the hardest thing to do is to close out a game against a powerhouse school.  And in the final 3 innings, Aomori Yamada rallied to tie the game at 7.  Two innings later, Seiai would fall 8-7 in the bottom of the 11th.

Their opponent would be a complete surprise.  With no powerhouse teams in the other quadrant, there were some opportunities for unknown teams to perhaps put themselves in contention for a bid.

Kakunodate (Akita 1), who made a great run to the title, immediately ran into difficulty in their first game against Sukugawa (Fukushima 2) winning 3-1 in 10 innings.  Meanwhile Kuji Kougyou (Iwate 2) who defeated Moriokadai Fuzoku and limited Hanamaki Higashi had a disappointing showing against Touryou (Miyagi 2) and a 5-run 4th was the difference in a 9-4 loss.

And then in a bizarre quarterfinal game, what was a 4-2 game after 6 went completely bonkers as the teams combined for 16 runs in the final 3 innings of regulation sending the game tied at 11 into enchousen.  Touryou would regain the advantage in the 10th and win 13-11 and will now face Aomori Yamada.

On the other half, new fall champ Nichidai Tohoku (Fukushima 1) gave Koushien regular Sakata Minami (Yamagata 3) a good run, but gave up the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th to fall 2-1.  But the big matchup of this quadrant was Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi 1) facing Kousei (Aomori 2).  It wound up being another wild game as Kousei led 4-1, then gave up 6 to Sendai in the 3rd.  They would then score 6 unanswered runs to come back to win 10-7.  I think for Sendai Ikuei's sake, they need to have some mundane games or else they'll have a heart attack.  With that game out of the way, Kousei would need just 8 innings to defeat Sakata Minami 9-2.

Sakata Minami will play Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate 1) in the other semifinal, but it wasn't easy.  First, Oomagari Kougyou (Akita 2) sent them into enchousen tied at 2 before they could put up a 4 spot in the 10th to win.  Then after the battle of 3 seeds which Shibata (Miyagi 3) bid sayonara to Akita Chuo (Akita 3) 7-6, Nichidai Yamagata (Yamagata 2) would do the same to Shibata 2-1 to face Hanamaki Higashi.

And wouldn't you know it, but Hanamaki Higashi then turned the tables one more time, coming back from down 3-0 to say sayonara to Nichidai Yamagata 4-3!

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