Monday, December 16, 2013

Projected 86th Haru Koushien Field

Here is my projected field for the 86th Haru Koushien. The 21st century representatives are merely a guess given that the selection committee does not award based upon actual baseball merit.

Hokkaido (1)
  • Komadai Tomakomai
Tohoku (2)
  • Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei (Aomori)
  • Touryou (Miyagi)
There could theoretically be a case made for Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate), but after the questionable tactics used at Natsu Koushien, I do not expect the JHBF to pick them over the runner-up.

Kanto ex Tokyo (4 + floating bid shared w/Tokyo)
  • Hakuoudai Ashikaga (Tochigi)
  • Kiryuu Dai-ichi (Gunma
  • Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku (Yamanashi)
  • Sano Nichidai (Tochigi)
The semifinal losers probably will get in considering Yamanashi Gakuindai defeated Kendai Takasaki and Sano Nichidai defeated Yokohama. If any of the quarterfinal losers want to get in at this point, probably the only chance is for Tokyo to win the Meiji Jingu tournament pushing the floating bid back to Kanto or for Hakuoudai Ashikaga to win it themselves.

Tokyo (1+ floating bid shared w/Kanto ex Tokyo)
  • Kanto Dai-ichi
  • Nisshougakushadai Fuzoku
Nisshougakushadai Fuzoku took Kanto Dai-ichi to 10 innings and made them put in ace Abe into the game to stop the bleeding.  They're not a fluke and they will be going on as the floating bid.

Hokushinetsu (2)
  • Nihon Bunri (Niigata)
  • Toukai Dai-san (Nagano)
Toukai Dai-san had quality games against both Niigata Meikun and Nihon Bunri, resume of semifinal losers not strong enough to warrant skipping Toukai Dai-san.

Tokai (2)
  • Mie (Mie)
  • Toyokawa (Aichi)
This is all but a certainty now that Toyokawa was 6 outs away from defeating Mie for the title.

Kinki (6)
  • Ryuukokudai Heian (Kyoto)
  • Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama)
  • Riseisha (Osaka)
  • Houtoku Gakuen (Hyogo)
  • Chiben Gakuen (Nara)
  • Fukuchiyama Seibi (Kyoto)
  • Sanda Shousei (Hyogo)
Ryuukokudai Heian claims the title after defeating Chiben Wakayama 6-4. The top 4 should get an invite regardless of how the games played out.

Chiben Gakuen's spot is almost guaranteed now too considering they played Heian to a 1-0 loss. Fukuchiyama Seibi was the only other close quarterfinal game and they may just default into the last spot. Sanda Shousei would the the only team to challenge Fukuchiyama Seibi for the last spot, and that is because they played Riseisha fairly close despite the shutout, and Riseisha looked better in the semifinals. But that is a bit of a stretch.

Chuugoku (2 + floating bid w/Shikoku)
  • Iwakuni (Yamaguchi)
  • Hiroshima Shinjyou (Hiroshima)
Iwakuni claims just their 2nd super-regional title, and will take its place at Meiji Jingu and Koushien. Hiroshima Shinjyou put up a late rally and too should get a phone call.

The next team in line will be Takagawa Gakuen. However, their chance at being the floating bid has all but disappeared given that Kurashiki Shougyou was white-washed in the semifinals - thus highlighting the weak Okayama prefecture that they played against. Their only chance is if Imabari Nishi wins the Meiji Jingu tournament pushing the floating bid back to the Chuugoku region.

Shikoku (2 + floating bid w/Chuugoku)
  • Imabari Nishi (Ehime)
  • Ikeda (Tokushima)
  • Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi) 
Despite the score in the final, Ikeda's solid performance up until the 7th inning of the final, plus the JHBF's chance to invite one of the strongest teams of the 1980s back to Koushien is too good to pass up. Meitoku's loss to the eventual champions, plus ace Kishi may prove to be too compelling to the JHBF to not invite them as the floating bid - and while Takagawa Gakuen is their 1st alternate, their resume I do not think will compare to Meitoku to challenge for the bid.

Kyushu (4)
  • Okinawa Shougaku (Okinawa)
  • Misato Kougyou (Okinawa)
  • Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima)
  • Chinzei (Kumamoto)
Okinawa will have 2 teams represented at Haru Koushien this year. As Misato Kougyou almost pulled off the victory over Okinawa Shougaku. And Okishou 1-hit a strong Chinzei team. Kamimura Gakuen should get an invite, and now it is Chinzei's status that is a bit more shaky after the 1-hit shutout loss. I do not expect them to fall out, though if they do it might be to Souseikan - especially if Misato Kougyou wins the final.

Meiji Jingu (1) - Champion - Okinawa Shougaku (Okinawa)
Sadly for Chikyuu Kankyou, Nihon Bunri ace Iidzuka could only pitch 6 of the needed 9 innings.  Actually he pitched all 8, but collapsed in 7th and 8th giving up an 8-0 lead losing 9-8.

This means that the representative will be:
  • Souseikan (Nagasaki)
Chinzei can breathe a sigh of relief now as the extra bid means that even if they struggled, they are pretty much secured of a phone call come the new year.

21st Century Team (3)
  • Western Representative - Ooshima (Kagoshima)
  • Eastern Representative - Kakunodate (Akita)
  • Wild-Card Representative - Ise (Mie) or Kainan (Wakayama)

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