Monday, February 24, 2014

32 teams in 32 days - Chinzei (Kumamoto)

I had seen Chinzei repeatedly bump their heads against the top tier teams of the prefecture for a while, and wondered if they'd finally break through.  And while I find out that they've been to Koushien before (scary part being that in both of their Natsu Koushien appearances, they reached the semifinals!), it's been a long time since they've played on the hallowed grounds.  But here they are, and is there a similar run in them?

Road to Senbatsu
Kagoshima Prefecturals
  • def. Tamana Kougyou 7-5
  • def. Kumamoto Kokufu 4-2 (12 inn)
  • def. Kumamoto Kougyou 6-5
  • def. Kaishin 6x-5 (11 inn)
  • def. Seiseikou 5-1
  • lost Taragi 4-3
Kyushu Super-Regionals
  • def. Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku 3x-2 (14 inn)
  • def. Waseda Saga 6-2
  • lost Okinawa Shougaku 4-1
Well, looks like they had quite the trip - and was the reason why there was a slim possibility that they were at-risk of being passed up for Souseikan even though they went one round further.

Kantoku Koujyou Kankyou (江上 寛恭) managed his team through quite a few close calls.  Even the Waseda Saga game was in question until the lucky 7 where they scored 4 runs to put the game away.  So only their win over Seiseikou was a breather.  They had to work for every other game.
  • Against Tamana Kougyou, their opponents scored 3 in the 8th to pull within 1 at 6-5.
  • They gave up the tying run in the 8th against Kumamoto Kokufu to force enchousen.
  • They actually had a 4 run lead over Kumamoto Kougyou until the 6th where they gave it all back before retaking the lead for good in the bottom half of the inning.
  • Then they had to come back from 4 runs down versus Kaishin, scoring a pair in the 8th to force enchousen.
  • They almost came back from 4 runs down against Taragi.
  • They let a 1-0 lead slip in the top of the 9th, then had to tie the game in the 11th.
  • And as mentioned before, they needed a 4-run inning to win the game.
Koujyou went with some sort of combination of 3 pitchers for his run.  They were:
  1. Ace sidearmer Suzaki Takurou (須崎 琢朗) who throws a slider and 2-seamer.
  2. 1B Yamashita Tokurou? (山下 篤郎)
  3. RP #11 Yamamoto Noboru? (山元 望)
While I do not have any innings data for the prefecturals, Suzaki was relied upon for the most part. He pitched in almost all of the Kyukoku and Okishou games, while being called in for the final 3 innings of the Waseda Saga match.

Here's the problem - and I have no idea how they were able to accomplish this if these stats really are true...

Suzaki's walk rate is HIGHER than his strikeout rate.

Yes, you read that right.  According to the data, he walked 3.86 batters per 9.  He struckout 3.41 batters per 9.  That's a K/BB ratio of 0.883!!  He also carries the highest H/9 at a little over 8 hits per 9.

This certainly can't be a formula for success, but somehow they've made it work. I would like to see this in action - perhaps somehow they've managed to copy what we saw in Obihiro Ootani in Koushien starter Satou.

Offensively, LF Matsushita Hiroshi? (松下 滉) had a fair amount of success in the super-regionals, possibly by CF Fukuyama Shinji (福山 晋).  But the team as a whole batted an unimpressive 0.238, and yet still averaged around 4.5 runs per game.

This team makes me scratch my head.  It doesn't look like this team should be successful, but they made it to the super-regional semifinal. They shouldn't get past the first game, but I'd really like to see them in action because I'm really, really curious.

We're heading around the home turn and we're approaching the Meiji Jingu bid Souseikan!

No comments: