Thursday, February 20, 2014

32 teams in 32 days - Ikeda (Kochi)

It has been a while Ikeda.  From a school that teams feared in the 80s and early 90s they went into anonymity.  In recent years, they have made attempts to return to Koushien, and have gotten very close.  This past fall though they finally broke through to receive an invitation from the JHBF.  Welcome back to Koushien Ikeda, the kokoyakyu world has missed you...

Road to Senbatsu
Tokushima Prefecturals
  • def. Jyousei 7-0 (7 inn)
  • def. Naruto 10-5 (12 inn)
  • lost Seikou Gakuen 3-2
  • def. Kaifu 6-0
Shikoku Super-Regionals
Now, remembering what I have been saying regarding Ikeda and working slowly to break through.  In some ways it is represented here in their record.  The win against Naruto does count for something, but note that it was a 5-5 tie going into enchousen.  And with kantoku Okada Yasushi (岡田 康志) sending out reliever Watanabe Kouji (渡邉 剛志) first again, Seikou Gakuen would jump out to a 3-0 lead that they couldn't recover from.

Facing elimination, ace Nanishi Hiroto (名西 宥人) would take the hill, and proceeded to throw a no-hitter against Kaifu to send his team to the super-regionals.  Certainly just a win was needed, but perhaps he just wanted to make sure they advanced.

With only a championship guaranteeing a slot at senbatsu, Nanishi would be sent out.  He started out with a 2 R, 9 K effort against Kochi Higashi Kougyou, then had to hold Saijyou at bay while his own offense struggled scattering 10 hits over 11 innings, and then revenged the matchup against Seikou Gakuen going from start to finish, giving up 3 runs but striking out 8.  And then in the finals, Nanishi went 6 solid innings giving up just 1 run.  But when Watanabe entered the game, Imabari would go on the offensive scoring 5 runs on just 1 out.  Hosoda would come in and give up 4 more as Imabari pulled away for the title.  Nonetheless, Ikeda had done more than enough to receive an invitation for the spring.

For Nanishi, he throws in the mid 130s with a slider and sinker (which might explain some of the K results he got).  I don't have individual videos of him though, which is strange.  Given the results of the other pitchers for Ikeda though, I think Nanishi will be it.  If he falters, Ikeda is pretty much done.

Offensively, probably the most consistent player is cleanup batter 3B Okamoto Shouya (岡本 昌也).  Other than him you can perhaps look at OF Kita Masashi (喜多 正史).  But it's pretty much station-to-station.

I am not sure why Nanishi was relieved in the title game, but I would assume that he will be going for as long as his arm will let him come March.  There is not a large sample size for him and how he will do against tougher competition, but if he can handle a potential title contender, then they might be able to make a decent run.

Next up, can ace Kishi carry the burden now for Meitoku Gijyuku?

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