Wednesday, February 26, 2014

32 teams in 32 days - Koyamadai (Tokyo)

Koyamadai earned the respect of the JHBF due to (a) the fact they reached the Best 8 despite not having an actual baseball ground at their school and thus can only practice an hour a day (though I do wonder how many schools in Tokyo could say that too), and (b) they have quite a few alumnus that have gone on to bigger and better things.  There is also mention of a player back in 2006 by the name of Ichikawa Hirosuke (市川 大輔) who was the starting 2B when he died in an elevator accident.  Since then, kantoku Fukushima Masanobu (福嶋 正信) has managed the team with the belief that he's still there helping the team.

Road to Senbatsu
Block 24 Regionals
  • def. Shiritsu (私立) Musashi 4-3
  • def. Toritsu Tachikawa/Toritsu Nougyou 10-3 (7 inn)
  • def. Jyunten 4-1
Tokyo Super-Regionals
  • def. Horikoshi 3-2
  • def. Waseda Jitsugyou 9-5
  • def. Nichidai Buzan 3-0
  • lost Toukaidai Takanawadai 5-3
Really, the signature win as it were was the 9-5 win over Waseda Jitsugyou.  Other than that, there is very little to write home about since they barely edged a 3rd tier team in Horikoshi in the first round of the super-regionals and lost to Toukaidai Takanawadai in the quarterfinals.

Despite this, most of the reason why Koyamadai is here is because of their ace Itou Yuusuke (伊藤 優輔).  He's actually garnered attention by some of the more notable followers of 高校野球.  He only throws in the mid 130s but apparently has a splitter and changeup to go with the standard slider and curve.

Now, the peripherals for Itou need to be taken with some modicum of restraint.  He does carry the highest K/9 ratio overall though during the super-regionals it was brought down to under 8 per 9.  But Itou appears to be it for Koyamadai.  If he can't finish the run, then they won't finish it either.  To be sure, I won't discount Itou's performance - for a school who has never been to Koushien at all, to finish the game against Soujitsu is impressive.  Remember what I said before about the lower tiered school finishing games.

Offensively, perhaps one can look to Yoshida Ryouhei (吉田 龍平) and Nishiwaki Kouichi (西脇 康一), though they inhabit the lower part of the lineup.

I wouldn't necessarily discount Koyamadai as just a team that's happy to be there, but it's hard to really handicap them.  Toukaidai Takanawadai's shutout loss to Kanto Dai-ichi though may not portend good things, but we won't know until they hit the field.

Just 2 more to go and we hit the 21st century western representative Ooshima.

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