Thursday, February 6, 2014

32 teams in 32 days - Nihon Bunri (Niigata)

I've been hoping that Nihon Bunri somehow gets back to that magical year when they almost came back to defeat Chuukyoudai Chuukyou for the Natsu Koushien title.  However, they have for the most part retreated back into a Niigata powerhouse, but a passed over regular at Koushien.

Road to Senbatsu
North Niigata Regionals
  • def. Kamo Gyousei 10-0 (5 inn)
  • def. Niigata Seiryou 13-0 (5 inn)
Niigata Prefecturals
  • def. Sekine Gakuen 8-1 (7 inn)
  • def. Hokuetsu 2-1
  • def. Sanjyou 3-1
  • def. Niigata Meikun 4-3
Hokushinetsu Super-Regionals
Meiji Jingu Tournament
Interestingly, Nihon Bunri had one of the longer roads to senbatsu, even if perhaps the road isn't as difficult as in other areas.  And yet they almost earned the Hokushinetsu region another bid if not for a comprehensive collapse giving up an 8 run lead against Okishou. Digests of their games can be found following the links.

Ace Iidzuka Satoshi (飯塚 悟史) somehow got known for his bat when in the Meiji Jingu tournament he went 3-8 with not 1, not 2, but 3 HR's!!  This after batting a paltry 0.143 in the Super-Regionals.  But his pitching got some notice when he had a short stint last summer against Osaka Touin and gave up a hit, walked and struck out 1 in 2 innings of work.  He generally throws in the upper 130s, touching 140 with a forkball to go with the standard arsenal.  However, in his final 3 games of work he gave up 5 runs in each outing.

Kodachi Otowa (小太刀 緒飛), who started the game against Osaka Touin was given the ball early in their run, but wasn't really trusted later on by kantoku Ooi Michio (大井 道夫).  Instead against Imabari Nishi, Ooi went with Fujita Yuuhei (藤田 優平), a lefty who doesn't dominate, but in his start against Imabari Nishi pitched efficiently throwing just 86 pitches in his 7 innings of work, striking out 2, walking 2 and giving up 3 runs on 8 hits.

Kodachi appears to be more comfortable at the plate, though in terms of consistently you may want to look at OF Hoshi Kenta (星 兼太), 3B Ikeda Takamasa (池田 貴将) and C Kamakura Kou (鎌倉 航).  These three by far were Nihon Bunri's better hitters, and each hit a HR against Okinawa Shougaku, though in that game, who didn't?

There certainly is a lot to possibly be optimistic about, especially with the Meiji Jingu performance.  But you have to remember it is still the Hokushinetsu region and success doesn't come as often.

Next up, the breakthrough of Toukai Dai-san from Nagano!

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