Tuesday, February 4, 2014

32 teams in 32 days - Yokohama (Kanagawa)

For me this selection was made by the JHBF for all the wrong reasons. Yokohama had lost to a 2nd tier team in Sano Nichidai while Nisshougakushadai Fuzoku from the Tokyo Super-Regional had reached the final, defeated several quality teams and almost beat Kanto Dai-ichi who they had beated last summer (remember though that here in the fall the 3rd years are not eligible to play).

So I admittedly will be looking at their resume with a lot of scrutiny now.

Road to Senbatsu
Kanagawa Prefecturals
  • def. Yokohama Hayato 6-2
  • def. Shounan 5-2
  • def. Tachibana Gakuen (橘学苑) 3-2
  • def. Keio Gijyuku 6-5 (10 inn)
  • def. Toukaidai Sagami 4-0
  • def. Nichidai 4-2
  • def. Shiritsu Kawagoe 5-0
  • lost Sano Nichidai 5-3
This resume doesn't help the JHBF's case at all in my opinion and it just furthers my theory that they wanted ratings and selected them over a more deserving Nisshougakushadai Fuzoku.

Against Keio, who was vying for top-tier status in prefecture several years ago, but has fallen to 2nd tier status Yokohama gave them 3 runs in the 8th, then had to rally in the 9th and 10th to pull out the victory.  Now, they did 3-hit Toukaidai Sagami, but Sagami has also kind of fallen to 2nd tier status.  And in the final, the Cinderella Nichidai squad kept up with Yokohama though they lost 4-2.

The Super-regional games do not help either as they expectedly defeated Shiritsu Kawagoe before falling to Sano Nichidai (who would lose one round later).

The ace still remains Itou Masashi (伊藤 将司) who has average velocity on his fastball and has a two-seamer and change in addition to the standard.  During the fall tournament though he only struck out 7.2 per 9 while almost issuing 4 walks in that same interval.  This despite the fact that people look at his 14 K performance against Marugame back in the summer.  Looking at his 9 K performance against Nichidai it was obvious that in that game he got his Ks knowing that Nichidai couldn't hold up on the high strike.

Offensively, probably the 2 consistent performers are the 2-3 combo of 1B Watanabe Yoshiaki (渡辺  佳明) and CF Asama Daiki (浅間 大基).  Cleanup batter Takahama Yuuto (高濱 祐仁), younger brother of Takuya who plays for Chiba Lotte is trying to be part of the power trio but hasn't quite lived up to that just yet.

Can Yokohama win a game?  Certainly. Can they win another one after that? Mm.... not so sure.

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