Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Where we stand (Part 1)

So, because I can't work on the brackets at work, it really makes it difficult to get them prepared.  These are all done manually and it took a lot of my free time back then.

Anyways, almost all prefectures are underway, and some are in the final stages:

Okinawa - Best 4
  • Semifinal 1 - Okinawa Shougaku v. Ginoza
  • Semifinal 2 - Itoman v. Urasoe Shougyou
Well, this pretty much went to standard.  Okinawa Shougaku, outside of their first game versus a game Okinawa Suisan have run roughshod over Naha Kokusai and Kadena.  Ginoza makes it surviving 3 games - first using an 8-run 7th to defeat Urasoe Kougyou, then rallying from down 4-2 with 3 in the 5th and holding on to defeat Tomigusuku, and then a complete track meet versus Yomitan where after they managed to lead 4-3 through 1, 16 runs are scored in the final 5 innings with them bending with 2 final runs in the 9th but not breaking for the 12-11 win.  God speed Ginoza.

Itoman hasn't been challenged so far (defeating Nishihara and Tomishiro Minami), and their only quality game being their last one wherein they finally gave up their first runs in the tournament - but still defeated Chinen 6-2.  Urasoe Shougyou has not impressed, but has managed to advance with close wins over Okinawa Kougyou and Mawashi before sending seeded Misato Kougyou home in the quarters in a 3-2 sayonara win in the 15th (I understand the draw rule, but it really, really sucks for the away team).

Kita Hokkaido - Main prefecturals
  • Bushuukan (Kushine A) v. Fukagawa Nishi (Sorachi B)
  • Teshio (Nayoro B) v. Rumoi (Asahikawa B)
  • Engaru (Kitami A) v. Shirakaba Gakuen (Tokachi A)
  • Asahikawadai (Asahikawa A) v. Kouryou (Tokachi B) - no not that Kouryou
  • Kushiro Hokuyou (Kushine B) v. Kushiro Kougyou (Kushine C)
  • Shibetsu Shouun (Nayoro A) v. Iwamisawa Higashi (Sorachi A)
  • Kitami Hokuto (Kitami B) v. Obihiro Ryouyou (Tokachi C)
  • Asahikawa Meisei (Asahikawa C) v. Abashiri Keiyou (Kitami C)
Wow, there are a LOT of new names that have advanced to the round of 16.  From the kanji I could only recognize 10 and of those 5 just because I recognize the kanji, not because they're a strong team.

Because of this it's probable that the eventual winner will come from the 3rd and 4th matchups.

I know Engaru got a shot at Koushien a while back, but I thought it was one year too late.  Well, they're at least back again having won 2 of their 3 games by double digits.  Sadly, they draw Shirakaba Gakuen who won their block games with ease (though against no-names as well).

Chances are they'll play Asahikawadai, though they eked by with 3-0 and 2-1 victories.

Bushuukan might have a chance, they had an easy time in their block, but that is certainly no guarantee that they'll succeed in the prefecturals.

Outside of those schools I think the only others I remember from prior years are Kitami Hokuto and Teshio.  Kitami Hokuto won their games 15-0, 14-0 while Teshio won 14-0 and 16-6.

I would say it's wide open, but with some strong teams still there (though one will be guaranteed to leave after the first round, it'll really be theirs to lose it seems like.  I just hope for the other school's sake they don't get cold feet should they get the lead against one of the "powerhouses".

Minami Hokkaido - Main prefecturals
  • Sapporo Sousei (Sapporo G) - Bye
  • Sapporo Hokuryou (Sapporo A) v. Urakawa (Muroran A)
  • Komadai Kougyou (Muroran B) v. Eniwa Minami (Sapporo C)
  • Shiriuchi (Hakodate B) v. Otaru Chouryou (Otaru A)
  • Sapporo Dai-ichi (Sapporo E) v. (Hakodate) LaSalle (Hakodate C)
  • Hakodatedai Yuuto (Hakodate A) v. Toukai Dai-yon (Sapporo F)
  • Sapporo Nichidai (Sapporo D) v. Otaru Suisan (Otaru B)
  • Komadai Tomakomai (Muroran C) v. Sapporo Okadama (Sapporo B)

We don't have a group of death, we have one complete side is composed of former Koushien teams and schools that are strong that seem to hit a ceiling against said powerhouses.  I really feel bad for LaSalle and Toukai Dai-yon especially because they'll have to play 2 or 3 such games just to get to the final.  For Otaru Suisan and Sapporo Okadama, all they can do is throw their hands up in the air and do their best.

Meanwhile on the other side, the schools there have a golden opportunity to breeze through to the finals where they will get one shot at the title.

Missing from these teams are Hokkai and Hokushou.  Hokushou was unceremoniusly mercy-ruled by Otaur Chouyou 9-2 in the Otaru A final.  Hokkai fared even worse, losing in their very first game 3-2 to Sapporo Minami giving up 3 runs in the final 2 innings.

Yamanashi - Best 8
It's not hard for Yamanashi to get to the best 8 when there are only 37 teams participating.  Sadly, such is the case with many rural areas.
  • Koufu Kougyou v. Hikawa
  • Nichidai Meisei v. Toukaidai Koufu
  • Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku v. Toukai Dai-san
  • Koufu Shougyou v. Nihon Koukuu

All 8 seeded teams had at least won their first game, but by their second game we saw some casualties.  Nichidai Meisei has had to come from the deeper part of the bracket and barely won their 2nd game against A seed Ichikawa, blowing 2 2-run leads before winning 6-5 in 10.  Fuefuki, surprisingly earning an A seed, couldn't get past Koufu Shougyou falling 2-1.  Finally, B seed Tsuru seemed to be doing okay versus Toukai Dai-san, but in the 7th gave up 8 runs and the game losing right then and there 10-3.

My school, Nihon Koukuu is going strong, but we'll need to see how they do now versus the upper tier of the prefecture.  Thing is, none of the other schools have really been dominant.  Hikawa had to say sayonara to Koufu Dai-ichi 2-1 and Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku had to survive a track meet 9-6 over Fuji Gakuen.  Only Toukaidai Koufu has routed their opposition so far.

Tottori - Round of 16
Tottori is even worse - there are only 24 teams in the tournament this year.  Yes, they do have the smallest population at under 600k.

So realistically, the round of 16 is just after the first round ends.  Which means teams like Tottori Jyouhoku, Yazu, Tottori Shougyou have yet to play.

Saga - Round of 16 (enroute to Best 8)
Well, at least Saga has 41 schools, so at least all schools have played at least 1 game.

The school that I though would start to run away with the prefecture because of brand name - Waseda Saga, actually needed 11 innings to defeat Karatsu Nishi 1-0.  Saga Kita needed 10 to defeat Saga Higashi.  Fellow seed Ryuukoku also had their own 1-run game but beat Imari Shougyou 3-2 in regulation.  The only seeded team to advance with any ease was Karatsu Shougyou who beat Taku 8-2.

Former participant Imari Nourin had blown away the competition so far, defeating Karatsu Kougyou and Ureshino by a total of 21-0, but the other day fell to Ryuukoku 3-2.

And today, Karatsu Shougyou, the only seeded team to seemingly breeze through... lost to Kanzaki Seimei 3-1.  Saga Kita is in the box new versus Kashima.

Miyazaki - Round of 16 (enroute to Best 8)
There will be no repeat appearance from Nobeoka Gakuen.  Unseeded just a year removed from the Natsu Koushien final, things started well with a 12-1 win over Kobayashi.  But then there was a 6-5 win over Kobayashi Nishi, and things fell apart earlier today as they lost to Miyazaki Nichidai 1-0.

I always root for St. Ursula, but once again they fall short, losing in the round of 16 to Nobeoka Shougyou yesterday 5-3 after giving up a 5-run 1st.

In fact, only 4 of the 8 seeded teams remain.  Nichinan Gakuen, who only had to play one game so far as their first was actually a forfeit; the aforementioned Miyazaki Nichidai, Nisshou Gakuen who mercy ruled Nobeoka Nougyou, and Miyakonojyou Shougyou.  It's wide open at this point.

1 comment:

JH said...

-Everybody loves Shigemoto kantoku, but we would not be seeing him this summer (urgh). Last year's finalist Nobeoka Gakuen falls to Miyazaki Nichidai, 0-1.

-In Osaka, Tennoji cruises through the first round. This school would not be categorized as a meaningful force in Osaka, but I just love them since seeing the PBS documentary "Kokoyakyu"

-The historic PL Gakuen, which was suspended from the last year's competition due to student violence, has appointed its principle(w/o baseball experience) as the interim manager. Hmm, this is worth watching.