Thursday, July 17, 2014

Where we stand (Part 2)

More prefectures are now into the round of 16 or later, here's where they stand:

Aomori - Round of 16
Well, the top 4 seeds - Hachinohe Gakuin Kousei, Seiai, Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi and Aomori Yamada have all won their first two games to reach the round of 16 with perhaps the weakest link being Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi.  Especially when in their first game they narrowly beat Goshogawara Nourin 4-2.

Perhaps showing the lack of depth in the prefecture, only 2 of the 4 B seeds have advanced - Hirosaki Kougyou and Goshogawara Minami.

Good luck to the rest of the field.  Kousei will generally be strong, Seiai at least seems to be riding the momentum from their appearance.  Aomori Yamada hasn't been to Koushien in a while but has been surging in recent years.  And Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi isn't a slouch either though they seem to be the weaker of the bunch.

Akita - Round of 16
Akita has not been known as a strong prefecture, and this year quite a few of the regulars aren't even seeded.  In fact, none of the top 4 - Oomagari Kougyou, Akita Minami, Yokote and Nishime have really been considered consistent contenders.

Despite that all 8 of the seeded teams have at least won their first game to reach this point.  One of those teams is Kakunodate, and I will be rooting hard for them to make it this year after their heartbreaking loss last year.  Noshiro Shouyou (fka Noshiro Shougyou) easily won their first game and in what seems like a really weak tournament this year should be a strong contender.

Akita and Akita Shougyou are still around, though Akita almost lost to Meiou in their first round (3-2 win in 10 innings).

Yamagata - Round of 16
Nichidai Yamagata, who would like to prove that they're not a 1-year wonder like back in 2006 is still in the running, but an opening 3-1 victory over Kahoku doesn't instill much confidence.

If there is any consolation, it's that the other strong schools in the prefecture are struggling as well...

#4 seed Sakata Minami also struggled in their opening game, defeating Yonezawa Shougyou 2-0.  #6 seed Haguro survived a 9 round fight against Yamagata Kougyou 8-7.

This could open the door for other schools to break through such as Yonezawa Chuo and Kunori Gakuen and make the trip to Koushien.

Miyagi - Best 8
Miyagi has been a bit muted in recent years obviously the 東日本大震災 hasn't helped them at all.

Top seed Sendai Ikuei, looking to return back to Koushien had 2 strong outings, but against Tohoku Gakuin actually trailed 3-0 for most of the game before putting up a 3-spot in the bottom of the 8th to tie the game.  However that's all they would score as Tohoku Gakuin would score in the 13th to send them home 4-3.

I've said it many times before, but Tohoku really hasn't done much in recent times.  They do hold the #2 seed and despite a shaky 3-2 win over Sendai Higashi have looked solid otherwise.

Rifu is surprisingly unseeded, and not surprisingly dominating their competition.  Even after having drawn one of the 10 extra games, they have won 3 of their 4 games in 7 innings, and the other was an opening 6-0 shutout over Oogawara Shougyou.  They'll get their biggest test in Tohoku next.

Outside of those schools, it's generally been a free-for-all.  #3 seed Furukawa Gakuen is the only seeded team to fall, losing in their opening game 5-1 to Kesennuma.  It's kind of sad though that they will have to play Ishinomaki to advance to the semifinals.  Things still aren't right in those areas and it would have been nice to see both teams advance in some manner.  Ishinomaki for their part has looked really good so far with 2 mercy-rule wins.

#4 seed Shiogama has managed to advance, but 2 of their 3 games so far have been decided by 2 runs including their last against Sendai Shougyou.


JH said...

-In Saga, 2007 national phenomenon Saga Kita reaches the semifinal. Their batting looks rather unimpressive, but their pitching seems to be doing the work.

-In Yamanashi, we see an interesting semifinal matchup. Tokaidai Gofu vs. Hikawa, Nihon Aviation vs. Yamanashi Gakuendai Fuzoku. I hope to see Hikawa vs. Nihon Aviation final!

-In Miyagi, Tohoku loses AGAIN. (Sendai Ikuei's loss blew the door wide open, but Tohoku still cannot take the chance!) Okay, forget about Darvish. Now I dearly miss Makabe.

-In Nishi Tokyo, we might see a Nichidai-San vs. Kokushikan quarterfinal, and the winner may face Waseda Jitsugyo in the semi. Yeah, we all know the giant with a number 3 on its forehead is very likely to stomp over everything, but let's wait and see.....

JH said...

If anaybody is looking for an anti-climax, I invite you the Ginoza-Okinawa Shougaku semifinal.

Ginoza bravely battles heavily favoured Okishou for full 9 innings, eventually going to the extras with 2 runs apiece. However, the wall abruptly breaks down as Okishou bursts out an 11-run rampage at the top of the 10th. Final Score: 13-2, Okishou going to the finals.

A loss in the semifinal would be painstaking no matter what, but I somehow think it would have been less painful for the Ginoza boys if they were the away team.... I couldn;t possibily imagine how gruesome it would be to experience an 11-run inning in the extras.

I probably will be rooting for Ginoza next year. They fought deadheat battle after battle en route to the semifinal, and against the reigning champ, they bravely held their ground until the last inning. This is how Kokoyakyu dazzels its fans.