Monday, July 21, 2014

Where we stand (Part 3 - Shikoku/Kyushu)

Trying to catch up as best I can today...

Kagawa - Best 8 (en route)
Kagawa is the first Shikoku prefecture to enter the round of 16 and already have some quarterfinalists.

Just to show how useless seeding can be, top seed Sanbonmatsu were mercy ruled in their round of 16 game 10-3 by Sakaide Shougyou.  They will face Kannonji Chuo who briefly trailed against Takamatsu Kita but went on to win 7-4.  And Eimei, a 3-4 seed, was blanked in their first game by Takamatsu Sakurai 2-0, so they didn't even make the round of 16.

The remaining games to be played for the right to be in the Best 8 are:
  • Takamatsu Sakurai v. Takamatsu Higashi
  • Kagawa Nishi v. Kasada
  • Ootemae Takamatsu v. Takamatsu
  • Iiyama v. Sakaide Kougyou
  • Marugame Jyousai v. Kagawa Chuo
  • Takamatsu Shougyou v. Jinsei Gakuen
With some of the upper tier schools have been eliminated, it means that the remaining ones have a better shot at punching their ticket - such as Kagawa Nishi, Marugame Jyousai and Jinsei Gakuen.

Tokushima - Round of 16
With 31 teams, one game gets you to the round of 16 in Tokushima.  Ikeda as the top seed actually got a bye.  Interestingly it doesn't get easy for them to start out, they draw Komatsushima!
  • Ikeda v. Komatsushima
  • Tomioka Nishi v. Tokushima Shougyou
  • Tokushima Kita v. Naruto
  • Jyoutou v. Anabuki
  • Seikou Gakuen (no there are many of them) v. Tokushima Kagaku Gijyutsu
  • Jyouhoku v. Aratano
  • Naruto Uzushio v. Kaifu
  • Anan Tousen v. Anan Kougyou
While many will be happy that Ikeda and Komatsushima will be beating each other up, the fact that Naruto Uzushio is on the other half means there is no easy road to the title.

Fukuoka - Best 8 (en route)
For as much as the school that winds up representing Fukuoka surprisingly doesn't seem to fare too well, the teams that do go generally seem to be from a big group of schools.  A lot of them are here in the round of 16:
  • Kyushu Kokudaisai Fuzoku v. Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou
  • Toukai Dai-go v. Nishi-Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku
  • Jiyuugaoka v. Yuusei
  • Seirin v. Chikuyou Gakuen
  • Orio Aishin v. Yanagawa
  • Hokuchiku v. Kurume Gakuen
  • Touchiku v. Higashi-Fukuoka
  • Seihou v. Chikushi
Only thing is, quite a few of them are facing each other, so at least there will be some attrition for the other schools.  It isn't much solace considering that all but 2 matchups include of the upper level teams.

Interestingly, so far it is the non-powerhouse matchups that were close.   Jiyuugaoka spotted Yuusei 3 runs before coming back to win 5-3.  Chikuyou Gakuen went scoreless for 5 innings before finally breaking through for 8 runs.  And it was Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku and Nishi-Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku who scored double digit wins in blowout wins (though for Tankidai, they scored 10 of their 12 runs late).

Saga - Best 4
Saga Kita did indeed win their game 3-1 over Kashima.  Waseda Saga won yesterday over Toumeikan 8-0 perhaps giving pause to the rest of the field.  The quarterfinals were as follows:
  • Ryuukoku v. Saga Gakuen
  • Saga Kougyou v. Kanzaki Seimei
  • Saga Kita v. Shiota Kougyou
  • Saga Shougyou v. Waseda Saga
Saga Gakuen finally had their first close game against Ryuukoku, scoring the only run, but still advancing.  And instead of facing Kanzaki Seimei like I thought they might, Saga Kougyou shuts them out 2-0!

In fact 3 of the quarterfinal games were shutouts as Saga Kita put away Shiota Kougyou 2-0 to reach the semis.  Finally, it looks like the rest of the prefecture has a little more time.  Despite Waseda Saga coming back from down 2-0, Saga Shougyou puts up deuces in the 6th and 7th for a 6-2 win.

Nagasaki - Round of 16
With 57 schools, most of the seeded teams have to play just one game to get to the round of 16.  The only exception was Hasami, and unlike prior years, they are scoring runs!  They have defeated Nagasaki Nanzan 6-3 and then Kouka 9-2 in 8 innings!

All seeded teams have advanced, though some perhaps closer than others:
  • Souseikan v. Nagasaki Higashi
  • Nagasaki Nishi v. Hasami
  • Seihou v. Kyushu Bunka Gakuen
  • Nagasaki Kagakudai Fuzoku v, Shimabara Nougyou
  • Sasebo Kougyou v. Shikimachi Kougyou
  • Sasebo Shougyou v. Nagasaki Shougyou
  • Keihou v. Obama
  • Seiryou v. Kaisei
Kaisei barely beat Iki late 2-1 and Keihou responded a 3-run inning by Sasebo Jitsugyou with 3 of their own to win 5-4.

Oita - Best 4 (en route)
Wow, I leave Oita alone for a couple of days and they have powered through and will reach the Best 4 today!

One semifinal is set and that is Oita Uenogaoka v. Meihou.  Oita Uenogaoka several years back was a 21st century selection and kinda played like one in their only game.  This time around though they have put their stamp on the field.  Despite a 4-3 win over Usa to start the tournament, they have beat both Nihon Bunridai Fuzoku and Oita Shougyou to advance to the best 4.  Meihou has yet to yield a run in their 3 games so far.

Today, Oita shuts out Touin 2-0 to be the 3rd team to advance to the Best 4, and Kitsuki will play Nakatsu Higashi for the final spot later today.
Miyazaki - Best 4
There was a mild upset in the last day of Round of 16 play.  Nobeoka Kougyou upset Miyakonojyou Shougyou 3-2 creating the following quarterfinal matchups:
  • Nichinan Gakuen v. Miyazaki Oomiya
  • Nobeoka Seiun v. Miyazaki Nichidai
  • Nobeoka Shougyou v. Nisshou Gakuen
  • Nobeoka Kougyou v. Sadowara
For Nichinan Gakuen, they needed the late innings to put away Miyazaki Oomiya 10-0 in the full 9 innings.  They will play Miyazaki Nichidai who responded to a 3 run inning by Nobeoka Seiun with 3 of their own to win 6-3.

Nisshou Gakuen actually trailed Nobeoka Shougyou twice, but 3 unanswered runs post-break allowed them to move on 6-4.  And finally Sadowara put up a great fight against Nobeoka Kougyou, but like many other schools, broke down late falling 8-4.

Kumamoto - Best 4 (en route)
Unlike other prefectures, while there are 8 seeded teams, they are not drawn into the edges of the bracket.  Instead they are put in pools and drawn into a section of a bracket.

And not all of them survived into the best 8 (in order of the brackets):
  • #8 Kyushu Gakuin - 3 strong games put them into the Best 8, but...
  • #1 Taragi - They had the unfortunate luck to have to replay their first game when rain made their first attempt against Yuushinkan.  They eventually won, but it was an extra 5 innings of work to be put on the team.  The pitching would fall apart against Jyouhoku in the round of 16 giving up 4 runs late to fall 7-4.  There would be more to come...
  • #4 Shuugakukan - They couldn't even reach the round of 16.  Against Toukaidai Seishou, they threw 5 different pitchers at them, but it was the offense that failed to deliver.  They would fall 1-0 in 11.
  • #5 Kumamoto Kougyou - They almost blew a 6-0 lead against Kumamoto Kokufu with 5 runs in the 7th, but pulled away to win 11-6.
  • #3 Buntoku - They have yet to yield a run in their games so far.  They may look the strongest.
  • #6 Seiseikou - They have uncharacteristically scored a lot of runs in their games so far, their last being a more normal 6-2 win over Kumamoto Dai-ichi.
  • #7 Senshuudai Tamana - In their 2nd game against Chiharadai, they rallied from behind to take a 5-3 lead, but 2 HRs from Chiharadai were too much as they lost 8-5.
  • #2 Chinzei - Chinzei went from a defensive low scoring team, to a complete offensive one it seems.  Problem is, you have to outhit your pitching and survive a possible power outage.  It worked for the first couple of games, but against Kumamoto Kokusaidai Fuzoku in the round of 16, their pitching faltered, giving up 3 runs in the final 2 innings, and then the sayonara run in the 11th to fall 5-4.
Earlier today, Jyouhoku led Kyushu Gakuin 4-0, blew the lead in the 8th and 9th, but managed to stem the momentum, walking them off in the bottom of the 9th!

Kagoshima - Best 4 (en route)
Their PDF don't show any seeds, but the strong teams do occupy the normal seeded spots.

Kanoya Chuo didn't give up a run until their 3rd game vs. Tsurumaru in the round of 16.  Still, they have kept their opponents at arms length, defeating Sendai 4-2 for a spot in the semifinals. (Sendai had upset seeded Reimei earlier 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th).

Kokubun Chuo and Kagoshima Jyouhou are playing right now for the final spot in the best 4, both upsetting seeded teams in the prior round (Shounan and Kagoshima Jyousai respectively).  Kokubun Chuo leads 2-0 after their half of the 4th.

Ooshima couldn't keep the momentum from the spring, much like last year.  They fell in the round of 16 3-1.  That opened the door for Kanoya, who upset Kagoshima Gyokuryuu with 7 runs in the final 4 innings to win 7-6.

Kamimura Gakuen had a close game against Kounan in the 2nd round 2-1, but have defeated the rest in decent fashion.  Kanoya should prove to be a good challenge.

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