Monday, November 17, 2014

45th Meiji Jingu Taikai

So, the Meiji Jingu Tournament got itself underway yesterday, and the results were not surprising.

First the brackets (next games are in red, completed games in green, winners in bold):

  • Toukaidai Sugao (Tokyo) v. Shizuoka (Tokai)
  • Urawa Gakuin (Kanto) v. Winner of Ube Koujyou (Chuugoku)-Toukai Dai-yon (Hokkaido)
  • Kyushu Gakuin (Kyushu) v. Winner of Eimei (Shikoku)-Tsuruga Kehi (Hokushinetsu)
  • Sendai Ikuei (Tohoku) v. Tenri (Kinki)
As you can see, all the "weaker" super-regions seemed to draw the short end of the stick, having to play the extra game, meaning their chances of earning their region another bid were dramatically reduced.

The "extra" games were not competitive. Ube Koujyou couldn't keep up at all against Toukai Dai-yon. And while it seemed that Tsuruga Kehi was ready to continue blowing out teams, Eimei actually made a game out of it before a 5-ver in the 6th helped them pull away.

Day 2 at least started with a competitive game as Toukaidai Sugao and Shizuoka traded blows. Neither team looked impressive, but it at least was an interesting game with Koiso for Toukaidai Sugao delivering the timely hit in the bottom of the 8th as they went on to win 7-4.

The second game I was interested in just because Tenri out of seemingly nowhere won the Kinki Super-Regionals - and Sendai Ikuei would be a really tough test right out of the blocks.

Early on, Tenri certainly held their own, despite trailing in the game. But ace Saitou couldn't even make it past 6 innings as he was relieved when he gave up his 3rd run. Reliever Moriura provided no support, giving up 3 runs in less than 2 innings of work. Tenri would fall 6-1.

Yesterday was the final 2 quarterfinal games. Toukai Dai-yon would be getting a tougher test in Urawa Gakuin.

Actually, it wasn't a test at all... It was a massacre.

Urawa Gakuin would just need 6 innings to dispatch Toukai Dai-yon 10-0.

The 2nd game would be another litmus test to see where Tsuruga Kehi actually stands facing Kyushu Gakuin.  Tsuruga Kehi would jump out with a quick run in the 1st, but it would kind of get bogged down for a couple of innings. Hayashinaka with a 2-run double would seem to put them back on track.

#18 Yamazaki, who was charged with the start today, couldn't keep that lead. Timely hits from Hasegawa and Tomoda would spur a 3-run 5th to give Kyushu Gakuin the lead. He would stay in for one more inning - which was one too many as he would give up another 3 runs, effective putting the game away. Tsuruga Kehi would get its pitchers more experience as they would fall 8-3.

That leaves us with the following:
  • Toukaidai Sugao (Tokyo) v. Urawa Gakuin (Kanto)
  • Kyushu Gakuin (Kyushu) v. Sendai Ikuei (Tohoku)
Now, the first semifinal will not eliminate any possible participants who would receive an invite. Kanto/Tokyo has a floating bid, and as long as one of them wins, the floating bid goes to the other region. It's just a problem for them because while it guarantees them a chance in the final, it might have been better if there was a chance that it could have been a lead-pipe cinch.

So, the teams that are most interested in how their teams will fare are:
  • Toukaidai Sugao / Urawa Gakuin (Matsudo Kokusai/Nishogakushadai Fuzoku)
  • Kyushu Gakuin (Higashi-Fukuoka)
  • Sendai Ikuei (Tsuruoka Higashi)

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