Friday, March 20, 2015

Reviewing the field - Chuugoku champions Ube Koujyou

Now we make our way to the western part of Japan, starting with the Chuugoku champions Ube Koujyou. They're only making their 2nd appearance overall, and their 1st in 12 years.

The team sandwiched a pair of tough games between complete blowouts. They struggled with Takagawa Gakuen and Seki Kougyou, winning 6-4 and 6-5, but then scoring double digits in their other 3 games in the prefecturals.

The blowouts continued in the super-regionals with another 15-0 win over Saijyou Nougyou. But once they ran into stiffer competition, they immediately thereafter had to battle in low scoring affairs. Soushi Gakuen, Yonago Kita and Okayama Ridai Fuzoku in the finals the largest margin of victory was a mere 2 runs.

But perhaps the biggest red flag is that when they went to go play Toukai Dai-yon in the Meiji Jingu tournament, they were routed 9-1 in 7 innings.

Ace Uenishi Ranma (上西 嵐満) is about the only pitcher Ozaki-kantoku trusts. #10 Nakasugi Naomichi (中杉 直道) and #11 Koba Yuudai (木場 優大) were used, but only when the game was pretty much in hand (in either direction). I'm not sure I'm reading the scouting reports right, but it might appear that he has a horizontal, vertical, and some form of short slider. While his K/9 rate is very close to 1, it dropped in the final couple of games, and should be regressed to competition.

Offensively, the team hit a neat 0.330 with an ISO of 0.128. But the double digit hit totals earlier in their run completely vanished once they passed the first round of the super-regionals. They did walk more, but that too vanished when they got 0 against Toukai Dai-yon in the Meiji Jingu taikai. Their best hitter by far is cleanup batter LF Okada Katsuki (岡田 克樹) going 15-33 and slugging 0.606.

First up Ube Koujyou gets Kendai Takasaki. They're fortunate in the fact that despite Kendai Takasaki's potential, they tend to play to the level of their competition - which might give them a fighting chance. It is perhaps unlikely though, but it's a non-zero chance nonetheless.

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