Saturday, March 21, 2015

Reviewing the field - Kyushu runner-up Itoman

Much like I was surprised to see this was Eimei's first senbatsu, this is also Itoman's first senbatsu, and that surprises me just as much.

Itoman's prefectural and super-regional runs were pretty much exact copies of one another. Easy ups through the first couple of rounds, and getting progressively harder until it was too much in the end. During the prefecturals it was a soft schedule until possibly Misato in the semifinals where they still won 5-3 before losing to Chubu Shougyou 3-2. In the super-regionals, Saga Gakuen was easy, but Meihou, Kamimura Gakuen proved to be much tougher until they lost 4-3 to Kyushu Gakuin.

Ace Kinjyou Noa (金城 乃亜) took the bulk of the innings, but rarely pitched a complete game. His ERA wasn't bad (2.11), but on the other hand his K/9 rate hovers around 4.50. #10 Adaniya Masataka (安谷屋 正貴) was generally his complement on the mound, but his peripherals were just about the same as Noa's. There's also #16 Hirayasu Tsuneki (平安 常輝) and #18 Yamashiro Hiroki (山城 大輝), but neither got work in the super-regionals.

Offensively, the team hit a good 0.343, but they appear to be more of a line drive team instead of a power team with 19 doubles in 10 games for an ISO of 0.101, easily led by CF Ooshiro Ryuuki who had 6 of the team's doubles followed by LF Oota Takato (太田 貴斗).

Itoman appears to be what they are. They don't seem to surprise or disappoint, so they're more honest with their skill level on the field. Tenri may be a tough ask, but the Kinki region might be weak overall, so there could be a chance despite having to face the champs. Their quadrant of the bracket seems easier than others, so if they can get past Tenri, it might open up.

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