Friday, March 20, 2015

Reviewing the field - Shikoku champions Eimei

And now to the small island of Shikoku and their champions Eimei. I know the school is definitely a contender more often than not to get to Koushien, but I'm a bit surprised to find this is their first Senbatsu.

Much like Yonago Kita, they got quite a bit of home cooking. All their games - prefectural and super-regional, were held at Rexxam Stadium, less than an hour's drive from their HS. That had to play a factor in breezing through the prefecturals with the only tight game being in the quarterfinals against Sanbonmatsu where they won 6-5 in 11. They continued their assault in the super-regionals defeating the likes of Naruto, and Kochi before defeating Imabari Nishi 5-3 in the title game. They even gave Tsuruga Kehi a heck of a battle at Meiji Jingu before finally falling 7-5.

Ace Tanaka Kanta (田中 寛大) handled most of the pitching duties, though wasn't generally asked to go a full game. He has a 2-seamer along with the standard fare, and supposedly hit the 140 mark. His strikeout rate isn't too great, but he's stingy with the walks to mitigate that. Tanaka Kouta (中西 幸汰) is the other part of this duo, but he was left off the roster? Instead it's #11 Hamano Taichi (濱野 泰地), who did not perform well year to instill confidence.

Offensively, the team is pointed in the right direction. The team batted 0.352 with an over 0.160 ISO. Again, some of it may be attributable to playing at home. Still, players like 3B Minato Akinobu (湊 亮将) and SS Moriyama Kaiki (森山 海暉) put up some good numbers could be players to watch.

It'll be interesting to see what happens when they get to a neutral field. Oomagari Kougyou is probably one of the softer teams they could have drawn. They did do well against Tsuruga Kehi, but I'm not sure if Hiranuma was at 100%. If they do get past their opening game, they will immediately be put under pressure by what likely will be Urawa Gakuin.

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