Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Reviewing the field - Tokai runner-up Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou

Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou, or Kengifusho as they are nicknamed, pokes its head into the Koushien field yet again after a year off. They're generally a main stay from Gifu, along with Shiritsu Gifu Shougyou and Oogaki Nichidai (which I managed to visit back in 2011, but got in trouble taking pictures - the only place where I did).

Their run was not necessarily trouble-free, but in every game up until the final (14 in all), they gave up 3 or fewer runs. However, they had 6 games where they scored 2 runs or less, 2 of which they lost.

A lot of their success then should be placed on their ace Takahashi Jyunpei (高橋 純平), who had a 0.47 ERA in 77 IP, while carrying a K/IP of >1, and a WHIP of 0.66! Yes, given the competition, it should be regressed, but at some point you have to tip your hat and say he's a great pitcher. He can supposedly hit 150 on the radar gun, and while he has the slider and curve, he has the new hot thing - a splitter. And if he indeed throws as hard as reports say, that splitter can wreak havoc upon the field.

Now, there's #10 Katamine Daisuke (片峯 大輔) and 1B Murahashi Kazuaki (村橋 主晟) who have spent time on the mound, but in all likelihood it will be as Takahashi goes, so does the team.

Offensively, while the team did struggle to score runs, they still managed to have a batting average of over 0.300 (0.314). But when two of your better XBH hitters are at the bottom of the lineup? Not so good. Their big RBI guy statistically was LF Hirose Masaru (広瀬 将), and he had 3 XBH in 13 hits.

I don't need to reiterate, but I might as well - depending solely on pitching to get you through (think Toyoudai Himeji of a couple of years back), is not a formula for success. It can get you deep into a tournament, but unless Takahashi can outlast the schedule - which may include a back-to-back set with Urawa Gakuin on the backend, 2 wins is probably as far as they can go. Upside is a title chance, but the offense cannot have an off day.

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