It would seem with these schools that these bids come one year too late. One year after their team hits their peak. Most times, the team cannot live up to their prior performance and quietly bow out.
Hopefully, this is not one of those cases.
It helps that the team was able to head to Natsu Koushien last year after being passed up for Yokohama. It also helped that despite most of the numbered starters were seniors, it was mostly in number only as quite a few underclassmen took the field.
What generally does not help though, is losing your ace. With the loss of Oguro, the ace number fell to their next in line, Ooe Ryuusei (大江 竜聖). He shouldn't be phased by the big stage though as Ichihara-kantoku gave him innings last summer - though he did falter a bit against Okinawa Shougaku.
Their road this year was on paper much harder than that of the eventual champions. First off was a game against Souka in block play. Sure, they aren't a powerhouse, but they're not the pushover you'd be expecting.
After that, in the super-regionals, they faced 3rd level teams such as Hino, Waseda Gakuin and Yukigaya before clashing with Kanto Dai-ichi yet again. And once again, they had the last word - albeit in 11 innings. And while Ooe would fight valiantly in the final, they would eventually fall.
What's concerning is that it appears that it's the Ooe show all the time. Unlike last year, there does not appear to be a 2nd pitcher that the team goes to. Kishida remains from last year, but does not appear to be trusted at all. It'll be interesting to see then if Ichihara-kantoku has an ace up his sleeve, else despite some of the good peripherals (>K/IP), he's not unhittable by any stretch of the imagination.
Offensively, the teams isn't lost at the plate, and do have strong numbers from a team in Tokyo. Remember though, that while they did face Kanto Dai-ichi and to some extent Toukaidai Sugao, the competition I mentioned earlier while above-average, are not powerhouses - so surprisingly there is some inflation to take into account.
It also focuses around a pair of plaeyrs, leadoff batter 3B Miguchi Eito (三口 英斗) and LF Okada Kouki (岡田 浩輝). Both were on th roster last summer, and Miguchi played in both games.
Again it boils down to pitching for this squad. If Ooe is all they really have, they will probably struggle to win multiple games. If they have someone else reliable as well, then barring running into a powerhouse, they could be a Best 8 squad.