Thursday, December 31, 2015

Previewing the projected field - Akashi Shougyou (Hyogo)

Akashi Shougyou probably got the softest trip you could get for being in a metropolitan prefecture. Yes, they had their scares against no-name teams - Nishiwaki Kougyou (yes, I know they made Koushien before, but they're still a tier 3 school), Shiritsu Amagasaki and Yashiro before finally playing a quality school in Houtoku Gakuen in the final (which they won in a 2-0 shutout). They were then gifted another relatively soft super-regional, defeating Fukuchiyama Seibi and Shiritsu Wakayama before eliminating themselves early (though at least making a game of it) 3-5 to Osaka Touin.

The game certainly revolves around their ace, Yoshitaka Takeshi (吉高 壮), a pitcher who has now defeated Houtoku Gakuen twice, and while Houtoku Gakuen isn't the powerhouse it once was in Hyogo, it's still impressive. His velocity is apparently average, but uses his slider/curve/change to work the edges.

The offense is highly dependent on being patient. They get more than their fair share of walks, and that will be important because they do not have a consistent hitter across the board. The strategy can work, but all they have to do is face a team that has a good pitcher and if they are forced to swing away they could be in trouble. And, having faced an easier schedule, it could mean the team is in more trouble than most heading into their first game.

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