Thursday, December 17, 2015

Previewing the projected field - Toukaidai Koufu (Yamanashi)

Toukaidai Koufu has been on a run of late, representing Yamanashi 3 of the last 4 years. This after being off the map for a decade. And when they make an appearance, you're almost certain to see them make some type of run - of their 17 total (spring + summer) appearances, only 5 times have they exited in their first game, and 3 times they've won 1 game before bowing out. In fact, they've reached the semifinals 5 times!

So, what team do we have here?

Resume-wise it's hard to say. Their quality wins were against Nihon Koukuu in the prefectural final, and then faced Tier 3 schools Kasukabe Kyouei and Kasumigaura before getting shutout by Kisaradzu Sougou.

Matsuba Yukito (松葉 行人) and Kikuchi Hiroki (菊地 大輝) had come in relief last summer, most times to protect a lead, and once to keep the deficit small. He was able to do the former, but not the latter. Unfortunately for Kikuchi, the only videos I found of him were related to Kiyomiya (thank God Waseda Jitsugyou is not in the tournament).

I can't tell if they've switched roles, because Matsuba pitched more of the Super-regionals than Kikuchi. Kikuchi started the first game against Kasukabe Kyouei, but was pulled after giving up 4 runs in the 6th inning. Not that it may matter unless either has improved significantly. Both kept K/BB ratios close to 1 (though Matsuba had his best performance against Soujitsu of all schools). And from my commentary in the summer, neither appeared to be really impressive.

Two mainstays of the offense are back - now 1B Matsuoka Shuunyuu (松岡 隼裕), and now SS Fukutake Shuu (福武 修). Also joining him is RF Harada Ryuusei (原田 隆聖) who slotting behind Matsuoka at least gives him some protection (though most teams don't pitch around batters - it has been happening in an unintentional intentional sense more often).

The bottom of the lineup - where usually offense goes to die - appears to be in place here too. Yes, they did have some success, but when paired against the eventual champions, they went a combined 1-16.

It's an average squad overall in the end, and while it's possible they can win a game offensive black holes are generally hard to overcome.

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