- Hokkaido - Sapporo Kiyota
- Tohoku - Kamaishi (Iwate)
- Kanto/Tokyo - Ageo (Saitama)
- Hokushinetsu - Nagano (Nagano)
- Tokai - Uji-Yamada (Mie)
- Kinki - Nagata (Hyogo)
- Chuugoku - Izumo (Shimane)
- Shikoku - Shoudoshima (Kagawa)
- Kyushu - Yaeyama (Okinawa)
The easiest place to start is in the western region (remember, there is an eastern bid, western bid, and a wild card). And that is because of the issue between Izumo and Shoudoshima and the floating bid between them.
With Takamatsu Shougyou winning the Meiji Jingu bid, it is a 2-3 distribution between Chuugoku and Shikoku with the floating bid pending. The best candidate for both sides is Kaisei (Shimane) and Tosa (Kochi).
Now, Izumo played Kaisei twice losing 0-3 (prefectural final) and 4-5x (super-regional semifinal). Shoudoshima lost 3-4 to Tosa. This is the beauty of the JHBF in manipulating things. Both of the nominees lost to the potential candidate for the floating bid. This would mean that if the western bid was to go to this region, the committee's hand is forced - all because of the Meiji Jingu bid.
For instance, if Shoudoshima gets the western bid, and Kaisei were to get the floating bid, Tosa is left wondering why they were left out. After all, they beat Shoudoshima. Conversely if Izumo gets the western bid and Tosa is invited in, Kaisei would be the team throwing their hands in the air. So if you plan to give the western bid to one of them, it would follow that the floating bid goes there too. That' leaves us with either a 4-3 split (possible), or a 2-5 split (no way). That eliminates Shoudoshima from consideration then probably from either the western or the wild-card.
That leaves Izumo and the Kinki/Kyushu representative. Nagata's resume is very poor, having lost in the regional block play to Rokko Island 15-2, then losing in the prefectural quarterfinals 3-2 to Shinkou Gakuen. Yaeyama actually won the Okinawa prefecturals, defeating Ginowan and Kounan in the process and tallied a win in the super-regionals against Kagoshima Jyousai before being routed by Shuugakukan in the quarterfinals.
So it's all dependent upon what the JHBF wants. The best team in the western region is by far Yaeyama. The worst team (and perhaps the main intention of the JHBF in letting in teams that wouldn't get in otherwise) would be Nagata. This would probably lock out Izumo unless they get a wild card bid.
Onto the eastern region, and we start with Sapporo Kiyota who does not sport a quality win, but reached the semifinals, losing to Hokkaido Sakae 7-2. Next up is Kamaishi, who does not have a quality win, struggled against Moriokadai Fuzoku in the prefectural final, but went 12 innings versus Tohoku in a super-regional loss, and gets the Tohoku earthquake angle. Ageo played just 3 games, reaching the Saitama quarterfinals, getting shutout by Hanasaki Tokuharu 6-0. Nagano's time may have come and gone (which may mean they get a bid, confusingly) reaching the semifinals, before losing to Nagano Shougyou and Matsushou Gakuen in consecutive games. And finally, Uji-Yamada survived an early round loss to Uji-Yamada Shougyou in the Nansei regionals before working their way to win the 1st repechage (they have 2 in this region), only to lose to Akeno in the 2nd place game. They then defeated Tsu Nishi and revenged their loss to Akeno before narrowly falling to Mie.
Given these candidates, the committee appears to be focusing more on schools who would not have the opportunity to go to Koushien otherwise. But if that's the case, there is not much ways to project teams who will go because it's a matter of the other activities the school does that got them the nominations in the first place which is even more subjective.
But if I were to project, the easiest way out is Kamaishi as they suffered from the Tohoku earthquake - even though they've mentioned the earthquake before and added bids to the region following the event. Nagano would be a perfect invitation given that they always seem late inviting teams that deserved it. And none of the other teams did all that well, save for Sapporo Kiyota.
So I figure the three teams they invite are:
So I figure the three teams they invite are:
- Eastern - Kamaishi (because they still continue to stress the Tohoku angle)
- Western - Nagata (because they appear to be stressing inviting weaker teams)
- Wild Card - Yaeyama (because this allows them to still invite a strong tea,)