Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Previewing the projected field - Soushi Gakuen (Okayama)

Soushi Gakuen, despite winning the Chuugoku Super-Regionals, did not sport a strong strength of opposition. They did not face any of the powerhouses in Okayama (Kanzei, Kurashiki Shougyou, Okayama Ridai Fuzoku and Tamano Kounan). Now, they got better tests in the super-regionals in Ube Shougyou, Kaisei and Nanyou Kougyou (though 2 of those are from Yamaguchi and while they're generally strong teams in prefecture, in the aggregate they're not quite the cream of the crop). Tsuruga Kehi sent them crashing back to Earth with a sound 5-1 win.

On the mound, it's all ace Takada Housei (高田 萌生). The reports have him hitting 150, but the video of him at Meiji Jingu show something around 140 flat. He has a changeup to compliment the standard slider and in this case slow curve. His K rates though, stay rather consistent, carrying a 7 K/9 ratio in all games but 2, and one of them was a called game. He's garnered attention from several pro scouts, and if he can continue his work on the mound he at least gives his team a chance.

Offensively, their main lynchpin of the offense is their leadoff hitter LF Nanba Yuuhei (難波侑平) who hit 0.500 in the super-regionals. There's also CF Kusaka Jin (草加 稔), and to a lesser extent SS Kitayama Haruki (北川 遥貴). It's odd having them spread out instead of bunched together, and the only thing I can think of is that they are trying to give their team a scoring opportunity every inning instead of a black hole. But it can also mean that they have a chance each inning of having their rally die.

They can have a chance to win a game or two, but for a super-regional champ it's a rather dour outlook.

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