Sunday, July 17, 2016

Natsu Koushien Qualifying - Blitzkrieg through the country (Kinki)

A majority of the prefectures kicked off play this last weekend. There's a lot to go through, so we're going to blitz through all of them to let you know where the major players are, or in some cases aren't. Unless otherwise stated by the prefecture themselves, I will refer to quadrants by number going top-down from left to right (Upper left = 1, lower left = 2, etc.)

Hyogo - 2nd round (in progress)
Hyogo does things differently in having 16 different blocks which feed into the prefecturals:
  • ① Block - Himeji Minami
  • ② Block - Sanda Shousei
  • ③ Block - Takigawa
  • ④ Block - Houtoku Gakuen
  • ⑤ Block - Nagata
  • ⑥ Block - Touyoudai Himeji
  • ⑦ Block - Murano Kougyou
  • ⑧ Block - Taisha
  • ⑨ Block - Akashi Shougyou
  • ⑩ Block - Shinkou Gakuen
  • ⑪ Block - Kentritsu Itami
  • ⑫ Block - Houjyou
  • ⑬ Block - Ikuei
  • ⑭ Block - Kakogawa Higashi
  • ⑮ Block - Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku
  • ⑯ Block - Ichikawa
A lot of familial names line blocks ④, ⑤, ⑥, ⑨, ⑩ and ⑮.

I always bring up the school, even though in real life they're not good, but Nishinomiya Kita (of Suzumiya Haruhi fame), wound up drawing of all schools Kansei (Kwansei) Gakuin in ⑨ Block, but actually went into enchousen, only to lose 3-2 in 11. Drat.

As you can see most seeded teams have advanced with the exception of Murano Kougyou. The final 3 blocks will see their seeded teams play today - this due to rainouts on the 13th.

Osaka - Regional play (in progress)
For better or worse Osaka, with 177 teams is broken up to the Northern and Southern regions, and then into small pools of about 5-6 teams. There's no seeds of the sort, you just have to survive and advance.

Osaka Touin actually hasn't played yet, though they will play today against Shiritsu Higashi.

Some of the notable teams to still be alive are Osakadai Namishou, Riseisha and Higashi Osakadai Kashiwara. Of those to lose, the biggest is PL Gakuen (though to be fair, they played Higashi Osakadai Kashiwara, so it was more of a bad luck draw more than anything else).

Wakayama - 2nd round (in progress)
Chiben Wakayama may have lost their kantoku of many years, but it doesn't mean that there is a power vacuum in the prefecture... yet.
  • "A" Zone - Hidaka Nakatsu
  • "B" Zone - Arita Chuo
  • "C" Zone - Chiben Wakayama
  • "D" Zone - Kioukan
Hidaka Nakatsu is the only team to have played and they needed 10 innings to defeat Hidaka. Worse yet, Minoshima is in their bracket. Shiritsu Wakayama, who has long lingered in the shadows of Chiben Wakayama, will have to play them to advance out of their zone.

Nara - 2nd round (in progress)
There used to be a time where I thought Nara was a strong prefecture. But now, they're not exactly just another rural prefecture, but they're not a powerhouse prefecture either.
  • "A" Zone - Naradai Fuzoku
  • "B" Zone - Tenri
  • "C" Zone - Kansai Chuo
  • "D" Zone - Chiben Gakuen
Tenri and Chiben Gakuen can be counted upon for a deep run, Naradai Fuzoku might be able to if they can play above their level. And while Yamato Kouryou had risen in prominence when they had been gifted an ace, they are now back in anonymity.

Kyoto - 3rd round (just starting)
Kyoto, despite being a well known urban-ish prefecture, has experienced a power outage of sort as of late. Despite the same 3 schools qualifying - Kyoto Gaidai Nishi (京都外大西), Fukuchiyama Seibi (福知山成美) and Ryuukokudai Heian (龍谷大平安), it was actually Toba last year who got the prefecture the furthest since 2007. Oy.
  • "A" Block - Nissei, Tounan
  • "B" Block - Miyazu, Ryuukokudai Heian
  • "C" Block - Kyoto Kogakkan, Kyoto Kokusai
  • "D" Block - Kyoto Shouei, Kyoto Gaidai Nishi
Fukuchiyama Seibi is unseeded and on a collision course with Ryuukokudai Heian. Last year's champ Toba isn't seeded either, but gets a break drawing in "C" Block and has already defeated Kyoto Kokusai.

But right now, whomever comes out of Kyoto still has to prove something at this point.

Shiga - 2nd round (in progress)
I remember when I thought of Shiga, I thought of two schools - Oumi's powder blues, and Kita-Ootsu's purple lettering.

Things have changed a little, with other schools - especially Oumi Kyoudaisha - who have begun regularly challenging the pair for prominence.
  • "A" Zone - Kousen
  • "B" Zone - Kusatsu Higashi
  • "C" Zone - Oumi Kyoudaisha
  • "D" Zone - Kita-Ootsu
Last year's winner, Hieizan, is working their way out of "A" Zone. Oumi avoids the other powerhouses, landing in "B" Zone. And as we can see, Oumi Kyoudaisha and Kita-Ootsu were on course to meet in the semifinals, but Oumi Kyoudaisha couldn't even get out of their first game, losing to Takashima 4-3 in 10 innings!

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