Saturday, July 16, 2016

Natsu Koushien Qualifying - Blitzkrieg through the country (Chuugoku)

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.)

Yamaguchi - 1st round (in progress)
Yamaguchi in recent years haven't really shown us a lot. This also being reflected that we have gone 8 years without a repeat winner. That's rare for a rural prefecture because usually talent usually goes one or two ways so that they can form a super team. That's not the case here. As for the seeding, there is a 1-4 seed and a 5-8 seed.
  • Quadrant 1 - ① Nanyou Kougyou, ⑤ Yamaguchi
  • Quadrant 2 - ① Hayatomo, ⑤ Iwakuni
  • Quadrant 3 - ① Ube Koujyou, ⑤ Houfu
  • Quadrant 4 - ① Yanai, ⑤ Shimonoseki Shougyou
Ube Shougyou, the only school to make any deep progress at Natsu Koushien in recent history, is unseeded and faces a 2nd round matchup with Yamaguchi.

Shimane - 2nd round (in progress)
Shimane has just 39 teams in the field:
  • "A" Zone - ① Kaisei
  • "B" Zone - ① Daitou
  • "C" Zone - ① Taisha
  • "D" Zone - ① Masuda Higashi
Shimane also has wallowed in anonymity, having just won 4 games in the past decade at Natsu Koushien, and 2 of those were by Risshoudai Shounan - the team that (a) had no one originally from Shimane, (b) who dedicated that year to their kantoku who had recently died and (c) who played all their games despite being decimated by the influenza (they played with 13 and then 12 players, and had lost their ace to the illness).

While a great story, it shows how little they have done. Risshoudai Shounan is in "B" Zone and Iwami Chisuikan is in "C" Zone.

Tottori - Starts today
Just 25 teams in Tottori. Man, that feels sad. I could take the number of high schools in the Greater Seattle-Bellevue area, and that would almost total that. And they have a population of 570k in all, which I guess makes sense, but still...

And that's why they're one of the last prefectures to kick off.
  • Quadrant 1 - Tottori Jyouhoku
  • Quadrant 2 - Sakai
  • Quadrant 3 - Kurayoshi Higashi
  • Quadrant 4 - Tottori Nishi
Worse yet, Tottori has not had a team win more than one game at Koushien in 60 years.

Hiroshima - 2nd round (in progress)
  • Quadrant 1 - Jyosuikan, Onomichi Shougyou
  • Quadrant 2 - Ootake, Kouryou
  • Quadrant 3 - Iwatoku, Saijyou Nougyou
  • Quadrant 4 - Hiroshima Shinjyou, Hiroshima Shougyou
Hiroshima has fared better, but since 2000 Jyosuikan and Kouryou have represented the prefecture 10 of 16 times going 13-10.  All other teams have been 4-6.

For everyone else, seeing Jyosuikan and Kouryou on one side of the bracket is a relief to most as long as you aren't in their quadrant.

Okayama - 1st round (in progress)
Okayama hasn't done as well as Hiroshima at Natsu Koushien, but can at least say they're about 0.500 when they do get there. Though if you want a win, you have to ask either Kanzei or Kurashiki Shougyou.
  • Quadrant 1 - ① Kurashiki Shougyou, ⑤ Soushi Gakuen
  • Quadrant 2 - ① Okayama Sanyou, ⑤ Okayama Gakugeikan
  • Quadrant 3 - ① Tamashima Shougyou, ⑤ Tamano Kounan
  • Quadrant 4 - ① Kanzei, ⑤ Kurashiki Shougyou
Uh oh.

Who put those two in Quadrant 4? Well, crud.

But there are a lot of familiar faces in the seeded teams - Kurashiki Shougyou, Soushi Gakuen, last year's winner Okayama Gakugeikan, and Tamano Kounan. So it looks like it'll be a blood bath for the title.

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