Monday, July 25, 2016

Natsu Koushien Qualifying - Today's semifinals (07.25)

Weekends are obviously busy for me, so this review is a bit late as games are in progress.

  • (S) Jyousou Gakuin v Shimotsuma Dai-ni
  • (S) Kasumigaura v Meishuu Hitachi
At a first glance, it looks like we're headed for a matchup between arguably 2 of the better teams in prefecture - Jyousou Gakuin and Kasumigaura. Jyousou Gakuin's only close game was their first against Tsuchiura Kohoku.

As for Kasumigaura, they recently broke through the ceiling to approach Tier 2 status after finally getting to Koushien in 2013. The only question for Kasumigaura is that their last game against Hasaki Yanagawa  they traded leads from 1-0, to 1-2, to 3-2, to 3-4 to 5-4. Now, they won, so that's the important part. But Meishuu Hitachi has a score to settle of their own. Their runs in 2013 and 2015 ended at the hands of Kasumigaura. So you bet they would like to exorcise some demons today.

  • Narashino v ⑨~⑯Shiritsu Funabashi
  • ⑤~⑧ Kisaradzu Sougou v ①~④ Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku
Narashino is making a run as an unseeded team no less. beating both Narita and Tokyo Gakkan Urayasu. That's impressive, but given their runs as of late it doesn't feel all that genuine yet. It may not until they win the title. Shiritsu Funabashi hasn't played anyone of note, and the win against top seed Chiba Reimei is a bit hollow. But the unknown factor can't be ignored.

The other semifinal matchup are two well-known schools. Kisaradzu Sougou has passed some tough tests, defeating both last year's winner Senshuudai Matsudo, and borderline Tier 2 school Toukaidai Ichihara Bouyou (they seemed to have added the Ichihara bit).

Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku is another borderline Tier 2 school, though recently have just been making deep runs without finishing. Their schedule seems the easiest of the 4, but they have won their games with relative ease. Kisaradzu Sougou will be their biggest test.

Nishi Tokyo
  • ① Toukaidai Sugao vs. ③~⑦ Nichidai-san
  • ③~⑦ Souka vs. ② Hachiouji
Well, this looks scratch, but teams are missing. Waseda Jitsugyou? Gone. Nichidai Tsurugaoka? Also gone. Instead, there are 3 other brand names, and one outsider that seems to be stronger than ever looking for their first bid!

The first game you could see as a final. Both schools have been making solid runs, with perhaps a blip in the road for Nichidai-san in their 2-0 win over Meisei. While Toukaidai Sugao has had the tougher competition, Nichidai-san outranks them in terms of brand name.

Souka has been a solid Tier 3 school, as noted by their losses to teams like Toukaidai Sugao, Nishogakushadai Fuzoku and Nichidai-san. They can make deeps runs, but can't seem to get over the hump.

Hachiouji has been bordering on Tier 3 status recently, losing to teams like Waseda Jitsugyou, Toukaidai Sugao and Nishogakushadai Fuzoku.

Well, Hachiouji exorcised one of those demons 2 days ago when they sent the fighting Kiyomiya's (Waseda Jitsugyou) home with a 6-4 win. It's a start, and Souka should be a better challenge for them, but the finals would still await against a major school...

  • (S) Seiryou v Komatsu Ootani
  • (S) Yuugakukan v Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa

Fate likes to play tricks it seems. For the 3rd year in a row, Seiryou and Komatsu Ootani fight. But the scales still fall Seiryou's way. After all, their 9 runs in the 9th was for the title. Komatsu Ootani's 4 runs in 9th was just to get to the finals (where they lost).

Karma would say that Komatsu Ootani should still get some payback. But the scores so far indicate otherwise. Komatsu Ootani has had to work for just about every win. Seiryou has not lost by less than 6 runs. The math seems clear.

In the other semi, defending champs Yuugakukan have not had any peace, moving on by the skin of their teeth against Komatsu and Kanazawa. This compared to Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa who has scored 9 or more runs in each of their game, but have not faced anyone of note. Yuugakukan has been able to fight the close game, so they might have an edge if they do keep it close (which it seems like it might).

  • Fukui Shougyou v Okuetsu Meisei
  • Hokuriku v Sakai
What? Only Fukui Shougyou is left?

Yep. Fukui Shougyou ousted Fukui Koudai Fukui, and of all teams Sakai sent home Tsuruga Kehi.

Fukui Shougyou certainly has the inside line of the 4 schools by brand name and scores.

Both Okuetsu Meisei and Hokuriku's runs are odd. Neither have done much of anything and then recently both have had unexpected success. Weird, and I have no explanation.

Sakai is a new school, but comes from familiar roots. It's a combination of Sakai Nougyou...

... and Harue Kougyou.

Well, that explains it. And weirdly, the merger wasn't complete in 2016, so in last year's natsu taikai, Sakai lost in the first round... to Harue Kougyou. That's not awkward at all.

But after a 1st round spring taikai loss, they've come back and made their mark, upsetting Tsuruga Kehi 15 innings. It will yet to be seen how quickly this school competes for the title. It's almost there now.

  • Shiga Gakuen v Oumi
  • Takashima v Shiga Tankidai Fuzoku
No Kita-Ootsu? None of the burgeoning Oumi Kyoudaisha? Nope.

Instead we have Shiga Gakuen and Oumi, but facing off in the semifinals. Both were fortunate to not have drawn into the zones fo the 2 aforementioned teams. And both ran roughshod over the field to get to this point. The only difference is that Shiga Gakuen survived a 12-9 game against Kousen - a possible bump in the road right when they face one of the prefectural powerhouses.

Both teams in the other semifinal were responsible for ousting the seeded teams, but again it's weird. For Shiga Tankidai Fuzoku, their last win before this Natsu taikai was the Natsu 2nd round... 2014.

For Takashima, if we ignore spring (because it doesn't directly lead to Koushien), their last win was the 2nd round of the Aki taikai... 2014.

I really don't know what to make of it other than that Shiga Tankidai Fuzoku has had the smoother run of the two. But that doesn't mean anything. So the best I can do is shrug my shoulders. You've got me on this one.

(As this was rained out, this will be covered in tomorrow's post.)


  • (S) Shuugakukan v (S) Buntoku
  • (S) Chiharadai v (S) Kyushu Gakuin
Augh, I hate my computer, I had this done, and then blogger f'd up somehow and posted like 5 copies of the entry and I deleted the copies only to have this one not actually have what I wrote.

But here the basic gist was that all 4 teams were seeded, 3 of which are known names, with Chiharadai being the only "outsider" as a Tier 3 school. Shuugakukan and Buntoku have been tested facing former Koushien participants, but Shuugakukan played Seiseikou and Kumamoto Kougyou as opposed to Buntoku defeating Jyouhoku.

Chiharadai and Kyushu Gakuin have not had such testing, and Chiharadai's games have been much closer than the rest. So you have to expect Kyushu Gakuin to have the edge here.

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