Friday, July 22, 2016

Natsu Koushien Qualifying - Upcoming semifinals/finals (07.22)

Ok, with everything starting to crunch up, I'm switching tack to focusing on prefectures by where they are in the qualifications as opposed to by region. Here, we will cover those prefectures in the semifinals or finals.

Minami Hokkaido - Finals
Kita Hokkaido had their finals yesterday, today it's the southern region's turn.

It's not as exciting on paper though. Hokkai is in the finals, but whose only quality win was a 4-2 victory over Hokushou. Their opponent is Sapporo Nichidai who is looking for their first title, but at least they can say they've defeated Komadai Tomakomai and Sapporo Dai-ichi.

Sapporo Nichidai may have the advantage, but Hokkai will have the "been there before" edge, which always counts for something.

Iwate - Semifinals
With Hanamaki Higashi gone, I would have said it's a free-for-all, but really Moriokadai Fuzoku gets first grab.

  • (S) Ichinoseki Gakuin vs. (S) Ichinoseki Kougyou
  • (S) Moriokadai Fuzoku vs. Senshuudai Kitami
*(S) = Seeded team of which there were 8.

Ichinoseki Gakuin is on a permanent disappoint status for me until they show me otherwise. Heck, they were the only school I know of that the JHBF skipped over for the 2nd Tohoku bid for a Haru Koushien for a semifinalist. That never happens.

But they're facing Ichinoseki Kougyou, who is clearly the odd team out in this scenario. So it could be that they at least reach the finals.

The other semifinal may be the championship match. Moriokadai Fuzoku has not given up a run since the 1st inning of the first game. Senshuudai Kitami has had solid wins, but the margin has narrowed as they have progressed, and Moriokadai Fuzoku is a big step up from their competition so far.

Fukushima - Semifinals
I said wake me up when Seikou Gakuin either loses or wins it all, right?
  • ① Seikou Gakuin vs. ⑤ Nichidai Tohoku
  • ② Kounan vs. ③ Shouin Gakuen Fukushima
Seikou Gakuin may have won 6-2 over Odaka Kougyou, but they certainly looked beatable. But Nichidai Tohoku was in a slogfest with Iwaki, and in such a high scoring game it doesn't bode well for them.

In the other semifinal, Shouin Gakuen Fukushima has been the more dominating of the two schools, yielding runs only in the game against Teikyou Asaka. As for Kounan, they had to rally to defeat Aidzu 8-6.

I don't know if any of these seeded teams can defeat Seikou Gakuin, and it looks like Shouin Gakuen Fukushima may be the best shot of the 3.

Tochigi - Semifinals
Sakushin Gakuin is going for 6 in a row, and they're in the Best 4.
  • (S) Sakushin Gakuin vs. (S) Yasaka Chuo
  • Motegi vs. (S) Kokugakuin Tochigi
Sakushin Gakuin did have to sweat out a game against Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku, pulling away late 6-4. If they and Kokugakuin Tochigi win, we have a rematch of last year's final where Sakushin Gakuin annihilated them 9-2.

Yamanashi - Semifinals
Yamanashi is pretty much scratch:
  • ①~④ Toukaidai Koufu vs. Teikyou Dai-san
  • ①~④ Nihon Koukuu vs. ①~④ Yamanashi Gakuin
Teikyou Dai-san wasn't seeded, but they're an above average team and was placed in a quadrant away from the other 3 teams. They have some work to do though because Toukaidai Koufu hasn't gone past 7 innings in any of their games, scoring at least 8 runs.

I really, really want Nihon Koukuu to win, but a 3-2 win over Koufu Shougyou is not a good sign. Combine that with Yamanashi Gakuin padding their 19-2 and 28-3 wins with a 11-0 win over Fuji Gakuen, and you may need to start taking notice, especially if they do the same to Nihon Koukuu. But the big test would be Toukaidai Koufu.

Shimane - Semifinals
More scratch stuff here.
  • ①~④ Kaisei vs. Risshoudai Shounan
  • ①~④ Taisha vs. Izumo
Again, Risshoudai Shounan and Izumo were unseeded, but could easily be a seeded team.

There is no front-runner right now. Kaisei has won back-to-back 3-2 games. Risshoudai Shounan could be a front runner, but the late 3-2 win over Daitou is a crack. Taisha did defeat last year's champs Iwami Chisuikan 2-1, but like Kaisei have had 2 close wins, so again not a clear favorite. And Izumo has had 2 close games as well.

But whomever wins will probably need a lot of luck come Natsu Koushien...

Nagasaki - Semifinals
Scratch scratch...
  • (S) Souseikan vs. (S) Oomura Kougyou
  • (S) Seihou vs. (S) Nagasaki Shougyou
4 of the 8 seeded teams made it to the Best 4. Souseikan is in only because they scored 6 in the 8th against Kaisei. That's concerning because Oomura Kougyou, looking for their first time, never trailed past the 1st inning defeating Nagasaki Nichidai 7-4. So I don't think it'll be a slam dunk.

I cling onto rooting for Seihou because of Imamura Takeru (who still seems to have just a bit part in the Hiroshima bullpen, but hey they're winning so I'll take it). The scores are good (5-2, 9-0, 10-0), but they're not against tough competition. Nagasaki Shougyou put away Hasami early in the quarterfinals, jumping out to a 6-0 lead to win 6-1.

So only Seihou has been dominant, but there are caveats to that.

Kagoshima - Semifinals
Kajitsu (aka Kagoshima Jitsugyou) appears to have the inside track for their 2nd straight title...
  • (S) Kagoshima Jitsugyou vs. Shibushi
  • Sendai vs. (S) Shounan
Now, they haven't played anyone of note, but they've done their job winning 6-1 and then 10-3 twice, and that's all you can ask of them. Shibushi has a big uphill climb to overcome, as they have played 4 close contests, winning all of them by 3 runs or less and the only notable one (any barely so) is a 4-3 win over Reimei in the prior round.

Sendai's last 3 games have been even closer (all 1-run affairs), culminating in defeating Kamimura Gakuen 6-5 in the bottom of the 9th. This after falling behind 4-0 in the first. However, Shounan stands in their way, and they have yet to yield a run.

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