Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Koshien Coverage Schedule

This is merely an informational post for those reading the site.

In the past, I have kept score of the game on spreadsheets I created making notes of certain plays throughout the game, then doing a writeup afterwards. However, there wasn't enough time to make a full report before the next game would begin. After all these years, you'd think they'd extend the time between games by at least another half-hour, because they almost always have to push the games back, but I digress...

This year, I hope to be able to do a "live" blog. Since I watch the games live, I figure it might be best. But we'll see how that goes between watching, blogging and scorekeeping.

In addition, I will probably be MIA for most of Day 5's games, if not all. This means that I probably won't get to them until the weekend (Day 9 & 10). Nevertheless, I will go back and do a full writeup at that time.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Koushien Preview

We have our field of 55 set for the tournament! A lot of regulars, but a lot of new teams too - especially with the split of Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Osaka and Hyogo allowing another team a chance reach the pinnacle of 高校野球.

Bracket A
Jyousou Gakuin (Ibaraki) vs. Kantou Daiichi (Higashi Tokyo)
Honjyou Koukou (Akita) vs. Naruto Kougyou (Tokushima)
Urasoe Shougyou (Okinawa) vs. Iidzuka Koukou (Fukuoka)
Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku (Nishi Chiba) vs. Kinkidai Fuzoku (Minami Osaka)

No real big names in the bracket save for possibly Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku. Jyousou Gakuin's making its 3rd consecutive appearance, but has yet to get past its first game. Naruto Kougyou certainly has experience, going the furthest a team from Tokushima has gone in the past 10 years, reaching the Best 8 in 2002 and 2005. Perhaps their pattern of every 3 years will hold true. Honjyou Koukou makes it yet again to Koushien, but facing Naruto Kougyou, will have its work cut out for them to make it past the first round. Meanwhile, Iidzuka Koukou makes its debut appearance.

Round of 16 Matchup: Naruto Kougyou vs. Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku
Advancing to Best 8: Naruto Kougyou

Bracket B
Honjyou Daiichi (Kita Saitama) vs. Kaisei Koukou (Shimane)
Aomori Yamada (Aomori) vs. Nihon Koukuu (Yamanashi)
Keiou Koukou (Kita Kanagawa) vs. Matsushou Gakuen (Nagano)
Oobu Koukou (Higashi Aichi) vs. Takaoka Shougyou (Toyama)

Aomori Yamada certainly has to be considered the favorite in this bracket, with Matsushou Gakuen not far behind. One of my sentimental teams, Nihon Koukuu has the dubious distinction of facing Aomori Yamada, so their prospects are a little dim. It'll be hard for any other team to advance in this bracket. Honjyou Daiichi makes its first appearance in the tournament and faces Kaisei Koukou who is making their 3rd straight appearance.

Round of 16 Matchup: Aomori Yamada vs. Matsushou Gakuen
Advancing to Best 8: Aomori Yamada

Bracket C
Hokuoudai Ashikaga (Tochigi) vs. Seihou Koukou (Nagasaki)
Touhou Koukou (Nishi Aichi) vs. Hokkai Koukou (Kita Hokkaido)
Osaka Touin (Kita Osaka) vs. Hitarin Kougyou (Oita)
Kiryuu Daiichi (Gunma) vs. Kanazawa Koukou (Ishikawa)

The obvious name that jumps out is Osaka Touin. When they're involved, you have to include them in the discussion. Seihou Koukou a more recent up and comer, having lost to Yokohama in the 78th Spring Koushien, looks to make another deep run in the tournament. Kiryuu Daiichi and Kanazawa are both staples of the tournament, but have yet to have any great success.

Round of 16 Matchup: Hokkai Koukou vs. Osaka Touin
Advancing to Best 8: Osaka Touin

Bracket D
Kouryou Koukou (Hiroshima) vs. Kochi Koukou (Kochi)
Urawa Gakuin (Minami Saitama) vs. Yokohama Koukou (Minami Kanagawa)
Komono Koukou (Mie) vs. Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi)
Fukui Shougyou (Fukui) vs. Sakata Minami (Yamagata)

This certainly has to be one of the harder brackets in the tournament, although certainly not enough to be considered the "bracket of death" (in fact, there isn't one this year) . Much like Osaka Touin, Yokohama has to be considered whenever it's involved. But they haven't had any recent success, bowing out 2 years ago to Osaka Touin, and losing this spring to Kita Ootsu. Then there's last year's runner-up Kouryou Koukou looking to get to the championship once again. Most of the other teams - Kochi Koukou, Urawa Gakuin, Sendai Ikuei and Fukui Shougyou were here at least last year if not more. And Sakata Minami had a 2 year run in 2004-5. These teams have experience, so no team will be a real pushover.

Round of 16 Matchup: Kouryou Koukou vs. Sakata Minami
Advancing to Best 8: Kouryou Koukou

Bracket E
Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima) vs. Kakogawa Kita (Nishi Hyogo)
Shiritsu Gifu Shougyou (Gifu) vs. Kagawa Nishi (Kagawa)

Nothing against these teams, but this probably is one of the weaker brackets in the tournament. Advantage goes to Seikou Gakuin who reached the round of 16 last year only to lose to Kouryou Koukou. Kagawa Nishi was there on 2006, but only won its first game before losing to Kagoshima Kougyou. Shiritsu Gifu Shougyou hasn't been here in 5 years, while Kakogawa Kita will be making its debut appearance.

Round of 16 Matchup: Seikou Gakuin vs. Shiritsu Gifu Shougyou
Advancing to Best 8: Seikou Gakuin

Bracket F
Fukuchiyama Seibi (Kyoto) vs. Tokoha Kikugawa (Shizuoka)
Saga Shougyou (Saga) vs. Kurashiki Shougyou (Okayama)

Probably the most anticipated matchup is here with Fukuchiyama Seibi and Tokoha Kikugawa facing off. Saga Shougyou and Kurashiki Shougyou will have their work cut out for them if they want to get to the Best 8.

Round of 16 Matchup: Fukuchiyama Seibi vs. Saga Shougyou
Advancing to Best 8: Fukuchiyama Seibi

Bracket G
Moriokadai Fuzoku (Iwate) - Bye
Komadai Iwamizawa (Kita Hokkaido) vs. Shimonoseki Kougyou (Yamaguchi)
Saibi Koukou (Ehime) vs. Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama)
Tottori Nishi (Tottori) vs. Kisaradzu Sougou (Higashi Chiba)

Here we find another familiar friend in this bracket in Chiben Wakayama. While still strong, their offense was a little lacking last summer. And they have no pushover in the first round against Saibi Koukou who put themselves on the map back in 2004, winning the Spring Koushien and losing to Komadai Tomakomai in the Summer championship. Komadai Iwamizawa shows their face once again, but needs to prove it doesn't fade in the late innings if they want to advance.

Round of 16 Matchup: Shimonoseki Kougyou vs. Saibi Koukou
Advancing to Best 8: Saibi Koukou

Bracket H
Nichidai Tsurugaoka (Nishi Tokyo) vs. Kagoshima Jitsugyou (Kagoshima)
Jyouhoku Koukou (Kumamoto) vs. Miyazaki Shougyou (Miyazaki)
Chiben Gakuen (Nara) vs. Oumi Koukou (Shiga)
Niigata Kenou Kougyou (Niigata) vs. Houtoku Gakuen (Higashi Hyogo)

Again, not a particularly strong bracket here. But we do have Chiben Wakayama's bretheren Chiben Gakuen here. And if it isn't Tenri Koukou coming in from Nara, it's them. Oumi Koukou has shown offense in their qualifying, but the pitching will need to hold. If they get into a run scoring affair, it could be curtains. Realistically, it's probably Chiben Gakuen's to lose here.

Round of 16 Matchup: Kagoshima Jitsugyou vs. Chiben Gakuen
Advancing to Best 8: Chiben Gakuen

Effects of Saga Kita...

As I am preparing a small report on the upcoming Koshien tournament, I am finding one interesting thing that is appearing down the line with the qualifying teams.

There seems to be a Saga Kita effect from last year when they used Baba and Kubo in tandem to win the championship. It's not a lot, but out of the first 14 teams I've looked at, 3 used a 2 pitcher setup to win their qualifiers. There's one more in Moriokadai Fuzoku (Iwate), but they used a mess of pitchers that I can't figure out who's the real ace. At least until I get the rosters.

Whether this proves to be more beneficial is yet to be seen, but having 2 good arms means that they're better rested as opposed to a team that uses its staff ace every game.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Opening Post - The 90th Koshien Tournament

Hopefully this blog will last longer than my others.

This blog will highlight the Koshien tournaments held at Hanshin Koshien Kyujo. And since the 90th Summer Tournament will be underway next weekend, I figured I'd start now.

I plan to have the schools listed in the 90th tournament up soon along with the brackets. I'm just finishing up some things on the prefectural qualifying first. If I have time, I'd like to show the prefectural qualifying as well as the Koshien tournament. While the Koshien tournament is great, having seen the teams in the qualifying stage give me a bigger sense of respect and those teams should be reflected as well.