Tuesday, January 27, 2009

第81回選抜高校野球大会出場校 (81st Spring Koshien)

I've been scooped by Westbay-san over at his site, but not to be outdone, I've gone ahead and listed the teams, prefectures, and last appearances here.

As I mentioned over on his site (I'm Kamina Ayato if you haven't noticed), the teams for the Spring Invitational Tournament are actually driven primarily by the Fall Tournaments I've been recapping (well, I'll get to it once I can get MS Office back on my main desktop). There are some exceptions - for instance Ichinoseki Gakuin finished runner-up in the Touhoku regional tournament, but was passed for Hanamaki Higashi instead. Hanamaki Higashi lost to the eventual champion Kousei Gakuin in the semi-finals.

For those interested in the Fall Tournaments, I'll be bumping them to January as I work on the brackets. For now, Hokkaido's brackets are up, translations not fully done.

There are a lot of intriguing teams in this year's field:

Keio (Kanagawa) - For the first time in a long time, Keio looks to be a strong team. One wonders how Keio hasn't at least been decent given that they are the feeder school for their University team.

Waseda Jitsugyou (Tokyo) - Waseda reappears at Koshien for the first time since Saitou Yuuki's amazing performance in the 88th Summer Koshien. It'll definitely be interesting to see what Waseda has in store this time around.

Chuukyou Dai Chuukyou (Aichi) - In recent years, Aikoudai Meiden or Touhou have dominated Aichi-ken. But before that, it was Chuukyou Dai Chuukyou (or at least its predecessors). They've made the tournament for the 2nd consecutive year. Perhaps this is a renaissance for the perennial strong team?

Nihon Bunri Koukou (Niigata) - I like underdog teams, and I suppose Nihon Bunri may be classified as one of them. They've emerged as one of the stronger teams in the region, although the region itself outside of possibly Nagano has generally been considered weak. They've only made one real run at Koshien, but I'd like to see them go further.

Tenri (Nara) - As perhaps well-known to many, I root for Tenri a lot. I do so because I have friends who are part of the Tenrikyo faith and helped me a lot when I was travelling in the Kansai region. They look once again to be strong, and I hope they make a run at the title.

Fukuchiyama Seibi (Kyoto) - This is another emeriging team, but this time comes from a strong prefecture. I was first-hand witness to their run back in 2006, and they looked good back then. Whether or not they look good now is yet to be seen.

PL Gakuen (Osaka) - I wonder if merely mentioning PL Gakuen still gives teams the shakes. Certainly in the 1980's they dominated the kōkōyakyū scene. Even in the 1990's when they weren't necessarily winning it all, they were making deep runs. However, they seem to have fallen off the map at the turn of the century. Wonder what will happen this time around.

Seihou (Nagasaki) - Not sure where I first liked Seihou, but I felt bad for them when they got annihilated by Yokohama 21-0 back in 2006. I think that's when I started rooting for them. Not sure if they ever had good pitching, but their offense was superb. Pitching wins championships though, and they'll need some if they want to make a bid.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

第39回明治神宮野球大会 (39th Meiji Jingu Tournament)

And finally, we have the national fall tournament featuring the winners of each region.

It was a star-studded field - but it looked like there would be an eventual collision between Tenri and Keio in the finals. While Saijyou gave Tenri a run in the semifinals, falling 4-3 in 12 innings, nothing was able to stop the match-up.

The championship game featured offense, and lots of it as the teams scored in just about every inning. However, Tenri would play catch-up the entire game, coming back from a 4-run deficit early and a 2-run deficit later to tie. But they couldn't push the go-ahead run through and when Keio retook the 2-run lead in the 8th inning, Tenri could not respond. Keio would go on to win 8-6 showing that it's recent run is no fluke.

There were stories outside of Tenri and Keio however. The aforementioned Saijyou as well as Mukawa came from the furthest parts of the bracket to make it to the semi-finals. One may want to take a peek at these teams come senbatsu time.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

第123回秋季九州地区高校野球大会 (123rd Fall Kyushu Tournament)

Taking a short flight over to Saga-ken, we hit the final region, the Kyushu Fall Tournament.

And aside from a scare against Fukuokadai Oohori, Seihou (Nagasaki) cruises to the title, shutting out new power Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima) 4-0.

A lot of new faces are here in the tournament, but there are still some familiar ones as well. Ogi (Saga) fell to the aforementioned Fukuokadai Oohori 4-3. Meihou (Oita) made it to the semifinals before falling to Seihou 6-2.

More on this later, but it's back to Hanshin Koushien Kyuujyou for the opening of the spring tournament!

Friday, January 9, 2009

第61回秋季四国地区高校野球大会 (61st Fall Shikoku Tournament)

I wish I could take the JR Marine Liner over the Great Seto Bridge. That would be quite the view. And aw, what the heck, let's take the scenic route around Ehime back to Kochi for the Shikoku Tournament.

The field was filled with great teams from the region. Kagawa Nishi and Jinsei Gakuin from Kagawa, Tokushima Shougyou and Naruto Kougyou from Tokushima, Imabari Nishi and Saibi from Ehime, and Kochi, Kochi Shougyou and Meitoku Gijiku from Kochi. If you count, that's 9 of 12 teams in the field that are perenially in contention for the Koushien tournament. It's hard to say, but it could be telling for the depth of talent in the region.

And yet it was a team in a tier under them that won it all. Give credit to Saijyou, who blew through the field early and won a tough battle against Imabari Nishi with a 2-1 victory.

And well, there's isn't much else to say since all of the familar teams made the regional tournament... Hm. Perhaps I should stay in Kochi for a few days and enjoy the area.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

第111回秋季中国地区高校野球大会 (111th Fall Chuugoku Tournament)

Not wanting to miss the view, we take the Special Rapid to the Sanyo Line to Kurashiki and the Chuugoku tournament.

In a field filled with new faces, two familiar ones reach the final in Kurashiki Kougyou and Nanyou Kougyou. And even though Kurashiki Kougyou needed 12 innings in the semifinals the prior day, they took advantage of some home cooking and defeated Nanyou 4-1. It's interesting that Kurashiki Kougyou won given the fact that they qualified as the #4 team from Okayama. Just goes to show that all you need is to get in.

Speaking of the new faces, what happened to the familiar ones? Given, I'm not sure how many teams people remember from this area - not a knock against the Chuugoku region, but just that in general the teams coming out of the region are not really considered strong.
  • In Okayama, hard-luck Kanzei made it to the prefectural qualifiers, but lost in the quarterfinals to Kurashiki Kougyou 5-4.
  • In Hiroshima, Kouryou also reached the prefectural qualifiers, but too lost in the quarterfinals to eventual runnerup Shinjyou 5-3. Meanwhile, Jyosuikan didn't even make it past its first game losing to Kousai Gakuin 6-5.
  • In Yamaguchi, Iwakuni made it to the regional tournament but lost to Nanyou in the quarterfinals 2-1.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

近畿地区高等学校野球大会 (Kinki Fall Baseball Tournament)

Traveling west we hit the Kinki Fall baseball tournament, and what a blockbuster field it was! In the end, it was a thrilling game between Tenri (Nara) and PL Gakuen (Osaka). The game went into extras scoreless before Tenri gets the sayonara run in the 11th with a bases-loaded single past the 1st baseman!

Brackets (not including district levels for now) are posted.

This field featured teams such as:
  • Oumi (Shiga) - Lost to Minoshima (Wakayama) 5-1 in the first round.
  • Fukuchiyama Seibi (Kyoto) - Lost to PL Gakuen 3-2 in the semifinals.
  • Osaka Touin (Osaka) - Lost to Konkou Osaka in the 2nd round 3-2. Osaka Touin was up 2-0, but gave up a run in the 7th, 8th to tie it up before giving up the sayonara run in the 9th.
  • Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama) - Lost in the first round to aforementioned Konkou Osaka 7-5. Okada seems to be having issues still.
  • Hotoku Gakuen (Hyogo) - Lost in the 2nd round to PL Gakuen 7-0.
  • Toyodai Himeji (Hyogo) - Lost in the 2nd round to Fukuchiyama Seibi 2-0.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

第61回東海地区高等学校野球大会 (61st Fall Tokai Baseball Tournament)

Next, we lazily take the Hokuriku line west enjoying the view of the Sea of Japan before heading south to Gifu for the Tokai tournament.

The winner in the 12 team field was Chuukyou Dai Chuukyou (Aichi), defeating Kakegawa Nishi (Shizuoka) handily 5-2 in the final.

Oogaki Nichidai (Gifu) made an appearance here, but lost in the 2nd round to Kakegawa Nishi 2-1, giving up both runs in the bottom of the 9th inning.

Last year's representative from Nishi Aichi, Touhou, lost its first game to Seisei Kougyou (Shizuoka). Behind 3-1, they score 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th before giving up the go-ahead run in the 9th.

Many teams were left out of the tournament.
  • In Aichi, the Higashi Aichi counterpart, Oobu, lost in the quarterfinals to Kyouei 6-5.
  • Aikodai Meiden, exited in the 3rd round, losing to Aichi Sangyou Dai Kougyou 6-5.
  • In Shizuoka, the top seeds from the Koushien qualifyers exited early as Tokoha Kikugawa lost in the 2nd round to Shizuoka Shougyou 5-4, while their counterpart Tokoha Tachibana lost to Shizuoka Gakuen 8-7, also in the 2nd round.
  • In Gifu, Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou lost in the 2nd round to Gifu Sougyou 2-1. Shiritsu Gifu Shougyou, lost in the first round to Ikeda 6-1.
  • And in Mie, Ujiyamada Shougyou lost in the quarterfinals to Mie, 7-5, while Komono lost its first game to Nabari Kikyougaoka 2-1.

Monday, January 5, 2009

第119回北信越地区高等学校野球大会 (119th Fall Hokushinetsu Baseball Tournament)

Going over to platforms 20-23 at Tokyo-eki, we take the Joetsu Shinkansen north to Niigata for the 119th Hokushinetsu tournament.

And what a championship game it was! Nihon Bunri (Niigata) was facing Toyama Shougyou (Toyama) for the title. Toyama built a commanding 7-1 lead early and was headed for victory, but in the 8th inning down 7-3, Nihon Bunri rallied for 7 runs for a 10-7 comeback win!

Unfortunately, there were not many familiar teams on display in the 16 team field, and the games seemed to indicate a lack of depth in the Hokushinetsu area...
  • Tsuruga Kehi (Fukui) - Lost to Niigata's #4 seed Niigata Shougyou 5-3 in the 2nd round.
  • Fukui Kodai Fukui (Fukui) - Lost to Nihon Bunri in the semi-finals 10-7.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

東京地区高等学校野球大会 (Fall Tokyo Baseball Tournament)

Doubling back, we hit the Tokyo tournament. In impressive fashion, Kokushikan wins their 5th tournament and first in 6 years by defeating Waseda Jitsugyou 3-1 in the championship.

(Brackets for block play and finals are up. Translations will be done after all regions are completed.)

Kokushikan's victory was impressive in that they fought toe-to-toe with Teikyou in the semifinals, winning 7-5 against a highly offensive-minded team.

Waseda Jitsugyou did not have an easy road to the finals though. In their first game, they had a big inning against Oberlin (yes, that Oberlin), winning 5-2. Next, they were behind 4-2 to Tokyo, but came back with a run in the 8th and the 9th to tie the game up winning 3 innings later with a sayonara hit.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

第61回関東地区高等学校野球大会 (61st Fall Kanto Baseball Tournament)

As we take the Shinkansen south, we hit the Kanto region. In what may be a change of power in the area, the championship goes to Keio (Kanagawa) who defeated Narashino (Chiba) 9-6.

(Brackets for the prefectural level and finals are up. I will backtrack to the prefectural regionals once I finish all regional tournaments. )

It wasn't easy though. Keio spotted Narashino 5 runs in the bottom of the 1st! They narrowed the deficit with 2 runs in the 2nd, and 1 in the 3rd. They each traded runs in the 6th, leaving Keio down 6-4 in the 7th. But Narashino couldn't hold off Keio any further. Keio would score 5 runs in the lucky 7th inning to go on to the victory.

This was only Keio's 2nd championship, and first in a whopping 49 years.

The field, which does not include Tokyo as they have their own tournament, surprisingly did not feature Yokohama. In fact, they were defeated in prefectural play by prefectural runner-up Nichidai Fujisawa.

Oddly enough, there were not many well known names in the field this year. Outside of Keio, there was only...
  • Nihon Koukuu (Yamanashi) who lost in the first round 5-1 to the only other well known team...
  • Maebashi Shougyou (Gunma). They would fall in the semifinals to Keio 8-4.

Friday, January 2, 2009

第61回東北地区高等学校野球大会 (61st Fall Tohoku Baseball Tournament)

Heading south to the Tohoku region, the championship game came down to two teams familiar to playing on the big stage - Kousei Gakuin (Aomori) vs. Ichinoseki Gakuin (Iwate).

Kousei had their way with Ichinoseki, giving them the championship 7-1 running away. This is their 2nd championship and first in 12 years.

Spreadsheet link is here. As with the Hokkaido regionals, english translations are available only for the final bracket (With the time constraints I have, it'll be hard to get through all prefectures before the tournament).

The main 18 team field had notable teams such as:
  • Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima) who lost to eventual champion Kousei 3-1 in 10 innings in the round of 8. The game was scoreless going into enchousen, but Kousei turned on the scoring in extras.
  • Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate) who also lost to eventual champions Kousei in the semifinals 6-3.
  • Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi) lost to the aforementioned Seikou Gakuin in the 2nd round 4-3 in 12 innings. They were actually leading 3-0 after 6, but Seikou scored 3 in the 7th and 1 in the decisive 12th.
  • Aomori Yamada (Aomori) lost in the round of 8 to Ichinoseki Gakuin. The teams traded runs throughout the entire game, but could not get a pitcher to keep Ichinoseki at bay. In all, they used 5 different pitchers to no avail losing 7-5.
  • Sakata Minami (Yamagata) lost in the round of 8 to little known Rifu (Miyagi). Down 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th, Sakata Minami ties the game. However, they would fall 2 innings later when Rifu scores the go-ahead run.
I will post brackets after I finish Hokkaido. Needless to say, the information is strewn all about and a bit hard to find.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

第61回秋季北海道高校野球大会 (61st Fall Hokkaido Baseball Tournament)

The first area of fall tournaments that I will be covering is Hokkaido. This will be ongoing as I update the spreadsheet. I'm working from the championship down, so please bear with me.

(As of 1/27 all brackets are up. Translation for teams is done only for the regionals and the Sapporo sub-region.)

The winner of the tournament was Mukawa. This was only their 2nd championship, and 5 years since their first. They defeated Hokkai Gakuen Sapporo in the finals 3-1. What's more impressive was that they were one of the 8 teams that had to play an extra game.

Mukawa also possibly benefited from Hokkai Gakuen Sapporo having to go 11 innings the day before to defeat Hakodate Daifuzoku Yuuto on a sayonara run 3-2.

The 20-team field had many past Koushien participants...
  • Komadai Tomakomai fell in the 2nd round of the tournament to Hokushou 5-2, faltering late giving up 4 runs in the 8th in a tie ball game.
  • Their counterparts, Komadai Iwamizawa made it to the semifinals before falling to Mukawa 14-6. They had gone out to a 6-1 lead in the first 2 innings, but then Mukawa scored 7 runs in the next 2 and never looked back.
  • Hokkai fell in its first game to Mukawa 7-0.
  • Shirakaba Gakuen too fell in its first game to the aforementioned Hakodate Daifuzoku Yuuto 4-1.
The fact that some of the usual suspects in Hokkaido showed up in the tournament means that we could see them come back around in the summer. Remember, these teams are the ones that will be qualifying for next year's Koushien.