Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nichidai-san, Meiji Jingu Champions!

I found a place where Meiji Jingu HS games were archived (at least the championship), and if you couldn't tell from the title, Nichidai-san wins the Meiji Jingu tournament 4-1 over Kagoshima Jitsugyou!

That means that Kokugakuin Kugayama is the favorite to receive the bid, and the floating bid for the Kanto/Tokyo super-regions will go to Kanto!

I'll give a full game recap of the championship as well as any other games that may be archived as time allows.

(Edit: Well nuts. The place that had the archive deleted all the archives. Probably didn't want to get the channel taken down...)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meiji Jingu Semifinals

Man, nothing seems to stop Kajitsu right now. I wonder if the southern prefectures domination of 高校野球 will continue.

They strike first against Oogaki Nichidai and ace Kassai. In the 2nd, with runners on the corners and 2 down, Sasaki gets a timely hit. 1-0.

Oogaki manages to score the douten run in the 4th as Uchino hits a grounder with runners on 2nd and 3rd. The game stays that way until the 7th, when Kassai gives up back to back hits to put runners at the corners. Hayashi then hits a RBI double to give Kajitsu the lead once again, and Hirayama hits a sac fly to stretch the lead to 2 runs.

Oogaki would cut that deficit to 1 immediately as Gotou hits a 2-out RBI single, but when Uchino delivers another RBI via groundout in the 9th, it would be too much for the Toukai champs. Oogaki Nichidai falls 4-2 and with it pretty much the hopes of Aikoudai Meiden or Mie receiving an invitation to Senbatsu. Too bad, as I would have liked to see either team there.

In the other semifinal, Urawa Gakuin and Nichidai-san were scoreless early, but in the bottom of the 4th it fell apart for Urawa ace Satou.

With 2 down and runners on 1st and 2nd, Shimizu delivers an RBI single to give Nichidai the 1-0 lead. Then Satou hangs a slow curve and Suganuma drives it to left for a 3-run homerun. Just like that it was 4-0 and Urawa had to play catch-up. However, starter Yoshinaga for Nichidai-san would not let Urawa back in the game, yielding only 7 hits and 2 runs. And while Satou and Nakayama would give up only 6 hits combined, the hanging curve by Satou proved to be the difference. Nichidai-san advances to the finals with a 5-2 victory.

So the Kyushu and Tokyo super-regional champions will square off. The Kanto super-region will be rooting for their Tokyo counterpart as a victory should mean an extra bid. Kyushu's main backer will be Kyushu Gakuin who probably has a name recognition edge over Hasami should Kajitsu win the title.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Super-Regional Summary & Meiji Jingu Tournament

All right! So the Meiji Jingu Fall Tournament is underway and we're already in the Best 4. Before that, let's summarize the possible qualifiers from the Super-Regionals with # of bids in ()'s. Note that about the only guaranteed invitations are to the super-regional champions.

Also note that there is a floating bid between Tohoku and Kanto, as well as Chuugoku and Shikoku.

Hokkaido Super-Regional (1)
  • Champion - Hokkai
Tohoku Super- Regional (2)
  • Champion - Tohoku (Miyagi)
  • Runner-up - Kousei Gakuin (Aomori)
  • 3rd/4th Place - Aomori Yamada (Aomori), Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi)
Kanto Super-Regional (4)
  • Champion - Urawa Gakuin (Saitama)
  • Runner-up - Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa)
  • 3rd/4th Place - Suijyou (Ibaraki), Yokohama (Kanagawa)
  • 5th-8th Place - Kasukabe Kyouei (Saitama), Kasumigaura (Ibaraki), Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku (Chiba), Maebashi Ikuei (Gunma)
Tokyo Super-Regional (1)
  • Champion - Nichidai-san
  • Runner-up - Kokugakuin Kugayama
Hokushinetsu Super-Regional (2)
  • Champion - Kanazawa (Ishikawa)
  • Runner-up - Nihon Bunri (Niigata)
  • 3rd/4th Place - Saku Chousei (Nagano), Yuugakukan (Ishikawa)
Toukai Super-Regional (2)
  • Champion - Oogaki Nichidai (Gifu)
  • Runner-up - Seisei (Shizuoka)
  • 3rd/4th Place - Mie (Mie), Aikoudai Meiden (Aichi)
Kinki Super-Regional (6)
  • Champion - Tenri (Nara)
  • Runner-up - Riseisha (Kyoto)
  • 3rd/4th Place - Houtoku Gakuen (Hyogo), Chiben Wakayama (Wakayama)
  • 5th-8th Place - Kyoto Seishou (Kyoto), PL Gakuen (Osaka), Kakogawa Kita (Hyogo), Murayama (Shiga)
Chuugoku Super-Regional (2)
  • Champion - Kanzei (Okayama)
  • Runner-up - Soushi Gakuen (Okayama)
  • 3rd/4th Place - Tottori Ikuei (Tottori), Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu (Hiroshima)
Shikoku Super-Regional (2)
  • Champion - Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi)
  • Runner-up - Kagawa Nishi (Kagawa)
  • 3rd/4th Place - Kochi (Kochi), Niita (Ehime)
Kyushu Super-Regional (2)
  • Champion - Kagoshima Jitsugyou (Kagoshima)
  • Runner-up - Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka)
  • 3rd/4th Place - Hasami (Nagasaki), Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto)
As you can see, the potential field for the 83rd Senbatsu could be filled with all familiar teams.

So, onto the Meiji Jingu tournament which will award the winner's super-regional with another bid!

The draw went as follows:

Opening Round
  • Kanzei vs. Meitoku Gijyuku
  • Tohoku vs. Kanazawa
  • Tenri vs. Oogaki Nichidai
  • Kagoshima Jitsugyou vs. Opening Round Game 1 winner
  • Urawa Gakuin vs. Opening Round Game 2 winner
  • Hokkai vs. Nichidai-san
The tournament kicked off with the champions from the western regions, Kanzei and Meitoku Gijyuku. Meitoku took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st, but Kanzei would level the score in the 3rd. It would prove to be short-lived though as Meitoku would score 2 in the bottom half of the frame, then follow that up with 3 in the 6th. Kanzei would fall 9-4, and begging the question that if the floating bid doesn't go to the Chuugoku region, does the committee invite 2 teams from Okayama?

In the 2nd game, Tohoku ace, Kamikura Kendo scatted 9 hits against Kanazawa. Meanwhile, his counterpart Kamata Yoshinao gave up 11 hits, but also 3 runs. So in all likelihood, they and Nihon Bunri will be headed to Koushien in the spring.

Day 2 came around, and so help me Tenri ends up being a middle of the road team. Oogaki Nichidai ace Kassai gives up a run to Tenri in the 2nd, but shuts them down thereafter. Nishiguchi for Tenri on the other hand couldn't hold the 1-run lead and appears to have been relieved for Nakatani after giving up a run in the 6th and 7th innings. Why, oh why Tenri? Why must you disappoint year after year?

In the second game of the day, Hokkaido has yet to find a team to revive the success of Komadai Tomakomai. While Hokkai was able to stay with Nichidai-san for the first 6 innings, they faded late, giving up 5 runs in the last 3 innings to fall 7-1.

(New details on these games)
Onto today's games to fill out the semifinals.

Kagoshima Jitsugyou looked to continue their run against Meitoku Gijyuku. Right off the bat, Toyosumi hits an RBI triple in the top of the 1st, then an infield grounder by Agemura scores him to give Kajitsu a quick 2-0 lead. After Meitoku Gijyuku pulled within 1 in the 2nd, Hamada delivers a 2-run double in the 3rd to extend the lead to 3 runs. While Kajitsu ace Noda gave up 9 walks/hit batters, his defense was flawless and they would advance with a 4-1 win.

In the late morning game, Tohoku's ace Natsui struggled against Urawa Gakuin. He gives up the first run right off the bat in the bottom of the first as Numata delivers a timely hit. Then Ishibashi follows that up with a 2-run triple to make it 3-0 Urawa in the 1st!

It would only get worse for Natsui as Mori and Endou deliver RBI hits in the 3rd to make it 5-0. He would be pulled after that inning.

C Yoshikawa for Tohoku would get 2 runs back in the 6th with a hit to left, but Urawa ace Satou would shut the door in the 7th by hitting a 2-RBI triple. Urawa Gakuin would advance by a score of 7-2 and will have a quick turnaround as they play Nichidai-san in the late game (late being 11 AM).

So the regions still alive to receive the extra bid include Toukai, Kyushu, Kanto and Tokyo.

If we were to take a guess as to who would receive the floating bids, it just might go to Kokugakuin Kugayama for the Kanto/Tokyo floating bid, while I can't decide between Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu and Kochi for the Chuugoku/Shikoku floating bid.

So if Kokugakuin Kugayama is slated to receive the floating bid as of right now, you bet that the 5th-8th place schools in the Kanto region are hoping that Nichidai-san wins it all. That would give Kokugakuin Kugayama the Meiji Jingu automatic bid, and send the floating bid their way. At least then they'd have a chance to be invited. Of those teams, Maebashi Ikuei and Kasumigaura might be the front-runners to receive a bid.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall Tournament Update #6

This update will finish out all super-regionals. I'll go into the Meiji Jingu Fall Tournament in the next post.

Toukai Super-Regional
When we last left teh Toukai region, all top seeds had advanced to the semifinals.

In the first semi was Mie versus Seisei. Mie had been a strong team over the last couple of years in the region, yet it was Seisei who jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 2nd. And while Mie pulled within 1 in the 4th, Seisei extended the lead back to 2 in the 7th. Seisei's ace Nomura couldn't hold the lead and yielded a run to Mie in the last 2 innings to tie the game and send it into enchousen. Perhaps making up for it, Nomura would come up in the bottom of the 11th with one down and runners at the corners and deliver a timely hit to right to win the game.

The other semifinal was not nearly as exciting as Oogaki Nichidai ran roughshot over Aikoudai Meiden winning 10-1 in 7 innings.

Seisei was certainly the underdog in the final against Oogaki Nichidai, yet they struck first with 2 in the top of the 1st, then when Oogaki scored 4 in the bottom of the 1st, they came back to tie it with 2 in the next half inning.

Oogaki would retake the lead with a run in the bottom of the 2nd, yet couldn't pull away. That is until the 4th-6th innings where they scored 2 runs apiece, making the game out of reach. Oogaki would win their 2nd consecutive (and overall) title with the victory. Their ace Kassai yielded just 16 hits and 11 runs in the prefecturals and super-regionals combined!

Kinki Super-Regional
The Kinki super-regional was about ready to wrap up 1st round play. In those final games, Hyogo's #2 Kakogawa Kita shutout Osaka champion Osaka Touin in a shocker 2-0 to advance. Wakayama Shougyou couldn't keep up with PL Gakuen losing by the same score. And finally, a 5-run 3rd inning by Chiben Wakayama would help send Kyoto Gaidai Nishi home 6-3.

Moving on to the quarterfinals, it was the battle of 3 seeds as Houtoku Gakuen and Kyoto Seishou squared off. Yet it was the upstarts from Kyoto who built a lead, culminating in a 2-run 8th to give them a 4-0 lead! But perhaps it was the thought of defeating a Best 4 team, or maybe they just never closed out a game against a high quality squad. Whatever it was, Houtoku roared back into the game with a 3-run 8th, and then scored 2 in the 9th inning to send the boys from Kyoto home surely crying with a 5-4 loss. Their opponent in the semifinal would be Riseisha who had no trouble with Shiga's #2 Murayama, winning 11-0 in 8 innings.

On the other half of the bracket, Tenri couldn't really shake off Kakogawa Kita, but did win by a margin of 9-5. They would have to wait for the winner of the PL Gakuen-Chiben Wakayama matchup.

Early on, it was all Chiben Wakayama, scoring in each of the first 4 innings and building a 5-0 lead. PL would reply with 4 in the 5th to pull within 1. It would stay that way until the 8th where Chiben would reclaim those 4 runs and win 9-4.

So the Best 4 would be a field of teams who participated at Koushien this past summer.

Riseisha would take a 1-0 lead right off the bat against Houtoku Gakuen thanks to a timely hit by Oonishi. It wouldn't be until the bottom of the 5th inning where Tani for Houtoku would tie it up with a sac fly. That wouldn't last long as in the next half inning, with one down and runners on 1st and 2nd, Sakamoto would deliver a hit to retake the one-run margin. Riseisha's ace Iidzuka would give up only 3 hits to Houtoku and maintained the slim 1-run margin to win 2-1 and secure a place in the finals.

Tenri's game against Chiben Wakayama was almost a tale of 2 games. Tenri had scored 2 in the 3rd and that had been the only scoring in the game. But when they hit the last third of the game, all heck broke loose.

Top 7, 2 down, Chiben has the bases loaded. Leadoff batter Yamamoto hits a ball to left center, clearing the bases and giving them a 3-2 lead. Then in the 8th, Chiben would tack on two more giving them a 5-2 lead late.

Tenri wasn't about to give in that quickly though. Moriguchi would hit a 2-run blast to pull them within 1. Then in the 9th inning, after Tenri scored the tying run on a passed ball, Yanagimoto lines one to left, scoring the winning run from 2nd, sending Tenri to the championship game!!

Now Tenri had a bone to pick with Riseisha (and so did I for that matter), after Riseisha sent them home with a 4-1 win in the first round of the summer Koushien. Yet it was Riseisha who would strike first with a run in the 4th. Tenri struck back in the 5th after Date delivered a 2-out RBI with runners at 1st and 2nd.

Riseisha would have a golden opportunity with the bases loaded and 2 down in the top of the 8th, but couldn't plate the run.

One would wonder if that deflated Riseisha a bit as Tenri would take the lead in bottom of the inning, but in a most unusual fashion. With one down, Riseisha would walk the bases loaded. That would bring up Higashida, who would get hit by a pitch giving Tenri the 2-1 lead!

The 1-run margin would stick as Tenri would win their 7th fall title, and guaranteeing a spot in the Senbatsu!

Chuugoku Super-Regional
Unlike Riseisha, Kanzei would not allow Soushi Gakuen to exact revenge for the loss in the prefectural final.

Kanzei would take the lead right off the bat in the bottom of the 1st thanks to a timely hit by Watanabe. That lead would be extended to 2 in the 2nd with hits from ace Mizuhara and Seki to left. Then in the 4th, Watanabe would get his 2nd RBI after singles by Ogura and Sejima. Finally, in the 5th, Mizuhara hits a gapper to left center for a double and Seki once again follows that up with a ball to right center for a triple, giving Kanzei a 4-run lead.

That was more than enough for Mizuhara, who limited Soushi Gakuen to 5 hits en route to a 4-0 win, and Kanzei's 5th super-regional title.

Shikoku Super-Regional
In the final, with some rain hampering play, Meitoku Gijyuku and Kagawa Nishi were knotted at 0 before Meitoku blew it open scoring 13 runs in the 6th-8th innings after leading 2-0. A convincing 15-1 win gives Meitoku Gijyuku their 7th title.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall Tournament Update #5

So at this time, 2 more super-regions are completed. All others with the exception of the Kanto Super-Regionals which begins on the 30th are in the Best 4.

Tokyo Super-Regionals
As expected (and as Deanna mentioned in the comments), Nichidai-san had no trouble at all with Shouwa. 3 in the 1st, 6th in the 6th and 3 in the 7th mean a 12-0 called game.

Kokugakuin Kugayama jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Hachiouji. Hachiouji did not let Kokugakuin intimidate them and scored 2 in the 4th and 6th innings to take the lead!

Kokugakuin struck right back with 3 runs in the 7th, but yet again Hachiouji would rally. They immediately claimed one back in the bottom of the 7th, and in the bottom of the 9th Masuzawa would deliver a bases-loaded single to right to tie it up!

But in the 10th, Kokugakuin would deliver the final blow. Kawaguchi would hit a 2-run homerun to center, and then with runners at 1st and 2nd Kameya would hit a double to right-center clearing the bases and giving them a 10-6 lead. Kikuchi would get one back for Hachiouji with a double to left, but that's all they would get.

So it was Nichidai-san versus Kokugakuin Kugayama for the final. Right off the bat in the bottom of the 1st leadoff batter Takayama hits a homerun to immediately give the favorites a 1-0 lead.

The score would remain at 1-0, but in the top of the 6th with a runner on 1st and 2 down for Kokugakuin, Shinkyo lines a ball down the right field line. The runner is sent around 3rd for home! But a great relay throw guns down the runner and keeps the lead for Nichidai-san!

That seemed to deflate Kokugakuin as Nichidai would extend the lead to 2 in the bottom of the 6th. Then in the 7th, Nichidai would get two hits with the bases loaded to make it 4-0. Nichidai ace Yoshinaga would not put a runner in scoring position after the 4th, scattering 5 hits and striking out 10, giving Nichidai-san their 12th Kanto title, and first in 9 years.

Hokushinetsu Super-Regionals
Things went as planned in the first round. Fukui Shougyou defeated Sakurai 2-1, although they needed to score a sayonara run in the bottom of the 9th to do it. The team from the island of Sado couldn't hold off Saku Chousei and lost 6-0 to setup the quarterfinal match I expected. Except that in that quarterfinal Saku Chousei mercy-ruled Fukui Shougyou 9-0 in 7 innings. Certainly a surprise to me.

Meanwhile, Kanazawa mercy ruled Fukuoka 9-0 in 7 innings, and Tsuruga Kehi held off a 9th inning rally from Hokuetsu to win 7-5. In this quarterfinal, the tables would be turned on Tsuruga Kehi, Kanazawa built up an 8-1 lead and had to hold off a late charge from the boys from Tsuruga, advancing with an 8-5 win.

On the other side, Shin-Minato did not let an early run from Fukui Koudai Fukui stop them as they pulled off a 3-1 upset! Sadly for Nagano champions Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri, Yuugakugan showed them no mercy, dispatching them 12-0 in just 5 innings. In the semifinal, surely Yuugakukan was the favorite. Yet it was Shin-Minato scoring 2 in the top of the 1st! Ace Hakaymaya would be tasked with maintaining the lead. With the full game to go for Yuugakukan, that would be difficult. Right off the bat, they would pull within 1. Two innings later, they tied the game. And finally, in the 6th inning, Yuugakukan would pull ahead with one more run. Shin-Minato was unable to gather any momentum after the 1st, and would fall 3-2.

And in the last section, Nihon Bunri was relentless on Toyama Dai-ichi, scoring in 4 out of 6 innings in a 11-1 win. Matsushou Gakuen actually trailed Kanazawa Sakuragaoka 2-0 after 5 innings! That seemed to wake the team up and they went on a 9-2 run to win 9-4.

Matsushou Gakuen would prove to be the challenge I expected them to be against Nihon Bunri. After Nihon Bunri takes a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd, Matsushou would level it in the 4th. The game would remain knotted at 1 into extras, and Kumagaya couldn't hold on. In the 11th, Nihon Bunri would break the tie with a sayonara run.

The semifinals would determine the 2 front-runners to receive a bid.

Kanazawa vs. Saku Chousei turned out to be a one-sided affair. While ace Kamata did give up 10 hits to Saku Chousei, he still shut them out 7-0 in 7. In the 2nd semifinal, Yuugakukan's sent reliever Kurohaga to the mound. But in the 2nd, he would walk the bases loaded - never a good sign. Sure enough, Nihon Bunri's Noguchi would deliver a bases-clearing double to given them a 3-0 lead. Ace Togura would come in to relieve Kurohaga, and give up just 2 hits. In the 8th inning, with time running out, a walk and a base hit would put runners at the corners for Yuugakukan. An infield grounder would plate one run, and after another hit Yuugakukan looked for more. But a double play would end the threat. Tamura would give up just that one run on 4 hits and Nihon Bunri may have earned a bid.

But to definitively earn a bid, all Kanazawa or Nihon Bunri has to do is to win the final. Nihon Bunri would send up reliever Hatano in place of Tamura, and just like their opponents in the semifinals, it backfired as Kanazawa scores 2 in the top of the 1st. Nihon Bunri would play catchup the entire game against ace Kamata, but never got closer than 1 run, losing 4-2 giving Kanazawa their 8th Hokushinetsu title (and 1st in 7 years).

Toukai Super-Regional
So Round 1 of the super-regional was jockeying for position between the lower seeds.

Shizuoka led Kyouei 2-0 going into the bottom of the 9th when it all fell apart for ace Iwasaki and Shizuoka. Kyouei would score 3 runs to send a shocked Shizuoka home.

Komono faced off against Gifu Dai-ichi, and while Komono would take the lead, Gifu Dai-ichi would fight back and tie the game sending it into extras. And the game went into the 10th... the 11th... and the 12th with both aces still on the mound. Finally, in the 13th Komono would score a run against ace Sakada taking a 4-3 lead. Komono's ace Houda would make that stick giving them a hard fought win.

On the other side, Iwata Higashi dispatched Chuukyou 8-1. while Toyota Nishi did the same to Matsusaka 10-1.

In the quarterfinals, Kyouei led Mie 4-0 with a pair of runs in the 4th and 5th innings. Things looked bleak, but Mie would score one in the 8th, and then 3 in the 9th to level the score! An inning later, and they would score 2 more to defeate Kyouei 6-4. Seisei and Komono would be scoreless through 5. Seisei would break the draw with a run in the 6th, only to see Komono take it away with 2 in the bottom of the inning. Seisei would level the score once again in the 6th, and that game would also go into extras. The Shizuoka champions would do the same as Mie, scoring 2 in the top of the 10th for a 4-2 win.

Oogaki Nichidai would have the easiest quarterfinal of all the schools, defeating Toyota Nishi 8-2. They will play Aikoudai Meiden who scored 4 runs in the late stages to win 4-2.

So in the end, all top seeds advanced to the semifinals.

Kinki Super-Regional
The draw for the super-regional ended up being rather interesting.

In the upper left bracket, Houtoku Gakuen seem destined for a Best 4 appearance with an opening round game against surprise Kyoto champion Tounan, and a possible matchup against Chiben Gakuen.

Below them, Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku and Riseisha would clash in what probably will be a Best 4 bid as they're opposed by Murayama and Wakayama Kougyou.

On the other side, Hachiman Shougyou gets Tenri. Tenri has the better of it, but will have to face Kakogawa Kita or Osaka Touin. Not easy.

And in the lower right, Perfect Liberty Gakuen gets Wakayama Shougyou, but then could face "big brother" Chiben Wakayama, or perhaps Kyoto Gaidai Nishi.

All but the lower right have completed their first games, and there are some surprises.

Tounan held in there against Houtoku Gakuen. After falling behind 3-1 after the 1st inning, they tied the game up in the 5th. Perhaps Houtoku took exception to that and scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th, and then 7 one inning later to invoke the mercy rule.

Kyoto Seishou held in there against Nara champion Chiben Gakuen. They traded a run in the 4th, and actually took the lead the next inning. Chiben would level the game back at 2 in the top of the 6th, but Seishou would take it once again with a run in the 7th - and won by that margin!

Murayama and Wakayama Kougyou were involved in a slugfest as the teams scored runs often. Murayama mostly had the better of it, and a run in the top of the 9th would give them a 6-4 lead. But that wouldn't be enough as Wakayama tied the game and sent it into extras. In the end, Murayama would prevail with a run in the top of the 10th.

Of course the more important game was the Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku-Riseisha matchup. And Riseisha with 3 runs in the first 2 innings jumped ahea. Kobe would pull within one in the 4th, but couldn't get any closer, falling 3-2!

Tenri did ineed have no problem against Hachishou winning 9-1 in 8 innings. And in perhaps one of the bigger surprises, Kakogawa Kita shuts down, and shuts out Osaka Touin 2-0!

Chuugoku Super-Regional
5 of the 8 first round games ended via the mercy rule. Of those 5, two were upsets. Summer representative, and Tottori #2 seed Yazu was defeated 9-0 by Okayama #3 seed Okayama Gakugeikan. An 11-run 5th by Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu (Hiroshima #3) dispatched Shimane #2 seed Taisha 17-2.

In the other 3 games, Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin defeats Yasugi 6-1. A 3-run 1st inning by Tottori Ikuei gets them past Ube Koujyou 4-2. In the final game, Matsue Shougyou scores 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th to tie the game at 2 against Soushi Gakuen. The game would go into extras where Soushi Gakuen would score a run in the 11th to win 3-2.

Moving into the quarterfinals, Soushi Gakuen jumps ahead of Hiroshima Kokusai 2-0 in the first inning and with the help of 4 pitchers, defeated them 2-1.

I had high hopes in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi's champion - and they even took a 2-1 lead over Tottori Ikuei. But Tottori scores 5 runs between the 4th and 5th innings to take the lead for good, winning 8-4.

Kanzei continued to look strong shutting out their prefecture's #3 finisher Okayama Gakugeikan 3-0, and Hiroshima's #3 seed Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu exacts revenge from their 16-6 defeat, using a 2-run 8th to break a 2-2 tie to beat Onomichi (drat!).

Soushi Gakuen squared off against Tottori Ikuei in the first semifinal, and after scoring a run in the top of the 1st, made Tottori play catchup the entire game. They were up to the task, tying the game 1-1 in the 4th, and again 2-2 in the 6th. But after Soushi scored a run in both the 8th and the 9th innings, it would be just too much for them. Tottori Ikuei gets back only one run like the other times, and fall 4-3.

In the other semifinal, Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu surprisingly hung in there against Kanzei. Kanzei's run in the 3rd inning would be the only run scored in the game though, as they advance to the finals with a 1-0 win.

So it's a rematch of the Okayama championship game as Kanzei will square off against Soushi Gakuen for the fall title. With 2 automatic bids for the region, it seems as though Okayama will have 2 representatives (although that isn't a given).

Shikoku Super-Regional
Shikoku's draw went like this:

Hidari bracket
  • Kochi (Kochi 1) vs. winner of Imabari Nishi (Ehime 2)-Komatsushima (Tokushima 3)
  • Jyounan (Tokushima 1) vs. winner of Kagawa Nishi (Kagawa 2)-Tosa (Kochi 3)
Migi bracket
  • Sangawa (Kagawa 1) vs. winner of Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi 2)-Matsuyama Shougyou (Ehime 3)
  • Niita (Ehime 1) vs. Tokushima Shougyou (Tokushima 2)-Marugame Jyousai (Kagawa 3)
In the opening round, all #2 seeds advanced easily with the exception of Imabari Nishi who trailed Komatsushima 3-1 before a 8-run 7th inning decided things.

The bigger test would be the quarterfinals, and all games were 1-run affairs except for the aforementioned Imabari Nishi who couldn't keep up with Kochi losing 7-0 in 7 innings.

Kagawa Nishi, after falling behind 1-0, turned around and built a 4-1 lead only to see Jyounan score 4 to retake that slim 1-run margin. They were unfazed as they score 3 unanswered runs to take back the lead, and a 7-5 margin. Jyounan would make things interesting pulling within 1, but that's all they could get.

On the other side, Sangawa and Meitoku Gijyuku were locked at 1 until runs in the 6th and 7th gave Meitoku a 3-1 lead. Sangawa quickly leveled the score in the next half inning...

...only to see Meitoku score 3 in the bottom of the 8th. Once again, Sangawa would give Meitoku a scare, scoring 2 in the top of the 9th to pull within 1, but that's as close as they would get.

Finally, Niita was holding its own building a 4-2 lead on Tokushima Shougyou. But Tokushou would tie the game in the bottom of the 6th. Niita would waste no time reclaiming the lead with a run in the lucky 7, and that proved to be the winning margin as they advanced with a 5-4 win.

And in the semifinals, Kochi was shutdown by Kagawa Nishi ace Utsunomiya as they fall 3-1. As for Niita, their run ends at the hands of Meitoku Gijyutsu 9-2 in 7 innings.

So 2 seasoned teams will face off for the fall title and an automatic bid.

Kyushu Super-Regional
The first round wound up being favorable to the home teams as both Kumamoto Kokufu and Senshuudai Tamana won their games against Kagoshima Shougyou and Kurume Shougyou while in the other game Souseikan had no problems with Chikuyou Gakuen.

Surprisingly, the 2nd round involved a lot of parity with close games in all but 3.

Those 3 matchups were Senshuudai Tamana falling to Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku 5-0, Kounan beating Souseikan 5-1, and Touin dispatching Saito Shougyou 9-2.

In the other games, Okinawa Shogaku yielded a run to Nobeoka Gakuen in the 1st, but they tied it in the 3rd and scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 8th. Ryuukoku edged Shuugakukan also by a score of 2-1. Hasami never trailed against Oita, but Oita made it close pulling within 1 at 3-2 in the top of the 9th, but that's as close as they would get.

On the other side of the bracket, Kyushu Gakuin's offense was surprisingly stifled by Karatsu Shougyou winning just by the score of 2-0.

But perhaps the most surprising game was between Kagoshima Jitsugyou and Kumamoto's 3-seed Kumamoto Kokufu. After scoring 7 in the first inning, Kajitsu led 11-2 after 6. Then in the 7th Kokufu scores 3, and in the 8th they somehow score 5, making it an 11-10 ballgame!! The momentum was certainly on their side, yet ace Noda who was left in the game managed to compose himself and shutdown Kumamoto Kokufu to hang on in what turned out to be a scare.

Quarterfinal action began with Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku and Okinawa Shogaku. Early on it was all Kyukoku leading 6-1. But 2 runs in the 5th and 4 in the 7th would give Okishou the lead! Kyukoku would have an answer to the tune of 3 runs in the 7th and 8th innings to put the game away 12-7. Their opponent would be Nagasaki champion Hasami, who replied to Ryuukoku's 2-run 5th with 3 of their own and never looked back winning 6-4.

On the other side, Haru-natsu renzoku yuusho Kounan found themselves in trouble with Kyushu Gakuin scoring 3 runs in the top of the 1st. Kounan would quickly cut that deficit to 1 in 2 innings, but then allowed Kyushu Gakuin to extend that lead to 4. Kounan would once again pull within 1 with 3 in the 7th, but could never find the equalizer and would fall 6-5!

That certainly was welcome news for Kajitsu who took no chances against Touin, scoring in all but one inning winning 12-3 in 7 innings.

So it would be Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku vs. Hasami in one semi, while Kyushu Gakuin squares off against Kagoshima Jitsugyou.

Hasami certainly was the underdog in their game, yet they strung together 3 hits in the bottom of the 2nd to take a 2-0 lead! However, in the next half inning, a dead ball and two hits would immediately get Kyukoku within 1. Then with 2 down and a runner on 2nd, ace Miyoshi delivers a hit to center, tying the game. The pressure must have gotten to Hasami ace Matsuda as he throws a wild pitch, giving the lead to Kyukoku at 3-2. Miyoshi would not waste a second chance as he would give up just 2 hits afterwards, sending the team to the finals with a 4-2 victory.

In the other semi, Kajitsu would open up the scoring in the 3rd with a timely double by Sugiyama down the left field line. After Kyushu Gakuin tied the game in the 4th, Toyosumi would deliver another timely hit for Kajitsu, this time to center, to retake the 1-run lead. Toyosumi would add another insurance run for Kajitsu as Noda gives up just 5 hits in an 3-1 win.

Kyukoku had certainly given themselves an invitation to senbatsu, but wanted the Kyushu title. They jumped to a 1-0 lead in the 1st, but a timely hit by Hirayama for Kajitsu ties the game. Then in the 8th, Kuroki would give Kajitsu the lead! Noda would give a strong effort in the final, giving up just one run on 7 hits to give Kajitsu their 13th fall title and first in 17 years!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Tournament Update #4

So to recap the completed Super-Regionals (alternates, possible invitees):

Hokkaido Super-Regional - Hokkai
Tohoku Super-Regional - Tohoku, Kousei Gakuin (Aomori Yamada, Sendai Ikuei)

Now for the ongoing super-regionals:

Kanto Super-Regional
The draw for the Kanto Super-Regional has been held. Urawa Gakuin holds the only 1st round bye. Matchups are:

Hidari Bracket
  • Sano Nichidai (Tochigi 1) vs. Kasukabe Kyouei (Saitama 2)
  • Suijyou (Ibaraki 1) vs. Nihon Koukuu (Yamanashi 2)
  • Maebashi Ikuei (Gunma 1) vs. Washinomiya (Saitama 2)
  • Kisaradzu Sougou (Chiba 1) vs. Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa 2)
Migi Bracket
  • Yokohama (Chiba 1) vs. Takasaki Shougyou (Gunma 2)
  • Koufu Kougyou (Yamanashi 1) vs. Kasumigaura (Ibaraki 2)
  • Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku (Tochigi 2) vs. Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku (Chiba 2)
  • Urawa Gakuin (Saitama 1 ) - Bye
Quick thoughts:
  1. What's up with Suijou facing Nihon Koukuu. I liked how Suijyou played in their game at Koushien, but they have to face Nihon Koukuu. I'm covering this regional under protest!!
  2. Toukaidai Sagami is the leader to reach the super-regional final on the left side of the bracket. Kisaradzu Sougou will be no pushover though, and if Suijyou makes it to the semifinals, well that will make for a good rematch!
  3. It looks like a Yokohama - Urawa Gakuin semifinal on the right side - that would be a Ken vs. Deanna matchup there. Heh. I don't know if the university schools will pose a threat, but it's possible.
  4. So with 4 teams, I figure the semifinalists (and ergo qualifiers) will be Suijyou, Toukaidai Sagami, Yokohama and Urawa Gakuin.
Tokyo Super-Regionals
The round of 16 and 8 have been completed and we're down to the Best 4. And the field isn't exactly what you would think.

After handling Nissho Gakushadai Fuzoku 3-0, Nichidai-ni was thrown for a loop by Hachiouji, getting upset 4-3. Those were the first runs Hachiouji has given up so far in the super-regional as they blanked both Meijidai Nakano-Hachiouji, and Toritsu Ikubunkan.

It was not a good week for the Meiji schools as Meijidai Meiji was blanked by Waseda Gakuin 4-0. Kokugakuin Kugayama did the same thing to Shuutoku for a surprise upset. The surprise continued as Kokukaguin Kugayama upset Waseda Gakuin 9-2 and is now 2 wins away from a Koushien appearance!

Moving along to the other side of the bracket, Toritsu Shouwa edged Toritsu Kunitachi 2-1, but didn't face Kokugakuin! They were upset by Toukaidai Takanawadai 5-2! And with that upset, Shouwa breezed through Takanawadai 4-1 for a spot in the semifinals.

About the only thing that did go right was the last quadrant where Nichidai-san defeated Setagaya Gakuen 6-3 just like their first round, then defeated Kousei Gakuen 8-1.

Nichidai-san has the inside track to earn the bid, but I'm not sure I can sleep on Kokugakuin Kugayama.

Hokushinetsu Super-Regionals
The draw has occurred for the super-regionals and they are the following:

Hidari Bracket
  • Sakurai (Toyama 1) vs. Fukui Shougyou (Fukui 3)
  • Saku Chousei (Nagano 2) vs. Sado (Niigata 2)
  • Fukuoka (Toyama 3/4) vs. Kanazawa (Ishikawa 1)
  • Hokuetsu (Niigata 3) vs. Tsuruga Kehi (Fukui 1)
Migi Brakcet
  • Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui 2) vs. Shin-Minato (Toyama 2)
  • Yuugakukan (Ishikawa 3) vs. Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri (Nagano 1)
  • Nihon Bunri (Niigata 1) vs. Toyama Dai-ichi (Toyama 3/4)
  • Matsushou Gakuen (Nagano 3) vs. Kanazawa Sakuragaoka (Ishikawa 2)
Is it bad that I think that Fukui could possibly have 3 of the 4 semifinalists? Saku Chousei could challenge Fukui Shougyou, but I'm not sure. Tsuruga Kehi will only have Kanazawa to worry about. So it could possibly be a replay of the Fukui semifinal!

About the only possible obstacle to having 3 Fukui semifinalists is Yuugakukan. They've always been a good team, and could give Fukui Koudai Fukui a challenge. As for the last semifinalist, it could be Nihon Bunri although Matsushou Gakuen could put up a fight.

Toukai Super-Regional - No change here, see last post for draws. Tournament begins on the 23rd.

Kinki Super-Regional
Well, things on the surface went as expected. With the recent emergence of Riseisha, Uenomiya Taisha stood no chance, falling 8-0 in 7 innings. There was a beatup in the other semifinal, but it was one-sided as PL Gakuen was actually mercy-ruled by Osaka Touin 9-2 in 8 innings!

In the final, it was actually Riseisha who set the pace, never trailing throughout the game taking a 1-0 lead in the 2nd, and having a response for each Osaka Touin score. They led 4-3...

...until the bottom of the 9th. That was when Osaka Touin staged a late rally, scoring 3 runs and coming from behind to win their 2nd consecutive title and surprisingly, only their 4th total.

Uenomiya Taishi would be the bridesmaid in all of this as PL shuts them out (only to the tune of 3-0) to take the last spot.

With Tenri and Chiben Gakuen winning by the mercy rule in the semifinals, it would guarantee that one of these schools would be the fall champ for the 4th consecutive year.

The final would see Chiben Gakuen blank Tenri, winning 3-0 and giving Chiben Gakuen their 13th title, but 1st in 10 years!

So our field as set as follows:
  • Shiga - Hachiman Shougyou, Murayama
  • Kyoto - Tounan, Kyoto Gaidai Nishi, Kyoto Seishou
  • Osaka - Osaka Touin, Riseisha, PL Gakuen
  • Hyogo - Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku, Kakogawa Kita, Houtoku Gakuen
  • Nara - Chiben Gakuen, Tenri
  • Wakayama - Chiben Wakayama, Wakayama Kougyou, Wakayama Shougyou
Again, I'll wait to see the draw before I make any analysis.

Chuugoku Super-Regional
The draw has occurred for this super-regionals as well. This is how it shook out:

Hidari Bracket
  • Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin (Hiroshima 2) vs. Yasugi (Shimane 4)
  • Matsue Shougyou (Shimane 1) vs. Soushi Gakuen (Okayama 2)
  • Iwakuni (Yamaguchi 1) vs. Tottori Shougyou (Tottori 3)
  • Ube Koujyou (Yamaguchi 3) vs. Tottori Ikuei (Tottori 1)
Migi Brakcet
  • Kanzei (Okayama 1) vs. Tokuyama Shoukou (Yamaguchi 2)
  • Yazu (Tottori 2) vs. Okayama Gakugeikan (Okayama 3)
  • Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu (Hiroshima 3) vs. Taisha (Shimane 2)
  • Izumo (Shimane 3) vs. Onomichi (Hiroshima 1)
On the left side, I don't really see a clear favorite. Perhaps Iwakuni, maybe Matsue Shougyou. The right side has the more well-known teams such as Yazu and Kanzei. I still would like to see Onomichi make it, but the road won't be easy.

Shikoku Super-Regional
So Kagawa Nishi looked to be in the driver's seat against Sangawa, scoring 1 in the 3rd, 2 in the 4th and 1 in the 6th to lead Sangawa in the final 4-0.

But then Sangawa staged a rally. Three in the bottom of the 6th immediately got the deficit to 1. And in the 9th, a double would plate both the tying and sayonara run to give Sangawa the 2nd consecutive title and 3rd overall.

Marugame Jyousai would handle Kanonji Chuo 8-1 to earn the last bid. We'll see how the draw works out.

Kyushu Super-Regional
Here is the draw for the Kyushu Super-Regional:

Hidari Bracket
  • Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku (Fukuoka 1) vs. Senshuudai Tamana (Kumamoto 4)-Kagoshima Shougyou (Kagoshima 2) winner
  • Nobeoka Gakuen (Miyazaki 1) vs. Okinawa Shougaku (Okinawa 2)
  • Shuugakukan (Kumamoto 1) vs. Ryuukoku (Saga 2)
  • Hasami (Nagasaki 1) vs. Oita (Oita 2)
Migi Brakcet
  • Kounan (Okinawa 1) vs. Souseikan (Nagasaki 2)-Chikuyou Gakuen (Fukuoka 3) winner
  • Kyushu Gakuin (Kumamoto 2) vs. Karatsu Shougyou (Saga 1)
  • Touin (Oita 1) vs. Saito Shougyou (Miyazaki 2)
  • Kagoshima Jitsugyou (Kagoshima 1) vs. Kumamoto Kokufu (Kumamoto 3)-Kurume Shougyou (Fukuoka 2) winner
Even though Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku supposedly gets an easier matchup because of the extra game their opponent will have to play, their road will not be easy until the semifinal.

Kounan should have an easy first round, but after that could face Kyushu Gakuin, then Kagoshima Jitsugyou. I can see Kounan making it, but as for the other side, I'm not sure.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Tournament Update #3

Hokkaido Super-Regional (1 automatic bid)
Well, I return back to Hokkaido, and we've just crowned the champion.

Looking back at the games, and it ended up being fairly straight-forward.

Otaru's representative, Hokushou, blew through their opponents (including Hakodatedai Yuuto and Mukawa) to face Komadai Iwamizawa who themselves had no issue with Hokkai Gakuen Sapporo and Shirakaba Gakuen. In the semi, the teams would trade 2 runs in the 1st, but 5 in the second from Hokushou would separate them. Not to say that there would still be scoring, as the teams combined for 6 home runs in a 13-6 win by Hokushou.

On the other side, Hokkai would surprisingly have a hard time against Hokkaido Sakae, but made a 2 run 1st stick in a 2-1 win. They faced Sapporo Dai-ichi who breezed through their first 2 games. Hokkai would take a 4-0 1st inning lead, but after trading a pair of runs in the 5th, they saw Sapporo Dai-ichi score 6 runs to take the lead!

Hokkai would not give, scoring 2 in the 7th to tie the game. The teams would trade a run in the 8th, and in the bottom of the 9th, Hokkai would score the sayonara run against Nishijima to advance to the final.

So we have a Hokushou-Hokkai final. That feels like deja vu.

Hokkai took control of the final with 4 runs in the 3rd inning. And 1st year ace Tamakuma Shouichi leads Hokkai to their 11th fall title, but 1st in 16 years!

Tohoku Super-Regionals (2 automatic bids)
We have our automatic bids, but before I reveal them, let's see how my predictions did.

In the upper left bracket, Tohoku did not have the easy road I thought they might have. They did defeat Oomagari Kougyou 8-2, but then Touryou gave them a fight. While they gave up a run in the 1st, they leveled the score in the 5th. But in the 9th inning, Tohoku would push in the go-ahead run and a spot in the semifinals.

Tohoku's opponent in the semis would indeed be Aomori Yamada, but they almost stumbled against Oodate Houmei. After the teams traded runs, Oodate Houmei scores 2 in the top of the 5th to take a 3-2 lead. Aomori would score 2 in the bottom of the 6th for the final 4-3 margin.

They wouldn't know their opponent immediately though as Ichinoseki Gakuin and Sakata Minami proved to be equal matches for each other, playing out a 0-0, 15 inning draw!

Aces Aida for Sakata Minami and Numata for Ichinoseki Gakuin, who played for all 15 innings, would take the hill once again. But the pitching would obviously not be as sharp as the first game. Sakata Minami would score a pair of runs in the 5th and 6th innings for a 5-1 lead as Ichinoseki Gakuin went to the bullpen to try and nurse the team on.

There would be no such backup for Aida, as he was asked to finish the game. Problem was, he wasn't able to. 4 runs in the top of the 8th would tie the game, and 3 more in the 9th against the tired ace would be the difference.

The quarterfinal would be an interesting one, in that all the scoring was done in the lucky 7 innings. Ichinoseki Gakuin would score 2, but Aomori Yamada would score 7 in the 7th. And so Aomori Yamada would meet Tohoku.

Tohoku and Aomori Yamada would spend the first 4 innings scoreless, then the teams would trade the lead 3 times. Tohoku would finally level the score 4-4 in the 7th and pull away with 3 in the 8th for a 7-4 win, and in all likelihood a senbatsu bid.

On the other side, Sendai Ikuei and Seikou Gakuin did indeed meet up in the quarterfinals after winning their games by a 11-3 margin. Seikou Gakuin slowly pulled out to a 4-1 lead, but Sendai's never-say-die attitude from Koushien must have stuck as they score 6 unanswered runs, including a sayonara 3-run homerun to win 7-4.

Their opponent would be Kousei Gakuin, who didn't have to face either Iwate team (Morioka Chuo or Hanamaki Higashi), and thus blew through their 1st 2 games 30-0.

In the semifinal though, Sendai Ikuei would have to answer for Kousei's 3B Tamura Tatsuhiro. He would hit 3 (3!!) homeruns to lead Kousei Gakuin to a 8-3 win and a probable bid to senbatsu. Tamura Tatsuhiro will be a player to watch should they indeed receive the bid.

In the finals, Tohoku would score 3 in the first inning and never really look back. Kousei Gakuin would keep the game close, but would fall 5-3, giving Tohoku their 17th super-regional title.

Kanto Super-Regionals (4 automatic bids + 1 at-large?)
Tochigi (Sano Nichidai, Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku)
In the semifinals, Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku stayed with Sakushin Gakuin keeping the score at 3-3, then pulled away late with 3 in the 6th and another one in the 7th for a 7-3 win. The other semi had Hakuoudai Ashikaga unable to keep up with Sano Nichidai, losing 10-5.

The final was actually a tale of two games. The first half saw Bunsei Geidai take a 3-1 lead through 5. Then in the 6th Sanichi would explode for 4 runs to take a 5-3 lead, only to see Bunsei score 5 in the bottom of the inning to retake the lead! Sanichi would put the deficit back at 2 with a run in the 7th. All seemed lost for Sanichi though as Bunsei added an insurance run to make it 9-6.

Except inexplicably, Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku could not close the deal. 6 runs later, and they were as good as dead now down 12-9. And that would be the final margin.

Chiba (Kisaradzu Sougou, Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku)
The quarterfinals were all blowouts as Toukaidai Urayasu and Senshuudai Matsudo win 8-0. Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku blew out Chiba Meitoku 21-2.

But perhaps the most bizarre game was between Kisaradzu Sougou and Chiba Eiwa. The best way I can explain it is to go through the game by each half inning.

Kisaradzu Sougou - Chiba Eiwa
Top 1 - 0-0
Bottom 1 - 0-8
Top 2 - 5-8
Bottom 2 - 5-8
Top 3 - 7-8
Bottom 3 - 7-9
Top 4 - 13-9
Bottom 4 - 13-11
Top 5 - 16-11
Bottom 5 - 16-14
Top 6 - 18-14
Bottom 6 - 18-15
Top 7 - 21-15
Bottom 7 - 21-15
Top 8 - 21-15
Bottom 8 - 21-16
Top 9 - 21-16
Bottom 9 - 21-16

21-16??! That seems like a football score more than a baseball score, but yep, Kisaradzu Sougou won by 5.

The semifinals were much more tamer, but still one-sided. Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku wins 8-2 over Toukaidai Urayasu while Kisaradzu Sougou thought that they still haven't scored enough runs this tournament, defeating Senshuudai Matsudo 7-2.

The final was much more like a baseball game. After trading a run in the 6th, Kisaradzu Sougou scores 2 in the 7th for a 3-1 win for only their 2nd fall title - their 1st being 40 years ago!

So your participants are:
  • Ibaraki - Suijyou, Kasumigaura
  • Tochigi - Sano Nichidai, Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku
  • Gunma - Maebashi Ikuei, Takasaki Shougyou
  • Saitama - Urawa Gakuin, Kasukabe Kyouei, Washinomiya
  • Chiba - Kisaradzu Sougou, Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku
  • Kanagawa - Yokohama, Toukaidai Sagami
  • Yamanashi - Koufu Kougyou, Nihon Koukuu
At a glance, and with no draw done for the brackets yet, Suijyou certainly is a good possibility, Yokohama cannot be counted out, Toukaidai Sagami may be better without Hifumi (as effectively wild as he was, I think they could do better). Urawa Gakuin would be those teams in the 2nd tier that might make it, along with Sano Nichidai. I'd like Nihon Koukuu to make it, but they haven't really made a deep run in a while. The Chiba teams have seen Koushien before, but Kisaradzu Sougou needs to prove me something - especially after the Chiba Eiwa game, and Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku ever since losing their ace Saitou Keisuke.

Tokyo Super-Regionals (1 automatic bid + 1 at-large?)
2nd round has been completed, and perhaps the biggest surprise is Obirin. They squared off against Kokugakuin Kugayama. Obirin led 2-1, but in the 8th Kugayama scores 4 and then blows it open with 8 in the 9th. Kokugakuin Kugayama would win 13-4.

Next up for Kokugakuin Kugayama will be Shuutoku. Shuutoku needed an extra game though against Toukaidai Sugao. Actually, Shuutoku was down 2-0 going into the top of the 9th and somehow found a way to tie the game! But after the game was tied at the end of regulation, rain forced the game into a tie. The replay saw both aces take the hill again, but this time Shuutoku scores 3 in the first inning and that's the only runs scored in the game.

In other games:
  • Nichidai-ni ralled against Souka late, scoring the sayonara run in the 9th to cap off a 3-2 win,
  • Waseda Gakuin is carrying the flag for Waseda and will face Meijidai Meiji.
  • Nichidai-san with a 6-3 win over Meijidai Nakano, combined with Toua Gakuin suffering a sayonara 5-4 loss to Kousei Gakuen in the 3rd round has a clear road to the quarterfinals where they could face Kokushikan.
Hokushinetsu Super-Regionals (2 automatic bids)
Nagano (Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri, Saku Chousei, Matsushou Gakuen)
Saku Chousei had no trouble with Iiyama Kita, winning 11-4, but the surprise was Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri shutting out and mercy-ruling Matsushou Gakuen 7-0 in 7 innings!

In the final, Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri and Saku Chousei would be scoreless for 7 innings until Shiojiri would break it with a run in the 8th and another in the 9th for a 2-0 win! This is their 9th title.

Matsushou Gakuen sneaked into the super-regionals with a 2-1 win over Iiyama Kita.

Niigata (Nihon Bunri, Sado, Hokuetsu)
Tookamachi would not be able to secure that automatic bid as Sado would shut them out 4-0. Meanwhile, Nihon Bunri had no trouble with Hokuetsu winning 9-3.

Sado would be no match for Nihon Bunri in the final, giving them their 14th Niigata title. Hokuetsu would edge out Tookamachi 6-5 for the last bid.

Ishikawa (Kanazawa, Kanazawa Sakuragaoka, Yuugakukan)
Ishikawa's semifinals were as expected. Hakui Kougyou was no match for Kanazawa Sakuragaoka being shutout 6-0. Yuugakukan and Kanazawa was a good match, but Yuugakukan couldn't overcome the 2 early runs they gave up, and lost 2-1.

The final was a fairly pedestrian game, although Kanazawa Sakuragaoka held the 3-2 lead. Then Kanazawa would score 7 in the 6th, 5 in the 7th and 3 in the 8th! Sakuragaoka did rally for some runs, but lost 17-8 giving Kanazawa their first fall title in 13 years! That seems surprising for a team such as them.

Yuugakukan kept their hopes of returning to Koushien alive with a 10-3 win over Hakui Kougyou.

Fukui (Tsuruga Kehi, Fukui Koudai Fukui, Fukui Shougyou)
The Fukui final would be decided in the last 3 innings. The teams would trade runs in the 7th, but Fukui Koudai would not have an answer to Tsuruga Kehi's run in the bottom of the 8th. This is Tsuruga Kehi's 3rd title.

As for Nyuu, their hopes for reaching the super-regional were rudely ended by Fukui Shougyou, who had no trouble with a 7-1 win.

This means our participating teams are:

Nagano - Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri, Saku Chousei, Matsushou Gakuen
Niigata - Nihon Bunri, Sado, Hokuetsu
Toyama - Sakurai, Shin-Minato, Toyama Dai-ichi, Fukuoka
Ishikawa - Kanazawa, Kanazawa Sakuragaoka, Yuugakukan
Fukui - Tsuruga Kehi, Fukui Koudai Fukui, Fukui Shougyou

There are a lot of historically good teams in this field. Saku Chousei, Matsushou Gakuen, Nihon Bunri, Kanzawa, Yuugakukan, and all 3 Fukui teams. I'll wait for the draw to happen before I handicap the field.

Tokai Super-Regionals (2 automatic bids)
Mie (Mie, Matsusaka, Komono)
Mie was the last prefecture to finish in the Tokai region. Matsusaka kept up with Mie for a while, but as the game progressed Mie found cracks in their opponents. A 4-1 win would give Mie their 3rd straight fall title. Matsusaka, while the 2nd place finishers, will advance to the super-regionals for only their 2nd time - their last appearance in 1979!

In the consolation game, Shiroko was no match for Komono, falling 5-0.

With Mie done, the small 4-prefecture Tokai Super-regionals had the following teams:
  • Shizuoka - Seisei, Iwata Higashi, Shizuoka
  • Aichi - Aikoudai Meiden, Kyouei, Toyota Nishi
  • Gifu - Oogaki Nichidai, Gifu Dai-ichi, Chuukyou
  • Mie - Mie, Matsusaka, Komono
The draw was held, and the quadrants are as follows:
  • Kyouei vs. Shizuoka. Winner faces Mie.
  • Gifu Dai-ichi vs. Komono. Winner faces Seisei.
  • Iwata Higashi vs. Chuukyou. Winner faces Aikoudai Meiden.
  • Matsusaka vs. Toyota Nishi. Winner faces Oogaki Nichidai.
Mie is the favorite to advance to the finals. There is no one on their side of the bracket that I think can challenge them. Normally, I might mention Komono, but the 10-1 loss they suffered to Mie in the prefectural semifinals makes that pretty unlikely.

On the other side, it's either Oogaki Nichidai or Aikoudai Meiden. Again, none of the lower seeds seem to pose a threat to the top teams. Now as for the winner of that expected matchup, as much as I'd like to go to Ichiro's alma mater, they have not shown themselves to be a strong program as of late, while Oogaki has established themselves as a strong stable program. I think Mie and Oogaki Nichidai will reach the finals, and subsequently be rewarded with bids to senbatsu.

Kinki Super-Regionals (6 automatic bids)
Kyoto (Tounan, Kyoto Gaidai Nishi, Kyoto Seishou)
I'm shocked. In the semifinal between Tounan and Fukuchiyama Seibi, Tounan ace Awazu Tetsuya (粟津 達也), who recently took the #1 jersey shuts out Fukuchiyama Seibi 2-0 to claim an automatic bid to the super-regionals! By the way, it first looks like he's throwing warm-up pitches due to his tempo, but no, he's a quick pitcher it appears.

They would have to face Kyoto Gaidai Nishi again as they had no trouble with Kyoto Seishou 4-1.

In the final, Kyoto Gaidai Nishi would have multiple chances against Tounan and ace Awazu. But each time they threatened, Awazu would get out of the jam. On the other side, Matsuoka for KGN couldn't find his control, which led to 2 runs in the 4th. He would be relieved by Satou, but would fare no better, with 2 walks leading to a bases-clearing double in the 5th by cleanup batter Komatsuki. That deficit would be too much for KGN, as Tounan would win their first ever fall title!!

And to finish the surprise in Kyoto, Kyoto Seishou throws a combined 3-hitter against Fukuchiyama Seibi to win 2-1 and take the 3rd spot!!!!!

We have our 4 block winners, and the subsequent Best 4 matchups.
  • In Block A, Riseisha shutout Taisha Gakuindai 4-0.
  • Block B had Uenomiya Taisha just getting by Kansai Souka 3-2 to advance.
  • Osaka Touin had no trouble with Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan in the Block C final 8-2.
  • Osaka Shoudai Sakai would face PL Gakuen after Perfect Liberty defeated Higashi Osakadai Kashiwara 6-2. PL would crush Shoudai 10-3 for a spot in the Best 4.
And when the draw for the best 4 came out, it was the best possible scenario for Riseisha.

Why? Because they'll face Uenomiya Taisha while the powerhouses Osaka Touin and PL Gakuen will beat each other up in the other semifinal.

Hyogo (Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku, Kakogawa Kita, Houtoku Gakuen)
Summer representative Houtoku Gakuen, who make a deep run this past summer, was shocked by Kakogawa Kita 5-1 and was regulated to the consolation game. Meanwhile, Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku ran circles around Shinkou Gakuen, mercy-ruling them 10-1 in 7 innings.

The final was close as Kakogawa Kita did take the initial lead with a run in the 3rd. Kobe Kokusai scores 2 in the 4th to take the lead, and the score would remain at 2-1. But Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku would blow it open with 5 runs in the 8th to win their 2nd consecutive title.

And Houtoku Gakuen would not be denied a super-regional appearance, who defeated Shinkou Gakuen 9-1 in the consolation game.

Nara is in the Best 4. The lucky team to join Tenri, Kooriyama and Chiben Gakuen is Nara Suzaku. Tenri and Kooriyama will meet in one semi, while Nara Suzaku will have to face Chiben Gakuen.

Wakayama (Chiben Wakayama, Wakayama Kougyou, Wakayama Shougyou)
In the semifinals, Naga actually held a lead against Wakayama Kougyou 2-1 late into the game, but ace Aketo could not close the deal, as Wakayama Kougyou scores 2 in the bottom of the 8th to win 3-2.

And Wakayama Shougyou actually gave Chiben Wakayama a fight! They intially took a 1-0 lead, then saw Chiben come back to take a 2-1 advantage. They tied the game in the 7th, but like the Naga game, Chiben would score 2 in the bottom of the 8th for the final margin at 4-2.

After that scare, I bet Takashima-kantoku got the kids ready for the final as they shutout Wakayama Kougyou 6-0 for their 4th consecutive fall title and 10th consecutive super-regional appearance.

Wakayama Shogyou would deny Naga a super-regional bid, defeating them in the 3rd place game 8-6.

Chuugoku Super-Regionals (2 automatic bids + 1 at-large bid?)
Chuugoku has all the representatives determined, but the draw has not been held yet:
  • Okayama - Kanzei, Soushi Gakuen, Okayama Gakugeikan
  • Hiroshima - Onomichi (Yatta!), Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin, Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu
  • Tottori - Tottori Ikuei, Yazu, Tottori Shougyou
  • Shimane - Matsue Kougyou, Taisha, Izumo, Yasugi
  • Yamaguchi - Iwakuni Tokuyama Shoukou, Ube Koujyou
Shikoku Super-Regionals (2 automatic bids + 1 at-large bid?)
In the remaining quarterfinal games, the Takamatsu schools did not fare very well as Takamatsu Kita lost to Marugame Jyousei 8-3 while Takamatsu Shougyou lost to Kagawa Nishi 6-4. The last semifinal saw Kanonji Chuo defeating the only unseeded team to make it this far (although they aren't just any team), Jinsei Gakuen.

Sangawa held on against Marugame Jyousei 6-4 to get an automatic bid. Kanonji Chuo couldn't keep up with Kagawa Nishi, losing 8-1.

So that leaves Sangawa and Kagawa Nishi to fight for the title, while Marugame Jyousei and Kanonji Chuo fight for the last bid.

Once decided, they will join the current qualifiers:
  • Tokushima - Jyounan, Tokushima Shougyou, Komatsushima
  • Ehime - Niita, Imabari Nishi, Matsuyama Shougyou
  • Kochi - Kochi, Meitoku Gijyuku, Tosa
From the field given, it's quite a strong field with a lot of Koushien teams participating. Here too, I'll have a better idea when the draw comes out.

Kyushu Super-Regionals (4 automatic bids)
The final games have been played. In the championship, all the scoring was done in the 5th inning. Kurume Shougyou scored 1 run in the top of the inning, but Kyushu Kousaidai Fuzoku scored 2, giving them their 16th title.

In the 3rd place game, Chikuyou Gakuen never trailed against Touchiku winning 4-2 and more importantly a bid in the super-regional.

Nagasaki (Hasami, Souseikan)
In the quarterfinals, seeded Souseikan had trouble with Keihou, but managed to win 3-2. Meanwhile, fellow teams Nagasaki Nanzan and Hasami had an easier time.

Seihou advanced as well with 7-0 shutout against Kaisei, and was one step away from an automatic bid. But they trailed Souseikan 3-0 as they ran out of time. But Seihou came back to score 4 runs in the top of the 8th and seemed to have it wrapped up.

Souseikan would ruin the party though, as they would mount one final rally, scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th for the sayonara win.

Hasami would not have as much trouble, as they routed Nagasaki Nanzan 10-0 in just 6 innings.

The final would be just as dominating as Hasami would win 12-0 to given them their 7th fall title.

Kagoshima (Kagoshima Jitsugyou, Kagoshima Shougyou)
In the semifinal matches, Kagoshima Jitsugyou continued to shutout their opposition, this time defeating Kagoshima Jyouhou 6-0. Shounan indeed would be their semifinal opponent as they eliminated Kagoshima Jyousai. On the other side, Kamimura Gakuen and Kagoshima Shougyou were in a tight, high-scoring battle with Kagoshima Shougyou prevailing 8-7. It would be an all-Kagoshima affair as they would face Kagoshima Kougyou, who defeated Shibushi 9-2.

Seriously, all of the Best 4 teams are in Kagoshima City!

Kagoshima Jitsugyou would finally yield their first run of the fall tournament, but it was when the game was well in hand - up 4-0 in the bottom of the 8th against Shounan. They would win 5-1 and guarantee a spot in the super-regional.

As for the other semi, Kagoshima Kougyou just couldn't comeback from an early 2-0 deficit, only mananging to keep the deficit at 2 as Kagoshima Shougyou tried to pull away. They traded a pair of runs in the 2nd, and a run in the 5th. Kougyou would pull within 1 with a run in the 7th, but once again they traded 2 runs in the 8th. There would be no douten run for Kougyou though, as they lost 7-6.

Kagoshima Jitsugyou completed the rout taking an 8-0 lead. They must have let up on the gas as they yielded 4 runs in the final. It didn't matter in the end though as Kagoshima Jitsugyou wins their 29th title with an 18-4 win over their commercial compatriots.

Our qualifiers for the super-regional are as follows:
  • Fukuoka - Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku, Kurume Shougyou, Chikuyou Gakuen
  • Saga - Karatsu Shougyou, Ryuukoku
  • Nagasaki - Hasami, Soushikan
  • Oita - Touin, Oita
  • Miyazaki - Nobeoka Gakuen, Saito Shougyou
  • Kumamoto - Shuugakukan, Kyushu Gakuin, Kumamoto Kokufu, Senshuudai Tamana
  • Kagoshima - Kagoshima Jitsugyou, Kagoshima Shougyou
  • Okinawa - Kounan, Okinawa Shougaku
Kounan certainly is the front-runner to go to Koushien. The road though could be frought with traps as teams like Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku, Nobeoka Gakuen, Kyushu Gakuin, Senshuudai Tamana, both Kagoshima schools, and even their fellow qualifier Okinawa Shogaku.

This may be the toughest super-regional out of the entire bunch.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Tournament Update #2

New trip through the prefectures!

Hokkaido Super-Regional (1 automatic bid)
Asahikawa Jitsugyou drew Mukawa for their 1st game (2nd round). Ow. That is a tough start. Then they could face Hakodatedai Yuuto or Hokushou.

Komadai Iwamizawa is also on the same side of the bracket, and could face Hokkai Gakuen Sapporo before possibly facing Asahikawa Jitsugyou in the semifinals.

On the other side Hokkai may only have Hokkaido Sakae as a threat before the semifinals. Sapporo Dai-ichi's only probable opposition lies in Obihiro Ootani. This side of the bracket is by far the easiest.

I cannot really handicap the brackets as there are many good teams and many good matchups. We'll just have to let this play out as far as I'm concerned.

Tohoku Super-Regional
Before we hit the super-regional bracket, let's finish up prefectural play.

The Miyagi final wound up being a pretty good game. After a run in the 2nd and 3rd innings, Tohoku would cough up the lead giving up 3 runs in the 3rd. They bounced right back to take the lead with 2 in the 4th. Sendai Ikuei would hang in there, and in fact tied the game in the 6th. Tohoku would finally shut the door with a run in the 8th and 2 in the 9th, winning the title 7-4.

In Fukushima, the final was dominated by Seikou Gakuin, leading wire-to-wire 10-0.

So with the prefecturals out of the way, how did the draw for the Tohoku Super-Regionals go?

Let's recap the qualifiers:

Aomori - Kousei Gakuin, Aomori Yamada, Hirosaki Kougyou
Iwate - Morioka Chuo, Ichinoseki Gakuin, Hanamaki Higashi
Akita - Oodate Houmei, Yokote Jyounan, Oomagari Kougyou
Miyagi - Tohoku, Sendai Ikuei, Touryou
Yamagata - Sakata Minami, Tsuruoka Higashi, Yamagata Chuo
Fukushima - Seikou Gakuin, Nichidai Tohoku, Shouin Gakuin Fukushima

With 18 teams, four #3 seeds get the short end of the stick having to play an extra game. Those unlucky souls are Oomagari Kougyou vs. Yamagata Chuo , and Hanamaki Higashi vs. Shouin Gakuin Fukushima. The winner of the 1st match get Tohoku, and the winner of the 2nd gets Kousei Gakuin. Have a good time!

Going counter-clockwise from the upper left quadrant, Tohoku looks to be the favorite to reach the semis with no real notable competition except for perhaps Nichidai Tohoku although as noted summer participant Yamagata Chuo is also in their bracket.

In the next quadrant, one would think that Aomori Yamada would be the choice, but Sakata Minami and Ichinoseki Gakuin are in the same bracket. The problem is that both teams are for the most part paper tigers on the big stage, so it's hard to gauge how well they'll do here.

Moving on to the other half of the bracket, Kousei Gakuin is the odds on favorite in the next quadrant. Hanamaki Higashi might have had a boost because of Kikuchi Yuusei, but how long and how effective that bump is seems to be insufficient. Morioka Chuo may pose a threat, but Iwate has not generally produced strong teams.

And in the final quadrant lies Seikou Gakuin. They could easily clash with Sendai Ikuei in the quarterfinals, and all bets are off.

But if I were to pick the semifinals, it would probably be Tohoku vs. Sakata Minami on one side as I'm just not convinced that Aomori Yamada is the real deal anymore and I don't trust Ichinoseki Gakuin as far as I can throw them (Yes I know that makes no sense, but bear with me). The other would probably be Kousei Gakuin versus... versus.... Sendai Ikuei? It's hard to say really, Sendai Ikuei did reach natsu Koushien, and their bench was full of underclassmen. But Seikou Gakuin isn't a bad team, although they haven't really been tested.

Kanto Super-Regional
Ibaraki (Suijyou, Kasumigaura)
Ibaraki had completed prefectural play, but let's see what happened.

Shimotsuma Dai-ni seems to be back, as they handled the first couple of rounds defating Jyousou Gakuin along the way. I kinda liked Kasumigaura and when Tsukuba Shuuei lost to Kashima Gakuen, it opened the door for them to reach the semifinals where they faced Shimotsuma Dai-ni. Kasumigaura scored right off the bat with 2 in the top of the first, and while they yielded a run in the bottom of the 9th, Kasumigaura advanced to the finals.

Suijyou though, has proven to be more than just a one-hit wonder as they flew through the brackets. Sadly for my friend Ken, Mito Sakuranomaki couldn't get out of the 2nd round, losing to Fujishiro 7-2. The two teams would meet up in the semifinals, and Suijyou shutout Fujishiro 5-0 to secure an automatic bid.

In the finals, Kasumigaura took an early 1-0 lead on Suijyou, but late in the game Suijyou would tie and take the lead, winning 3-1 and taking their first ever fall title. They impressed at Koushien, and continue to do so here in the fall.

Quarterfinal games have been played and no surprise who advanced. Sakushin Gakuin and Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku will meet up in one semi, while Sano Nichidai (who just edged Kokugakuin Tochigi 6-5) will meet Hakuoudai Ashikaga.

Gunma (Maebashi Ikuei, Takasaki Shougyou)
In what may be an upset, Maebashi Ikuei defeated Kiryuu Dai-ichi 6-4 to secure a bid. They would face Takasaki Shougyou who scored 4 in the 5th to rally against Takasaki Kenkou Fukushidai Takasaki also by the score of 6-4.

In the final, Takisaki Shougyou kept pace with Maebashi Ikuei, tying the game twice after Maebashi Ikuei tried to pull away. But Maebashi would pull away for good with a run in the bottom of the 6th to win only their 2nd title (their first was 42 years ago).

Saitama (Urawa Gakuin, Kasukabe Kyouei, Washinomiya)
The Saitama tournament became rather two-sided, in other words 2 teams dominated each side of the bracket. Kasukabe Kyouei and Urawa Gakuin could not be stopped. Kasukabe Kyouei's run was even that more impressive in that their ace pitcher is a 1st year. Takezaki Yuuma (竹崎) was named the ace number on the 2008 National K-Ball Chuugakkou (Middle School) team. From what I understand, a K-ball is a rubber ball with dimensions equal to that of a baseball. He sent his team to the finals with a 1-run 8-hit effort against Urawa Jitsugyou. Urawa Gakuin just gained momentum, scoring more runs with each progressive game - 7-0, 8-1, 10-0 and a 12-2 win over Washinomiya in the semifinal game.

Takezaki game Urawa Gakuin a good challenge, giving up just 3 runs in a complete game effort. However, the offense couldn't score for him and they lost 3-0.

No change here. They're still in the Best 8.

Kanagawa (Yokohama, Toukaidai Sagami)
The semifinals held true in that the favorites advanced to the finals. Toukaidai Sagami had no trouble with Tourei Fujisawa 8-2. But Yokohama had to nurse a 2-1 lead over Yokohama Shoudai for 7 innings to advance to the final.

In that final, Yokohama would go out to a 2-0 lead, only to see Sagami eventually tie it in the 7th. But Sagami ace Kondou couldn't keep Yokohama off the board again, and 3 runs in the 9th would be the difference.

Yamanashi (Koufu Kougyou, Nihon Koukuu)

Nihon Koukuu, led by ace Fujimoto throws a 5-hit shutout against Toukaidai Koufu for a 3-0 win an a spot in the super-regionals. Joining them would be Koufu Kougyou, who after tying the game in the bottom of the 8th, gave it up, then rallied with 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th for a 7-6 sayonara win.

In the final, Nihon Koukuu couldn't handle Koufu Kougyou, getting shutout 5-0 and giving them the 17th fall title.

Tokyo Super-Regionals
The Tokyo Super-Regionals are underway with 1st round games completed.

Perhaps the most unfortunate (or fortunate if you were a non-major school) draw of the entire bracket was a first-round match between Teikyou and Kokushikan! Such is the life of random draw brackets.

In the game ace Itou Takurou would actually be pulled, after it appears Kokushikan scored 5 runs off of him. Teikyou's offense would never recover and perhaps shockingly, their chance at a senbatsu appearance goes up in smoke.

In other games, Kanto Dai-ichi shutout Toritsu Dai-yon Shougyou 3-0, Shuutoku handled Toritsu Fujinomori 6-3, Toua Gakuen defeated Toritsu Sakuramachi 9-1, and Meijidai Meiji, Meijidai Nakano and Meijidai Nakano-Hachiouji both advanced as well. Meanwhile Seiritsu Gakuen lost to Toritsu Shouwa 6-3.

Teams that will open prefectural play include Nichidai-ni, Nichidai-san, Waseda Gakuin and Obirin.

Tokai Super-Regionals
Shizuoka (Seisei, Iwata Higashi, Shizuoka)
The final games were played and Seisei would come from behind with 3 in the 6th inning to defeate Iwata Higashi 4-3 for their 3rd title. Meanwhile, Nirayama would be denied a bid losing in the 3rd place game to Shizuoka 3-1.

Aichi (Aikoudai Meiden, Kyouei, Toyota Nishi)
Aikoudai Meiden would fall behind to Kyouei 3-1 in the bottom of the 5th, but answered tying the game in the next half-inning. It wouldn't be until the 9th when Ichiro's alma mater would score 2 to take the title 5-3. It is just Meiden's 4th ever title, and 1st in 20 years.

Toyota Nishi would secure the last bid with a convincing 7-0 win over Aichi.

Well, one side was expected. Mie and Komono reached the semifinals with 3-2 wins. And when they clashed, Mie opened a can of whoop-ass on Komono, winning 10-1 in 7 innings.

On the other side, Shiroko exacted some sort of revenge on Inabe Sougou Gakuen eliminating them 2-1 after they were eliminated 6-3 in the summer final.

Matsusaka liked that theme, and when they squared off against Shiroko, they maybe had that 3-0 loss in the 2nd round of the summer tournament in the back of their minds.

Things didnt't go initially as planned though as they fell behind 3-1. But a run in the 6th, followed by a run in the top of the 9th would tie the game and send it into extras. 2 innings later, Matsusaka would push through the go-ahead, and eventual winning run, giving them an automatic bid.

So Matsusaka and Mie will play for the top seed, while Shiroko and Komono will fight for the 3rd bid.

Hokushinesu Super-Regionals
Well, the draws came out and the main players, Saku Chousei and Matsushou Gakuen were placed on opposite sides of the bracket.

Other teams I follow included:

- Ueda Nishi, who lost to Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri 7-1 in the quarterfinals.
- Oomachi, who lost to Chikyuu Kankyou 2-1 in the first round.

Back to the tournament, Saku Chousei advanced to the Best 4 with back-to-back 4-1 victories, and will face Iiyama Kita for an automatic bid. Matsushou Gakuen with 7-4 and 4-2 wins, will face the aforementioned Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri in the semifinals.

Nihon Bunri, with a 4-1 win over Niitsu Minami is the front-runner to win the Niigata prefecturals. Hokuetsu stands between them and an automatic bid. Meanwhile, Tookamachi, who didn't have a team in the summer prefectural qualifying (and I don't see any punishments handed down on them) is now in the Best 4 with an 8-0 win over Shibata Nougyou. A win over Sado in the semifinals will give them an automatic bid!

Oddly enough the semi-final between Toyama Dai-ichi and Sakurai was a rematch of the semi-final in the summer. In the summer, Toyama Dai-ichi defeated Sakurai 6-1. This time around though, they would rally after giving up 3 runs in the 1st two innings, with 2 in the 2nd, 5th and 7th innings to advance to the finals with a 6-3 win.

In the other semi, Shin-Minato was relentless on the Fukuoka pitching staff, scoring runs in all but one inning and winning 15-8.

With all 4 teams advancing, there was no 3rd place game, so the last game would be the final where Sakurai outlasted Shin-Minato 4-3 for their 2nd title.

Ishikawa is in the Best 4, and as expected Kanazawa and Yuugakukan will face off in one semifinal. In the other side, Komatsu couldn't last, losing to Kanazawa Sakuragaoka 6-1. They will meet Hakui Kougyou, who defeated both seeded teams in its quadrant.

Wow, what a semifinal for Fukui. On one side, Fukui Shougyu took a 4-0 1st inning lead over Tsuruga Kehi into the late innings... and then the bottom fell out suddenly. 3 runs in the 8th and 7(!) in the 9th for a 10-4 lead! Even better, Fukushou mounted a rally! They only scored 3 to fall 10-7, but that was a packed final 2 innings!

Not to be outdone, Nyuu certainly was the underdog against Fukui Koudai Fukui. And they were down 3-0 after 3 innings. They pulled within 1 in the 4th, only to see Fukui score 2 in the bottom of the 6th.

But nobody told Nyuu that they had no shot. In the 7th, they score 3 tying the game!!!

And the game would go into extras....

...and continue into extras....

...and end in a 5-5 draw!

So Nyuu certainly showed its tenacity in achieving a draw against a team such as Fukui Koudai Fukui.

...but they would have to come back and play again. It's one thing to win a game against a favorite, it's another thing to try and put back-to-back games.

Nyuu actaully jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st, and it held for a couple of innings. Fukui would score 2 in the 4th and not look back. While Nyuu would finally respond with 3 in the 7th, by that time those runs merely made it 8-4 with 2 innings left to play. A run on each side finished the scoring and Nyuu would fall 9-5.

So it'll be Tsuruga Kehi and Fukui Koudai Fukui in the final, while hopeful Nyuu will play Fukui Shougyou for the 3rd bid. (Personally, I'm rooting for Nyuu. I'd like to see them advance at least to the super-regional.

Kinki Super-Regional
Shiga (Hachiman Shougyou, Murayama)
In the Shiga semifinals, Hachiman Shougyou outlasted Minakuchi, scoring the sayonara run in the 10th to win 2-1. Joining them into the super-regionals would be Murayama as ace Iwanaga strikes out 10 in a 1-0 win over Kousen.

It was all gravy for Murayama, who qualified for their first ever super-regional appearance. So losing 3-1 to Hachiman Shougyou wasn't all bad. For Hachiman, this is their 13th title and 1st in 6 years.

Quarterfinal games have been completed, and as expected Fukuchiyama Seibi advanced, but only by a 2-1 margin over Hokuryou. Next up in the semifinals is Tounan, who dispatched Momoyama 6-0.

Kyoto Gaidai Nishi handled Kita-Saga 12-5, and will now face Kyoto Seishou for a spot in the finals.

Osaka will be one of the last prefectures to finish, being only in the Round of 8 now. Well, it's really the 4 block finals, but anywho....

- Block A final will be summer participant Riseisha facing Taisha Gakuindai.
- Block B has unknowns Kansai Souka meeting Uenomiya Taishi.
- Block C has Hatsushiba Ritsumeikan clashing with Osaka Touin (who defeated Konkou Osaka soundly 8-1)
- Block D has half of the final set. Osaka Shoudai will square off against the winner of the PL Gakuen - Higashi-Osakadai Kashiwara.

So, in the one real quarterfinal matchup, Shinkou Gakuen shutout Touyoudai Himeji 3-0 to advance. They'll face Kobe Kokusaidai Fukzoku, while Kakogawa Kita meets summer representative Houtoku Gakuen.

Tenri and Chiben Gakuen continue to advance on each side of the bracket. Kooriyama is also alive. That's all you need to know until someone gets eliminated. Seriously.

As expected. Chiben Wakayama routed Kaseda 11-0. Wakayama Shougyou is next, follow by probably a match with Shiritsu Wakayama (who will face Naga).

Chuugoku Super-Regionals
Okayama (Kanzei, Soushi Gakuen, Okayama Gakugeikan)

Kanzei defeated Okayama Kyousei 3-1 to advance to the finals where they met Soushi Gakuen who defeated Okayama Gakugeikan. And 10 runs in the first 2 innings was more than enough for Kanzei in a 17-1 rout in the finals, giving them the title! Okayama Gakugeikan took care of business with a 10-1 win over Okayama Kyousei for the 3rd place bid.

Yamaguchi (Iwakuni, Tokuyama Skoukou, Ube Koujyou)
Well, I was wrong. Almost all the teams I mentioned lost in the first round.

Ube Koujyou and Iwakuni advanced with 11-0 victories, while the Ube specialty schools lost - Tokuyama Shoukou defeated Ube Shougyou 5-3, while Ube Kougyou lost to Yanai 7-6.

The semifinal games were really close as Tokuyama Shoukou eliminated the last Ube team 2-1 while Iwakuni rallied from down 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th for a sayonara 3-2 win.

The final wound up being anti-climatic as Iwakuni scored 6 in the first on their way to a 12-0 win and their 11th title. Ube Koujyou defeated Yanai 2-1 for the 3rd bid.

Shikoku Super-Regional
Only one Best 8 game has been played so far, and unfortunately for Eimei, Sangawa outscored them 10-6 to eliminate them from fall play.

Kyushu Super-Regional
Fukuoka (Kurume Shougyou/Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku, Chikuyou Gakuen/Touchiku)
Well, those regional finals turned out to be interesting.

In the Hokubu Regionals, Kyushu Kokusadai Fuzoku held a 5-1 lead going into the late innings, when suddenly Touchiku made a comeback. A run in the 8th wasn't too bad, but when they scored 2 in the 9th to pull within 1, it certainly gave them a scare. That's as close as they would get though as Kyushu Kokusai advances to the finals.

Over in the Nanbu Regionals, Kurume Shougyou and Chikuyou Gakuen would exchange leads each inning, with Chikuyou getting a 4-3 lead after the 6th inning. But in the top of the 9th, Kurume would tie the game at 4. The game would head into extras where Kurume would shock Chikuyou with a run in the 12th.

So the matchups you see above will determine the bids from Fukuoka.

The opening round of the prefectural tournament has started, and of note is Seihou advancing over Shimabara 11-1, and Nagasaki Nichidai defeating Nagasaki Shougyou 5-4. Seihou will face Kaisei (No, not that Kaisei), while Nagasaki Nichidai will play Hasami.

Kumamoto (Kyushu Gakuin/Kumamoto Kokufu, Senshuudai Tamana/Shuugakukan)
The other 2 qualifiers were determined as Senshuudai Tamana shuts out Kumamoto Nishi 2-0, while Shuugakukan edges Hitsuyuukan 2-1.

Oita (Touin, Oita)
In the final, Touin and Oita traded runs back and forth, but Touin looked to have the game in hand after scoring 4 in the 5th. But Oita would make a 2nd half rally, pulling within a run in the 9th inning. They would get no closer though as Touin wins only their 3rd title.

Miyazaki (Saito Shougyou/Nobeoka Gakuen)
The other quarterfinal matches were played, and Miyazaki Kita shocks Miyazaki Nichidai 6-4 to reach the semifinals. Nobeoka Gakuen blew away Miyakonojyou 10-1, and seeded Houshou was shutout by Miyakonojyou Izumigaoka 4-0.

Unknown Saito Shougyou secures a spot in the super-regionals, having an answer for every score by Miyazaki Kita, winning 5-2. Nobeoka Gakuen surprisingly handles Miyakonojyou Izumigaoka 11-4 in 7 innings for their spot. All that's left is the title.

Kagoshima Jitsugyou has yet to give up a run in the fall tournament, and will play unknown Kagoshima Jyouhou for a spot in the semis. Shounan could be their next opponent should they get past Kagoshima Jyousai.

On the other half of the bracket, well-known Kamimura Gakuen and Kagoshima Shougyou meet up in one quarterfinal, while Kagoshima Kougyou and Shibushi meet in the last quarterfinal.

Okinawa (Kounan, Okinawa Shogaku)
My God, can anyone stop Kounan? In the final against a hardy Okinawa Shogaku squad, Kawamitsu Takaya throws a 4-hitter in a 6-0 win! A 4-hitter!!

Kounan in its 6 games outscores their competition 34-2, with those 2 runs given up against Koza. The real test will be the super-regional, but man, they STILL look impressive.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Tournament Recap

After taking a break, and being inundated by work, I'm back to review the Fall Tournament which in many cases, are in the final stages in prefectural play.

I didn't have the time this time around to do brackets for the fall tournament, my apologies for that.

Before I start though, a quick note on Hifumi Shinta. At the matsuri Uwajimaya was holding, I talked to a food representative who was up from California. We got to talking and I mentioned Hifumi Shinta. Turns out his switch to a sidearm delivery was as a result of a deadball he delivered that hit a player on the head. Apparently shaken by that, he switched to a sidearm delivery. Better to hit someone on the thigh or leg than the head.

But if the summer was any indication, his control is nothing to be desired.

Hokkaido (1 automatic bid)
Regional play has concluded with the following teams qualifying for the prefectural tournament:

Sapporo - Sapporo Dai-ichi, Hokkai, Sapporo Kousei and Hokkai Gakuen Sapporo
Muroran - Mukawa, Hokkaido Sakae
Hakodate - Hakodate Shougyou, Hakodatedai Yuuto
Otaru - Hokushou
Sorachi - Takigawa Nishi, Komadai Iwamizawa
Asahikawa - Asahikawa Jitsugyou, Asahikawa Kougyou
Nayoro - Wakkanai Ootani
Kitami - Engaru, Memanbetsu
Tokachi - Shirakaba Gakuen, Obihiro Ootani
Kushine - Kushiro Hokuyou, Kushiro Kougyou

All of these teams are for the most part regulars, with the exception of Memanbetsu who is making their 1st ever appearance. Go Memanbetsu!

Komadai Tomakomai just cannot get their team back in gear, losing in the block semifinals to Muroran Ootani 7-2.

Aomori (3 bids to the Tohoku Super-Regionals - Kousei Gakuin, Aomori Yamada, Hirosaki Kougyou)
I was happy to see Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi make it to Koushien, although they didn't really last very long. They automatically got a pass to the prefectural tournament and defeated Noheji 6-1 to advance to the best 8. But they couldn't get past Aomori Higashi, losing 4-1.

Aomori Higashi then faced Kousei Gakuin who had pretty much rolled through the field. They were then rolled 8-1.

On the other side, Aomori Yamada had done the same and continued the trend against Hirosaki Kougyou shutting them out 3-1.

That gave both Kousei Gakuin and Aomori Yamada automatic bids to the super-regional. But the team who would take top spot and earn a game against a (supposed) easier opponent would be Kousei Gakuin in an impressive 6-0 shutout over Aomori Yamada.

And the final spot would go to Hirosaki Kougyou, who had no mercy on the newcomer Aomori Higashi 8-1.

Akita (3 bids to the Tohoku Super-Regionals - Oodate Houmei, Yokote Jyounan, Oomagari Kougyou)
Summer participant Noshiro Shougyou managed to advance out of the regionals, but lost in the 1st round of the prefectural to Nishime 4-0.

The Best 4 featured some new faces as Yokote and Yokote Jyounan met in one semi while Oomagari Kougyou and Oodate Houmei face off in the other. Yokote Jyounan scored in the late innings to defeat Yokote 4-3 and Oodate Houmei gave Oomagari Kougyou a 2 run head start before immediately scoring 3 to take the lead and didn't look back, winning 5-2.

In the championship Oodate Houmei would win only it's 2nd fall prefectural title shutting out Yokote Jyounan 4-0 while Oomagari Kougyou would secure the final spot, defeating Yokote 7-3.

Yamagata (3 bids to the Tohoku Super-Regionals - Sakata Minami, Tsuruoka Higashi, Yamagata Chuo)
Yamagata's final 4 should be of no surprise as Sakata Minami, Nichidai Yamagata, Tsuruoka Higashi, and summer representative Yamagata Chuo.

In perhaps in a bit of an oddity, Sakata Minami and Nichidai Yamagata were involved in a slugfest game, yet while Sakata Minami never trailed, Nichidai Yamagata always had some response to Sakata's offense. It wasn't enough though as Sakata would win 10-8. Mean while, Tsuruoka Higashi had scored 4 in the 7th to take a 3 run lead late, but Yamagata Chuo wasn't going to go down without a fight, and in fact tied the game in the bottom of the 9th. It would stay tied until the 14th inning where Tsuruoka would break the deadlock for good.

So while Tsuruoka Higashi had earned an automatic bid, the 14-inning affair would theoretically give the advantage to Sakata Minami for the top seed. Yet the game was tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the 8th. Suddenly, the offense on both sides switched on. Sakata would score in the 8th taking the 2-1 lead with just 3 outs to go. In those 3 outs, Tsuruoka Higashi scored 2 to take the lead themselves! The final act though saw Sakata Minami score 2 of their own, earning the sayonara victory 4-3!

The 3rd place game was just as close as Yamagata Chuo denied Nichidai Yamagata a spot in the super-regionals, winning 6-5.

Iwate (3 bids to the Tohoku Super-Regionals - Morioka Chuo, Ichinoseki Gakuin, Hanamaki Higashi)
Iwate's final 4 should be of no surprise to kokoyakyu followers - Morioka Chuo, Moriokadai Fuzoku, Ichinoseki Gakuin and Hanamaki Higashi.

Each team though (with the exception of Hanamaki Higashi) had a scare in the prefecturals. Morioka Chuo edged Kuji Higashi 2-1, Moriokadai Fuzoku beat Mizusawa Kougyou 4-3, and Ichinoseki Gakuin had trouble in the first round but managed to beat Morioka Dai-san also by a score of 4-3.

In the battle of the Moriokas, Moriokadai Fuzoku achieved a 2-1 lead late against Morioka Chuo, but Morioka Chuo's Ookou(?) Ryousuke would hit a sayonara homerun off off Moriokadai ace Tateshita for an automatic bid. Ichinoseki Gakuin had a lead against Hanamaki Higashi, but let them get back into the game with runs in the 6th and 7th innings. However, Ichinoseki Gakuin would prevail in the 10th with a sayonara run.

But Ichinoseki Gakuin still cannot shake the just not good enough tag as they are shutout 7-0 to Morioka Chuo in the final. And to add insult to injury, Moriokadai Fuzoku is edged out by Hanamaki Higashi 5-4 for the final bid.

Miyagi (3 bids to the Tohoku Super-Regionals - Sendai Ikuei/Tohoku, Touryou)
While the order of the 3 bids have not been determined yet, (they're playing the final as I write this), we do know who has qualified.

Summer representative Sendai Ikuei secured their bid with a 5-inning rout of Furukawa Kougyou 16-4. Furukawa Kougyou by the way, defeated Rifu 9-7 in the quarterfinals.

In the other semi, Yu Darvish's Tohoku had a 3-0 lead on Touryou - only to see it evaporate in the last 2 innings. The momentum for Touryou couldn't push them over the top as Tohoku regained control, scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th.

The final spot would go to Touryou as they defeated the Furukawa squad 5-3.

Fukushima (3 bids to the Tohoku Super-Regionals - Seikou Gakuin/Nichidai Tohoku, Shouin Gakuin Fukushima)
The semifinals in Fukushima appeared to be blowout possibilities as Seikou Gakuin looked to roll into the Tohoku Super-regionals with a win against Shouin Gakuen Fukushima while Haramachi would certainly have a heck of a time against Nichidai Tohoku.

Indeed both were blowouts as the favorites won 12-3 and 8-2 respectively securing their spots in the super-regional. And the 3rd place game has already been played, with Shoiun Gakuen edging Haramachi 3-2.

Ibaraki (2 bids to the Kanto Super-Regionals)
Ibaraki has their draw for the prefecturals. Suijyou looks to show their efforts last summer weren't just a fluke. Standing in the way are teams such as Tsukuba Shuuei, Kasumigaura, Shimotsuma Dai-ni, Mito Sakuranomaki (which Ken likes because of their old style M's hat and Mets-style jerseys) and Jyousou Gakuin.

Tochigi (2 bids to the Kanto Super-Regionals)
Tochigi is into the Best 8. And of the 8 seeded teams, only Tochigi Kougyou did not make it losing to Hakuoudai Ashikaga, certainly not a weak team. Those seeded teams that remain include teams such as Sakushin Gakuin, Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku and summer representative Sano Nichidai.

Gunma (2 bids to the Kanto Super-Regionals)
Gunma is in the semifinal stages and summer representative Maebashi Shougyou lost in the round of 16 to Nishi-Oura 10-6, who in turn got shutout against Kiryuu Dai-ichi 7-0. They'll face Maebashi Ikuei in one semi.

The other semifinal has Takasaki Kenkou Fukushidai Takasaki versus Takasaki Shougyou.

Saitama (2 bids to the Kanto Super-Regionals)
Saitama has finished the 2nd round of their prefectural tournament reaching the round of 16. Summer participant Honjyou Dai-ichi had drawn a seeded spot opposite Kasukabe Kyouei, yet fell to Oomiya Higashi 1-0 in their first game!

Ageo and Urawa Gakuin were the seeded teams on the other side of the bracket. And Ageo would also fall in the first round, losing to Keiou Shiki 7-6.

Other notable teams who had made it to prefecturals were Honjyou (who will face Kasukabe Kyouei in the next round), Hanasaki Tokuharu (who lost to Shiritsu Kawagoe 8-2), and Seibou Gakuin (who will face the aforementioned Shiritsu Kawagoe).

Chiba (2 bids to the Kanto Super-Regionals)
Well, if we're talking about Chiba, the first team I always talk about is Narashino.

Sadly, they lost to Senshuudai Matsudo 1-0 in the round of 16... Bah.

Narita, without ace Nakagawa, lost in the 2nd round to Seibudai Chiba 4-3. They'll face Toukaidai Urayasu. On the same side sits Chiba Meitoku and Chiba Keizaidai Fuzoku.

On the other side we have Kisaradzu Sougou vs. Chiba Eiwa (who had a 4-4 tie against then defeated Shiritsu Kashiwa 6-5) and the aforementioned Senshuudai Matsudo vs. Chiba Kokusai.

Tokyo (1 automatic bid)
All 24 blocks have their bids in for the Tokyo Super-Regional. Teams that have qualified are (Notable in bold):

Block 1 - Waseda Gakuin, Toritsu Katakura
Block 2 - Eimeikan, Toritsu Chitosegaoka
Block 3 - Meijidai Nakano, Toua Gakuen
Block 4 - Ikubunkan, Meijidai Nakano-Hachiouji
Block 5 - Nichidai-san, Toritsu Fujimori
Block 6 - Nissho Gakushadai Fuzoku, Toritsu Shouwa
Block 7 - Toritsu Houya, Hachiouji Jissen
Block 8 - Souka, Kokugakuin Kugayama
Block 9 - Nichidai-ni, Adachi Gakuen
Block 10 - Setagaya Gakuen, Nichidai Buzan
Block 11 - Kousei Gakuen, Toritsu Dai-yon Shougyou
Block 12 - Shuutoku, Seiritsu Gakuen
Block 13 - Jissen Gakuen, Tokyo Shidai Fuzoku
Block 14 - Meijidai Meiji, St. Paul Gakuen
Block 15 - Houseidai, Komaba Gakuen
Block 16 - Obirin (Oberlin), Toritsu Akagawa Shougyou
Block 17 - Teikyou, Toritsu Sakuramachi
Block 18 - Kanto Dai-ichi, Chuodai Suginami
Block 19 - Toritsu Fussa, Seikei
Block 20 - Toukaidai Sugao, Toritsu Choufu Kita
Block 21 - Toukaidai Takanawadai, Toritsu Ooizumi
Block 22 - Tortitsu Edogawa, Toritsu Katsushikano
Block 23 - Hachiouji, Yasuda Gakuen
Block 24 - Toritsu Kunitachi, Kokushikan

But wait, what about Waseda Jitsugyou? Well, they lost in the first round in block 3B to Toua Gakuen 8-7.

Kanagawa (2 bids to the Kanto Super-Regionals)
Kanagawa is in the best 4, and with 2 bids, they could go to the favorites. Toukaidai Sagami has not lost a step without ace Hifumi, reaching the semifinals with ease. Tourei Fujisawa is the only thing standing in their way of a spot in the super-regionals. Meanwhile, Yokohama looks to breakthrough finally with a win over Yokohama Shoudai. Games will be played next weekend.

Yamanashi (2 bids to the Kanto Super-Regionals)
Yamanashi is in the Best 4, and my favorite team from here, Nihon Koukuu, is still in it (Hooray!). They meet Toukaidai Koufu in the semifinal who is no pushover. They defeated seeded Hikawa and Nichidai Meisei.

In the other semifinal Teikyou Dai-san looks to reach the super-regional with a win over Koufu Kougyou (who upset seeded Minobu and Yamanashi Gakuindai Fuzoku).

Shizuoka (3 bids to the Tokai Super-Regionals - Seisei/Iwata Higashi)
Shizuoka is in the Best 4. Sadly, the prefectural draw prevented an all-Tokoha final as they were on the same side. And then summer representative Tachibana fell to Nirayama 6-4 in the 2nd round, and Kikugawa was not that far behind, losing to Seisei 4-2 in the quarterfinals.

Seisei would edge out Nirayama 1-0 in the semifinals, clinching a super-regional bid. On the other side, relative unknown Iwata Higashi defeated Shizuoka 3-1 to give them an bid.

That leaves Shizuoka and Nirayama to battle it out for the last bid.

Nagano (3 bids to the Hokushinetsu Super-Regionals)
Nagano's field of 16 is set although the draw hasn't been done yet. Teams that have qualified are (in order of finish, important teams in bold):

Hokushinchihou - Nagano, Shinonoi, Nagano Shougyou, Iiyama Kita
Toushinchihou - Saku Chousei, Ueda Nishi, Chikyuu Kankyou, Ueda Someyaoka
Chuushinshihou - Toukai Dai-san, Ina Yayoigaoka, Okaya Minami, Matsukawa
Nanshinchihou - Matsushou Gakuen, Oomachi (Yay!), Matsumoto Dai-ichi, Tokyo Shidai Shiojiri

As for Matsumoto Kougyou, they lost in their second game to Oomachi 7-5.

Niigata (3 bids to the Hokushinetsu Super-Regionals)
Niigata is in the quarterfinal stages. Summer representative Niigata Meikun made it to the round of 16, but lost to Nagaoka Oote 3-2.

Facing Nagaoka Oote will be Hokuetsu. Other matchups include Nihon Bunri against Niitsu Minami, Shibata Nougyou versus Tookamachi, and Teikyou Nagaoka squaring off against Sado.

Aichi (3 bids to the Toukai Super-Regionals - Aikoudai Meiden/Kyouei)
Chuukyoudai Chuukyou after their manager announced his retirement loses in the 3rd round to finalist Kyouei 8-7. That actually would the be only speed bump for Kyouei as they breezed through the rest of their games, culminating in a 13-1 win over Toyota Nishi for an automatic bid. Battling for bragging rights will be Ichiro's Aikoudai Meiden, who had a close call with Obu in the 2nd round winning 7-6, but cruising otherwise. Aichi will square off with Toyota Nishi for the final bid.

Gifu (3 bids to the Toukai Super-Regionals - Oogaki Nichidai, Gifu Dai-ichi, Chuukyou)
In an interesting turn of events, both Kenritsu and Shiritsu Gifu Shougyou lost in the first round of the prefectural tournament (Gifu is different in that their regionals are round-robin which couldn't be done in most prefectures due to the sheer numbers of teams).

That left the brackets open and Oogaki Nichidai walked right in, yielding only one run up until the final. Gifu Dai-ichi was the other beneficiary, not having to deal with any major competition. Oogaki Nichidai would win it's 2nd fall title defeating Gifu Dai-ichi 4-2. The final team to benefit would be Chuukyou, who lost to Oogaki Nichidai (ace Kassai not yielding a walk), but defeated Gifu Kougyou 2-0 for the last spot.

Toki Shougyou by the way, was one of Oogaki Nichidai's victims, although they only lost 2-0.

Mie (3 bids to the Toukai Super-Regionals)
As documented last year, Mie is also a different case where teams have multiple elimination stages. This allows for a lot of the regulars a good opportunity to advance, as evidenced by teams such as Mie, summer representative Inabe Sougou Gakuen, Uji-Yamada Shougyou, and Komono. As expected, all of these teams advanced to the quarterfinals. Joining them is Yokkaichi, Yokkaichi Minami, Matsuzaka, and Shiroko.

Toyama (4 bids to the Hokushinetsu Super-Regionals - Shin-Minato/Sakurai, Fukuoka/Toyama Dai-ichi)
Since Toyama is hosting the Hokushinetsu Super-Regionals, they get an extra bid. And while they haven't finished the prefecturals we have our 4 participants.

Summer representative Tonami Kougyou couldn't get out of the 3rd round, losing to Kureha 8-3 who in turn lost in a barnburner to seeded Fukuoka 11-10 which game them an automatic bid.

Takaoka Shougyou was probably a favorite to advance, but they were shutdown by Shin-Minato 4-1 to give them an automatic bid. A 15-8 win over Fukuoka gives them the opportunity for an easy 1st round.

On the other side, unseeded Sakurai had the benefit of a weak bracket and advanced to the semifinals (and an automatic bid) with an 11-3 win over Takaoka Dai-ichi. But then they shocked Takaoka Dai-ichi 6-3 for a chance at the prefecture title.

Ishikawa (4 bids to the Hokushinetsu Super-Regional)
Ishikawa is only in the round of 16, but of those 16 summer participant Yuugakukan is still alive. Of course, with only 49 teams, they've only played one game against Kanazawa Hokuryou, winning 15-1.

Other notable teams include Komatsu and Kanazawa.

Fukui (3 bids to the Hokushinetsu Super-Regional)
Fukui is already in the Best 4 having only 29 teams and all. Man, really?? I'm amazed at how population movements have severely affected rural prefectures...

Anyway... 3 of the 4 teams are household names - Tsuruga Kehi, Fukui Shougyou, and Fukui Koudai Fukui. The 4th? Nyuu. No, this isn't like nya~~~n like Azu-nyan, it really is a school name.

Shiga (2 bids to the Kinki Super-Regional)
It's tough being in the Kinki region. While most are allowed 3 teams, you generally want the top spot, because heaven forbid you face a team like Fukuchiyama Seibi.

We're in the best 4 now, and none of them is summer participant Kita-Ootsu. In fact, they lost in the first round to Hieizan 3-2! Hikone Higashi made it to the quarterfinals, but lost to Minakuchi 4-3. They'll face surprise team Hachiman Shougyou who defeated Hieizan on the way to the semifinals.

On the other side sits Murayama, who made a deep run in the summer but lost to eventual representative Kita-Ootsu, and relative unknown Kousen. They too lost to Kita-Ootsu in the summer 14-4. But they can't be just lucky though, as they defeated Oumi 13-0. 13-0!

Kyoto (3 bids to the Kinki Super-Regional)
Kyoto gets back Fukuchiyama Seibi, who self-imposed sanctions prevented them from participating in the summer. You know they're motivated to kick some tail.

Sure enough, they are in the Best 8 with little trouble.

One of my irrationally favorite teams, Kyoto Subaru, made it to the "A" zone final only to lose to Hokuryou and then lose to Kyoto Ryouyou in the repechage (Kyoto uses zones and a double-elimination format to determine who advances).

Going back to the Best 8, the other teams joining Fukuchiyama Seibi are the aforementioned Hokuryou, Tounan, Momoyama, Kyoto Seishou, Kyoto Shouei, Kita-Saga and the summer representative Kyoto Gaidai Nishi.

Osaka (3 bids to the Kinki Super-Regional)
Osaka also divvies up the brackets to 4 regions, with the winners of each region advancing. Riseisha is still in it and is in a relatively easy bracket. Only possible challenger is Toukaidai Gyousei.

Other teams looking for a spot on include Haruhigaoka, Tennoji, Konkou Osaka and Osaka Touin.

Hyogo (3 bids to the Kinki Super-Regional)
OMG! My Nishinomiya Kita made it to the prefectural tournament! Sure they lost to Tatsuno 6-4 in the 1st round, but perhaps there's a Haruhi effect... eh? Eh?....

Never mind...

Houtoku Gakuen gets a free pass to the prefecturals and have not had much trouble advancing through the bracket and are a part of the Best 8. They will face Ikawadani next.

Joining them is Kakogawa Kita (who will face Akashi), Shinkou Gakuen and Touyoudai Himeji (who will face each other), and Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku (who will face Sumoto).

Nara (2 teams to the Kinki Super-Regional)
Nara gets part of the short end, receiving only 2 bids.

Hopefully Tenri is one of them, having outscored their opponents 57-0 in their 3 games. Tomigaoka will look to avoid the same fate...

The other 2 contenders are Chiben Gakuen (who won their first game and will face Takatori Kokusai), and Kooriyama (who also won their first game and will meet Houryuuji Kokusai next).

It's almost not worth mentioning other teams because those three have dominated the scene in Nara.

Wakayama (2 teams to the Kinki Super-Regional)
Wakayama's format allows the top 4 teams as determined by the federation to advance to the Best 8. So Chiben Wakayama, Shiritsu Wakayama, Ito, and Kinkidai Shinguu get a free pass.

Minoshima only got through one game in A Block before losing to Keifu. Wakayama Kougyou would advance out of the block. Kouyou was in a barnburned in B Block against Taikyuu winning 16-10, but lost to Kiokan 4-2. Naga would advance out of B Block. Wakayama Shougyou and Kasada advanced out of C & D Blocks.

Chiben Wakayama is almost always a shoe-in to make it, but they will have to face either Kinkidai Shinguu or Wakayama Shougyou in the semis. Probably the winner of the Shiritsu Wakayama and Wakayama Kougyou game will earn the other bid from the other half of the bracket.

Tottori (3 teams to the Chuugoku Super-Regionals - Tottori Ikuei, Yazu, Tottori Shougyou)
As I was looking through the field, I thought, "Wonder how Kurayoshi Kita is doing..." But they weren't anywhere to be seen. Truth be told, they weren't in the summer tournament either. Turns out that they were suspended for the entire year as punishment for violence within the team. There had to be serious things going on for them to receive a full-year ban.

Summer participant Yazu had only one hiccup on their way to the finals, and that was a game against Kurayoshi Higashi whom they tied 2-2 before finally winning 3-2 the next day.

Tottori Ikuei had the benefit of Tottori Jyouhoku being upset by Tottori Shougyou and was able to run the table to the finals. Tottori Ikuei used a 3-run 7th inning to defeat Yazu and take the top spot. Tottori Shougyou earns the last spot with a 5-4 win over Yonago Higashi.

Shimane (4 teams to the Chuugoku Super-Regionals - Matsue Shougyou, Taisha, Izumo, Yasugi)
Kaisei, who is now in their first full year without Nonomura-kantoku, does not get off to a good start, losing to Yagami 1-0 in their first game. Iwamichisuikan suffers the same fate in a 5-4 loss to Taisha.

With those two teams gone, the field opens up. The final 2 teams in the Best 4 in the summer, Ooda and Hamada lost in the 2nd flight of games, Ooda to Izumo 13-0, and Hamada to Matsue Shougyou 4-3.

Taisha and Yasugi advance out of the 2nd flight as well, guaranteeing all 4 teams a spot in the Super-Regionals.

The only question that remained was order. Taisha rallied from down 2-0 to tie it in the bottom of the 9th, and won in the 10th inning. Matsue Shougyou had no trouble with Izumo, scoring 4 in the 1st and never looking back, winning 10-3.

And in the final, Taisha gave Matsue Shougyou a run for its money, but Matsue Shougyou pulled away late to win 7-5 and take their 1st title in 16 years. In fact all the teams who qualified have not been in more than 15 years, with the exception of Izumo who last went 6 years ago. For Yasugi, it's only their 2nd trip, their 1st being 55 years ago! Even more impressive is that they only have 20 members!

Okayama (3 teams to the Chuugoku Super-Regionals)
Okayama is almost done with their prefectural tournament. Summer participant Kurashiki Kougyou easily made it out of round-robin play, but lost in the first round to Soushi Gakuen 5-3. They will face Okayama Gakugeikan who had a Best 4 run in the summer.

Kurashiki Kougyou also made it to prefecturals, but lost in the quarterfinals to Okayama Kyousei 7-5. Okayama Kyousei will face hard-luck Kanzei in their semifinal.

Hiroshima (3 teams to the Chuugoku Super-Regionals - Onomichi, Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin, Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu)
By reading who qualified, you can tell that neither of the major teams, Kouryou or Jyousuikan, made it to the Super-Regionals. That's a bit surprising.

Now, it's not that they were utter failures. Jyousuikan advanced into the Best 8, but was stonewalled by Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin 7-4. Kouryou took it one step further, reaching the Best 4, but too lost to Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin by a score of 5-4! This run comes after losing to Jyousuikan in the 3rd round of the summer tournament 5-0.

With both of the powerhouses on the same side of the bracket, that meant that a lucky team would get an automatic bid.

It would be the perfect situation for Onomichi, who has been a solid team in the last couple of years, but never able to break through. After a shaky 6-5 win over Kinkidai Fukuyama in the 2nd round, Onomichi rolled through the field reaching the finals with a 16-6 win over Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu.

And in the finals, Onomichi used a 3-run 2nd inning to win 4-2 and take their first ever fall title, and will go to the Chuugoku super-regional for only the 2nd time. Their last appearance was in 1973.

But perhaps the biggest surprise was the 3rd place game where Hiroshima Sougou Gijyutsu upset Kouryou 4-3 to take the 3rd bid!

Yamaguchi (3 teams to the Chuugoku Super-Regionals)
Nanyou Kougyou was ousted in the 2nd round of the regionals to Iwakuni, getting shutout 7-0. Iwakuni and Ube Shougyou are probably the two notable names to advance out of the regionals. Most of the teams that had advanced did not fare well in the summer save for perhaps Ube Koujyou who was a seeded team in the summer and reach the Best 8.

Teams looking for a chance are Tokuyama Shoukou, Iwakuni Shougyou, Yamaguchi Koujyou, Yanai and Ube Kougyou.

Kagawa (3 teams to the Shikoku Super-Regionals)
Well, in Shikoku, things are pretty much straightforward. 4 prefectures, 3 teams each, top seeds get a bye.

Eimei is out to make a return appearance to Koushien, and has done well so far reaching the Best 8, but the road will get tougher as they face Sangawa in the quarterfinals. Sangawa has steamrolled their opponents by a score of 38-5.

Truth be told, I find it surprising that the Best 4 in the summer is still alive in the tournament. In addition to Eimei, Marugame Jyousai will meet Takamatsu Kita, Takamatsu Shougyou will face Kagawa Nishi, and Kanonji Chuo will play Mitoyo Kougyou for a spot in the semis. Should they win, they'll play either Jinsei Gakuen or Takamatsu Dai-ichi.

Ehime (3 teams to the Shikoku Super-Regionals - Nitta, Imabari Nishi, Matsuyama Shougyou)
Uwajima Higashi had made their 1st ever trip to Koushien this summer. And they were out to make their 2nd appearance.

Things looked good. They got out of regional play, and then defeated Saibi 6-5 - not a small feat. And after a 7-0 win over Kawanoishi in the quarterfinals, they were one win away from reaching the super-regionals. Imabari Nishi stood in their way. Yet after 6 innings they led 2-0. But Imabari would rally, tying the game in the 8th and sending it into extras. And in general, when you're the underdog, the later you go, the lesser your chances. And in the 13th, Imabari Nishi would score the sayonara run.

Still, they had a chance to take the 3rd spot by defeating Matsuyama Shougyou. A quick search on them shows an amazing throw home to complete a double play back in the 1996 final to keep the game going.

Anyways, I don't have the box score, but Uwajima Higashi would fall short, losing 7-6 and ending their run at making their 2nd consecutive appearance.

Perhaps the surprise team was a surprise in the summer. Niita who reached the Best 4, continued the run in the fall. Advancing out of their small pool play with a 10-0 win, they won their next games 10-7 and 10-5. Against Matsuyama Shougyou, they finally faced resistance. Taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 5th, Matsuyama tied the game. Niita though scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 8th to advance to the final.

And just like the semi-final, Imabari Nishi would respond every time Niita tried to pull away. Up 1-0, they would trade a run in the 4th and 2 in the 6th. Still up by one late, Imabari Nishi would tie it up in the bottom of the 8th. For Imabari Nishi, this would be their 2nd enchousen game in 2 days. Even for the best teams, that is still a tough task to ask a team to do. And in the 11th, the pitching would collapse, giving up 6 runs and losing 10-4.

Tokushima (3 teams to the Shikoku Super-Regionals - Jyounan/Tokushima Shougyou)
Interestingly, even with their Natsu Koshien appearance, Naruto did not earn a seed in the fall tournament. But perhaps it was justified as they lost in the 2nd round to Anan Tousen 1-0.

3 of the 4 seeded teams - Jyounan, Komatsushima and Tokushima Shougyou all advanced to the Best 4. Only Jyounan though had little trouble. Komatsushima barely handled Anabuki 6-5 in the 2nd round. Tokushima Shougyou defeated Naruto Kougyou 8-6 in the 1st round, and 2-1 over Tokushima Kagaku Gijyutsu.

In the semifinals, Jyounan down 3-0 scores 5 runs in the 4th and 5th innings against Komatsushima. But Komatsushima would come back to level the game at 5 in the top of the 8th. And in what seems like a continuing trend in Shikoku, Jyounan scores a run in the bottom of the 8th to win 6-5. The other semifinal was dominated by Tokushima Shougyou who mercy ruled Tokushima Kita 10-3 in 7 innings.

And so Jyounan and Tokushima Shougyou will battle for placement, while Tokushima Kita and Komatsushima will battle for the final spot.

Kochi (3 teams to the Shikoku Super-Regionals)
Meitoku Gijyuku earned a 2nd seed in the fall tournament, and hasn't disappointed so far yielding only 1 run in their 1st 2 games. They have yet to play their quarterfinal game. The same goes for Kochi Shougyou, who also has had little trouble in their first 2 games.

On the other side, Kochi has reached the semifinals dominating the 3 matches by a total score of 30-1. The final seeded team, Okou, couldn't get past Tosa in the quarterfinals, losing 7-4.

Fukuoka (3 teams to the Kyushu Super-Regionals)
Fukuoka's tournament is another deviation from the norm. They split the field into north and south. The winners face off for the 1st and 2nd seeds, while the 2nd place teams meet for the last spot. I suppose you could think of it as one bracket with each region on each side, but this is how they show it.

Summer representative Nishi Nippon Tankidai Fuzoku couldn't repeat their success, losing in the 3rd round of the Minami Regionals to Fukushima 2-1.

There has be some level of parity in Fukuoka because the finalists in each prefecture are relative unknown save for one. The other Best 4 from the summer, Higashi-Fukuoka, Iidzuka and Teikyou Dai-go, have all been eliminated. Higashi-Fukuoka lost 2-1 to Itoshima in the 2nd round and Teikyou Dai-go lost in the 4th round 4-2 to Ukiha Kyuushinkan.

Each region has had a dominant performance by a team, and while they haven't secured a bid, they appear to be the favorites to claim an automatic bid.

In the Kita Regionals, that team should be a familiar one. It's Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku - the same team managed by former Tohoku manager Wakou-kantoku. They have scored 10 or more runs in all but the semifinal game. Their regional final will not be against Iidzuka though as perhaps most people have thought. Iidzuka lost to Touchiku 3-2 after going up 2-0 after their first 2 innings.

In the Minami Regionals, the team that is poised to make the super-regionals is Chikuyou Gakuen. They had lost to Iidzuka in the summer, but had quality wins against Fukuoka Koudai Jyoutou, the aforementioned Fukushima, then shutting out Fukuoka Sangkyoudai Fukuoka 6-0 in the semifinal.

With the aforementioned Higashi-Fukuoka out of the bracket on the other side, it allowed the other seeded team in that half, Kurume Shougyou after a slow start against Yanagigawa in their first game, reached the regional final with a 2-1 win over Fukuokadai Oohori.

Saga (2 bids to the Kyushu Super-Regionals - Karatsu Shougyou, Ryuukoku)
Saga tends to have it's teams in the air, and this year is no different.

Saga Gakuen though tried to bring some stability by qualifying to the super-regionals. They made it to the quarterfinals, but were foiled by Ryuukoku 4-3. Saga Kita lost in the first round to Saga Higashi 5-3. Saga Shougyou was another candidiate, but they were surprised by Karatsu Shougyou 6-2. Karatsu then defeated Saga Kougyou 6-4 after being down 4-1 after 7.

So it was Karatsu Shougyou versus Ryuukoku for the top seed. And Karatsu would win their 8th final and 1st in 46 years with a 4-0 shutout. For Ryuukoku, I'm sure they'd like the title, but making the super-regional for the first time in school history.

Nagasaki (2 bids to the Kyushu Super-Regionals)
Summer participant Nagasaki Nichidai is looking for another bid but they have slowed down. But while they did qualify for the prefectural tournament, they barely edged Shimabara before losing to Souseikan 4-3 in the central regional final.

Seihou also had a similar road in the Sasebo regionals, edging Kyushu Bunka Gakuen 6-5 before losing to Hasami 4-3. And in the Nagasaki regionals, unseeded Nagasaki Nanzan surprises the field by winning the region, defeating Kaisei 4-3.

Kumamoto (4 bids to the Kyushu Super-Regionals)
Kumamoto is hosting the super-regionals, which means that they will have the benefit of 4 bids. And that means merely making the semifinals will guarantee an automatic bid.

Two of those 4 have already been determined. Summer participant (and seeded) Kyushu Gakuin breezed through their 3 games and have earned a spot. Oddly enough, they'll face Kumomoto Kokufu in the semifinals, it's interesting because they played in the quarterfinals and Kyushu prevailed 4-1. This game may not matter except for seeding (which in and of itself may be important), but I'm sure Kokufu would like to give it back to Kyushu Gakuin.

On the other side, Senshuudai Tamana looks to make another run but to claim an automatic bid, they'll have to get through Kumamoto Nishi first. The last spot will go to either Hitsuyuukan and Shuugakukan.

Oita (2 teams to the Kyushu Super-Regionals)
Oita Kougyou joins the list of teams unable to make another run losing to Oita in the 3rd round. For other notable teams, Hita Rinkou lost to recent senbatsu participant Oita Uenogaoka 11-7. Meihou scrapped through the first couple of games, and reached the Best 4.

After taking a 3-0 lead in the 1st Touin scored 4 in the bottom of the 2nd. But runs in the 3rd through 5th innings gave Meihou the lead once again. Touin would score 2 in the bottom of the 6th to tie the game and in the bottom of the 9th to send Meihou home packing.

And as for Oita, they were in a pitcher's duel for 11 innings against Nihon Bunridai Fuzoku winning 1-0. So Touin and Oita will qualify for the super-regionals.

Miyazaki (2 teams to the Kyushu Super-Regionals)
Miyazaki looks to return to some sort of normalcy after their summer qualifying was delayed due to the foot-and-mouth disease that was going around in the prefecture.

Summer participant Nobeoka Gakuen is still alive after an 8-7 win over St. Ursula and will face Miyakonojyou for a spot in the semifinals.

One team has reached the semifinals, and that team is Saito Shougyou. They defeated Nichinan Gakuen 7-3 to reach the semis.

The other quarterfinal matches to be determined are between Miyazaki Nichidai and Miyazaki Kita, and Miyakonojyou Izumigaoka and Houshou. It's interesting because you've certainly heard of Miyazaki Nichidai and Miyakonojyou Izumigaoka, but as for the other two schools, they were eliminated in the 1st round during the summer.

Kagoshima (2 teams to the Kyushu Super-Regionals)
Kagoshima oddly has not yet reached the round of 16. Kagoshima Jitsugyou has survived the first couple of rounds, and will face Kanoya Chuo next. It's still too early to tell anything, but notable teams Shounan and Kagoshima Shougyou are still in it.

Okinawa (2 teams to the Kyushu Super-Regionals)
So perhaps the final (and fitting) question is, "What about Kounan?"


It appears that while Shimabukuro is gone, there seems to be a lot of depth at the school. Kounan was actually full of 3rd years, and not as young as they were a while ago. Nonetheless, they have blown through the prefecture. They have reached the finals defeating Shuri Higashi 7-0 behind former #18 Takara Kazuki. They will face a well-known foe in Okinawa Shogaku, who was involved in multiple low scoring affairs before defeating Miyako 7-3 to reach the final.

Although I have finished the recap on Oct 3, I will have to go back tomorrow and recap again as multiple teams have finished up prefectural play.