Monday, June 28, 2010

Natsu Koshien qualifying update

I haven't posted anything in a while, mainly because I've been furiously trying to get all the published brackets put in excel. 11 prefectures alone published theirs yesterday - all of which I need to get in. Including such ones as Osaka and Kyoto.


And I've been trying to be ahead of all this.

In the meantime, Okinawa and Hokkaido have gotten a head start on everyone else.

I'll get an update on those done tomorrow. At a cursory glance though, nothing surprising.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Spring Tournaments done... Okinawa qualifying begins!

So, the final game of the Spring tournaments is over. In the Tohoku Super-Regional final, Seikou Gakuin and Sendai Ikuei battled for 6 innings before Seikou Gakuin scored 4 in the 7th to pull away for a 6-3 win and their first ever spring title.

And wouldn't you know it, Okinawa has started their Natsu Koshien qualifying. The first brackets are up here.

So what happened in the first weekend of games?

Well, Kounan is keeping Shimabukuro on the shelf as long as possible. 2 other pitchers combined for a 10-0 shutout of Miyako Sougou Jitsugyou in 5 innings.

One home of a US air base, Futenma, was dispatched by Kumejima 12-1. The other base, Kadena, struggled to a 2-0 win against Irabu.

Yaeyama Shoukou had broken a 0-0 deadlock against Gushikawa in the first 5 innings by scoring in the next 3. Leading 4-0 going into the top of the 9th, Gushikawa scores 4 to tie the game. Somehow though, Yaeyama continues their scoring barrage and sends them home with a sayonara run.

More favorites continued to advance on day 2. Okinawa Shogaku ended Hokubu Nourin's tournament with a 9-2 win in 7. Okinawa Suisan defeated Kitanakagusuku also in 7, 9-1. Finally a perennial solid team in Koza sent Chuubu Nourin 9-0 in 7 innings.

Itoman and Oroku are the top seeds left to play, although Oroku has earned a bye into the 2nd round.

And so it begins!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Almost done with spring... and can you believe Natsu Koshien qualifying begins soon??!

All spring tournament super-regionals are completed with the sole exception of Tohoku.

When we last left Hokkaido, we were in the super-regional semifinals.

Hokkaido Sakae shocked Hokkai early, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. And when Hokkai tied it up in the 5th, Sakae would score a run in the 6th and 7th to re-take the lead.

It seemed that Sakae would be destined to win, but Hokkai decided to spoil the party. In the bottom of the the 7th, Hokkai would score 5 to take their first lead 8-5. Hokkaido Sakae would have no answer this time, and Hokkai would advance to the finals.

Their opponent would indeed be Komadai Iwamizawa. While Hakodatedai Yuuto had made a great run this spring, Iwamizawa's ace Ohata would throw a 2-hit shutout en route to a 2-0 win.

So the finals would be a matchup of Hokkai and ace Yokoi, and Komadai Iwamizawa's ace Ohata - and boy did neither of them disappoint. It was definitely a true pitcher's duel. Ohata in fact had not allowed a baserunner through the first 5 innings. But then in the 6th, that was broken up by #6 batter Kawagoe. And with 2 down, #9 batter Mori hits a single to left, scoring a run and breaking the deadlock.

That would be all the offense Yokoi would need as he would pitch a 4-hit shutout to give Hokkai their 9th spring title, and first in 9 years. Ohata did not do terribly either. He also gave up 4 hits, but also that lone run in the 6th.

So, remember the heavy draw? No?

Akita Shougyou, Senshuudai Kitami, Touyou, Aomori Yamada, Yamagata Chuo, Hanamaki Higashi, Higashi Nihondai Shouhei, Kousei Gakuin, AND Sendai Ikuei was on one side of the bracket.

That was one half. ALL of it.

And a little more than a week later, we're at the finals.

So, how did it all work out?

Opening game between Senshuudai Kitami (Iwate 3) vs. Touyou (Miyagi 3) ended up being a good matchup. In the span of 4 half-innings between the bottom of the 3rd and top of the 5th, the teams traded leads each time, finally resulting in a 3-3 tie. It would stay that way until the bottom of the 8th where Senshuudai Kitami scored 2. That would hold up and they would advance. Their next opponent would be Akita Shougyou (Akita 1). And in that game, all the scoring would happen in the 5th inning. Senshuudai would score 2, Akitashou scored one, and that was that.

So who would be their opponent in the quarterfinals? While Yamagata Chuo (Yamagata 1) certainly had the higher "seed", they had the unenviable task of playing Aomori Yamada (Aomori 3).

And yet, they struck first with a run in the top of the first inning. But a 3-inning stretch where Aomori Yamada scored 4 unanswered proved to be too much for Yamagata Chuo as they would fall 4-2.

So that setup a quarterfinal match between Senshuudai Kitami and Aomori Yamada. Senshuudai opened the scoring in the 2nd with a run. It would stay that way through the late innings, but Senshuudai couldn't hold off Aomori Yamada. Eventually in the 8th they would breakout for 4 runs for a 4-1 win.

On the other quadrant in the bracket of death lied Highashi Nippondai Shouhei (Fukushima 2) vs. Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate 2) and Kousei Gakuin (Aomori 2) vs. Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi 1).

In the first game, the teams were deadlocked at 0-0 for 6 innings. But unfortunately for Hanamaki Higashi, they just aren't the same team without Kikuchi Yuusei, and they would give up 3 runs in the 7th-8th innings to fall 3-0.

In the second game, Sendai Ikuei dominated Kousei Gakuin early, building a 4-0 lead through their first 5 innings. But Kousei Gakuin would reply in the 5th-7th innings rallying to tie the game. It would remain that way through regulation and extend into extras. Sendai Ikuei would finally break through in the 12th with a run and hold on the bottom of the frame to advance.

So that setup a quarterfinal of Sendai Ikuei and Higashi Nippondai Shouhei. Sendai Ikuei struck quickly with 2-runs in the top of the 1st but saw that lead dissolve with a run in the 3rd and 6th innings by Shouhei. But 2 runs late by Sendai Ikuei gave Shouhei no time to rally. While they would get a run back in the bottom of the 9th, it wouldn't be enough.

And who would emerge as the winner of that half of death?

Aomori Yamada once again had a quick strike with 2 runs in the top of the 1st, with Sendai Ikuei cutting that margin in half in their part of the frame. But a 3-run burst in the 3rd gave Sendai Ikuei the lead, and in fact took the lead for good as they advance to the finals with a 5-2 win.

Now, what about the other side? With it being as weak as it is, one would have expected the top seeds advancing.

First things first though is the opening round match between Futaba (Fukushima 3) vs. Yokote (Akita 3). Futaba hold a 2-0 lead going into the final innings, but they couldn't get the final 3 outs. Yokote would explode for 6 runs in the top of the 9th to win it 6-2.

They would then face Haguro (Yamagata 2). And in that matchup, one team would score in each of the first 5 innings with the result a 4-2 lead for Haguro. Yokote wouldn't give though tying the game with runs in the 7th and 9th innings. In the end though, Haguro would end it in regulation with a sayonara run in the bottom of the 9th.

Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima 1) actually found themselves down against Oosaki Chuo (Miyagi 2) 3-1 after 2 innings, and 3-2 after 3. But the game was early and there was still time. Indeed in the 7th, Seikou would take the lead with 2 runs and that would prove to be the winning margin.

The quarterfinal matchup seemed to be an evenly matched one. And when Seikou Gakuin broke the deadlock with 3 in the 5th, Haguro came right back to tie the game. But as it the case, the inferior teams will just fade in the late innings, and unfortunately for Haguro that was also the case. For Seikou Gakuin would score 2 in the 7th and 7 in the 8th to send the boys from Yamagata home early 12-3.

In the final quadrant, Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi (Aomori 1) had no trouble with Tsuruoka Higashi (Yamagata 3) winning 6-1. Kuji (Iwate 1) squeaked by Oomagari Kougyou (Akita 2) 2-1. And in that quarterfinal, Hachinohe's 3 runs in the 3rd proved to be too much of a deficit to come out of as they would fall 4-3.

Almost as expected though, Seikou Gakuin continued to show their dominance, jumping out to a 6-0 lead and defeating Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi 9-3.

So we have a final between powerhouses Sendai Ikuei and Seikou Gakuin.

Oddly enough, after 2 weeks of nothing out of the region, the entire Hokushinetsu region is completed in just 4 days!

So what happened?

- Yuugakkan (Ishikawa 2) vs. Fukui Shougyou (Fukui 2) - Winner to face Maruko Shuugakukan (Nagano 1)

Looking at the score, I for sure thought they had it switched. But no, Yuugakukan completely ran over Fukui Shougyou 8-1 in 8 innings. Yuugakukan has been a good team, but to defeat a team such as Fukui Shougyou in this manner is shocking.

But what was more shocking was their game against Maruko Shuugakukan. Given, Nagano has never had that strong of teams, but for Yuugakukan to put up a 15-spot in the top of the 1st?


Yet Maruko almost avoided the 5 inning mercy scoring 2 in the 1st and 4 in the 3rd. But another 2 runs by Yuugakukan in the 2nd did them in. 17-6 in 5. Wow.

- Tonami Kougyou (Toyama 1) vs. Saku Chosei (Nagano 4) - Winner to face Niigata Meikun (Niigata 1)

The first game was a low scoring affair as Saku Chosei eked out a 1-0 win with that lone run being scored in the 5th. Turning around to face Niigata Meikun, ace Takano would shutout Niigata's top team, winning 4-0.

- Ueda Nishi (Nagano 2) vs. Takaoka Shougyou (Toyama 2) - Winner to face Seiryou (Ishikawa 1)

Takaoka Shougyou took an early 1-0 lead in the 1st, and while Ueda Nishi tied it up in the top of the 6th, Takaoka slammed the door shut with 3 in the bottom half of the frame.

But Takashou would have no answer against Seiryou and ace Nishikawa as they would be shutout 3-0 to advance.

- Tookamachi (Niigata 2) vs. Nagano Nichidai (Nagano 3) - Winner to face Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui 1)

Tookamachi really got a raw deal having to face Nagano Nichidai in an opening round game. And yet in a 0-0 game in the top of the 4th, they scored 3.

That lead however lasted not even 2 innings. 2 in the 4th, 2 in the 5th gave Nagano Nichidai the lead. And for good measure they added 4 in the 7th and 1 in the 8th for a 9-3 win.

Now there was a match that could easily have been a finals match. Early on though, it was all Fukui Koudai Fukui with 2 in the 1st and 1 in the 2nd. They seemed to be on their way to inning, but Nagano Nichidai would come back with 2 in the 8th and 1 in the 9th to tie the game.

All the momentum seemed to be with Nagano as they headed into extras, but instead it was Fukui who would score a sayonara run in the 10th to advance.

That setup Yuugakukan and Saku Chosei in one semi, and Seiryou and Fukui Koudai Fukui.

Yuugakukan once again got out to an early lead on Saku Chosei, but Saku would come back to tie it up in the 3rd. Runs in the 5th-7th innings though gave Yuugakukan the 5-2 lead. And then it was Saku Chosei's turn to score runs with one in the 8th and 9th. But the quick math shows that Saku Chosei ran out of time, falling 5-4.

For Fukui Koudai Fukui, it seemed like they were on their way to the finals, hold a 2-0 lead. But in the 9th, ace Morimoto could not close the door. With 2 outs, he gives up a walk and 3 straight hits to tie the game. But he would be bailed out by his offense in the bottom of the 9th. A walk and an error put runners at 1st and 2nd. Fujimoto would be called upon to pinch-hit and he hits a single to center to score the sayonara run.

In the super-regional final, it would be Fukui Koudai Fukui who would strike early. #3 batter Morioka would hit a 2-run homerun against Kanai in the 1st. Then in the 4th, they would score another 4 runs, essentially putting the game out of reach. Yuugakukan would make the score respectable, but Fukui Koudai Fukui wins the super-regional 8-4.

WOW! I never would've seen this coming.

So when we last left this super-regional, they were in the semifinal games.

Kita-Ootsu and Riseisha squared off in the 1st semifinal, and it was Riseisha who just took Kita-Ootsu to task, scoring runs in each of the first 4 innings en route to a 9-2 win in 8 innings.

It shaped up to be a good battle between Chiben Wakayama and Houtoku Gakuen. It ended up being anything but. They would score 4 in the 1st and 6 in the 3rd, and that was all she wrote for Chiben Wakayama. Final score was 10-1 in 7 innings.

That means that we had an unusual final in Riseisha and Houtoku Gakuen. In the end though, it was all Houtoku Gakuen as Tamura would throw a shutout as his team wins their 1st ever spring title by the score of 6-0.

Much like the Hokushinetsu super-regional, the Chuugoku region also was done in just 3 days.

Yanai Shoukou (Yamaguchi 4) had no trouble against Yazu (Tottori) as Shinohara and Yamamoto combined to shut out the Tottori squad.

Takagawa Gakuen (Yamaguchi 1) and Izumo (Shimane) were deadlocked at 1 going into extras, but the top seed from Yamaguchi advanced with a sayonara run in the 11th.

Nanyou Kougyou (Yamaguchi 2) was shocked by Hiroshima Kougyou (Hiroshima) as ace Ishida would shutout the Nanyou squad 1-0.

Hikari (Yamaguchi 3) was set to oust Okayama Higashi Shougyou (Okayama) from the tournament, holding a 1-0 lead late into their matchup. But Okayama would tie it up in the 8th and would quickly end it in extras with a run in the 10th.

In a cruel twist of fate, Yanai Shoukou and Takagawa Gakuen would face off again in a semifinal. Their first matchup in the prefecural final saw Takagawa Gakuen come back late and win 5-4. This time around, Takagawa Gakuen never trailed, but found Yanai Gakuen rallying twice to tie the game, tying the game in the top of the 9th. But Takagawa would prevail with a sayonara run in the 9th.

The other semifinal saw Hiroshima Kougou lead from start to finish eliminating Okayama Highashi Shougyou 4-2.

Hiroshima Kougyou versus Takagawa Gakuen. A bit of an unlikely final. Hiroshima Kougyou would snipe runs early on to build a 3-0 lead. It would be all washed away in the 6th as Takagawa leveled the score. The teams would head into extras deadlocked, but again it would take only one extra inning as Hiroshima would score 2 to take their first ever spring title.

So, the spring tournaments are almost over. And wouldn't you know it, prefectures are getting ready for the Natsu Koshien qualifying. In fact, 4 prefectures already have their brackets ready:
  • Nishi Tokyo
  • Higashi Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Okinawa
I'll be working to get these brackets up ASAP. But a couple of things to note:
  • In Okinawa, it isn't Kounan who has the top seed. It's Oroku! Kounan holds the #2 seed, while Kadena and Itoman round out the top 4.
  • In Nishi Tokyo, it's Nihon Tsurugaoka who leads the field, but Waseda Jitsugyou is back once again as the #2 seed. Kokugakuindai Kugayama and Hachiouji round out the top 4. Other seeded teams include Nichidai-ni, Oubirin (Oberlin), Souka, Toua Gakuen, Toritsu Hino, and Nichidai-san.
  • In Higashi Tokyo, there's no surprise. Teikyou is awarded the #1 seed with Kanto Dai-ichi receiving the 2nd seed. Seiritsu Gakuen, and Toritsu Miyako Higashi round out the top 4. The other seeded teams are Toritsu Sougou Kouka and Nihon Buzan.
  • Kanagawa is a special case. With 186 teams participating, there are actually 4 seeded teams in each quadrant. Top seeds are Toukou Gakuen, Yokohama Sougakukan, Yokohama Shoudai, and Tachibana Gakuen (橘学苑 - there are actually 2 Tachibana Gakuens, different kanji). #2 seeds are Touin Gakuen, Koumyou Gakuen, Kawasaki Kita, and Toukaidai Sagami. Oh, how the team has fallen since the hype of the spring. #3 seeds are Yokohama Ouyou, Souyou, Nichidai and Hiratsuka Gakuen. And finally the #4 seeds are Chigasaki Nishihama, Busou, Yaei, and Keiou.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Slowly wrapping up the spring tournaments

There's still a bit of ways to go here, but we're beginning to wrap things up:

So when the draw took place, there was a Hell quadrant in that Shirakaba Gakuen, Hokkai and Sapporo Dai-ichi was all in one quadrant. And the games there were just nuts.

Sapporo Dai-ichi held a 6-2 lead going into the top of the 9th against Hokkai, only to see that lead vanish. They go into extras, and in the 11th Hokkai scores 3. But Sapporo Dai-ichi almost comes right back, falling one short in the bottom of the 11th.

Then in the Hokkai-Shirakaba Gakuen game, Hokkai jumps out to a 5-0 lead in the 1st. And after Shirakaba scores 2 in the 4th, Hokkai claims those runs back. But Shirakaba would continue to chip away scoring runs in the 5th, 7th and 8th to pull within 1. Unfortunately for them, that's as close as they would get.

Asahikawa Jitsugyou seemed to have a easy bracket, but they lost in the first round to Wakkanai Ootani 3-1! That opened the door for Hokkaido Sakae who blew through Futaba, and rallied against the aforementioned Wakkanai Ootani 2-1.

On the other side of the bracket, it seemed like we were destined for a Hokushou-Komadai Iwamizawa matchup in the semifinals. It was not to be though as Hokushou gave up an early lead to Hakodatedai Yuuto in the quarterfinals that they could not come back from. Komadai Iwamizawa fulfilled their part of the bargain winning both of their game via the mercy rule.

The semi-finals and finals will happen today and tomorrow.

Tohoku finally had their draw for the Super-regionals, but before that we need to finish up prefectural play.

In Aomori, the prediction held true. Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi defeated Hirosaki Kougyou 9-3 in the crucial semifinal. Hirosaki would then have to face Aomori Yamada, who was blanked by Kousei Gakuin 5-0. And while Hirosaki Kougyou would make it close, they would fall 6-5.

But the real surprise was in the championship game where Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi dominated the final, winning 5-1 over Kousei Gakuin.

Akita Shougyou had no trouble with Oomagari Kougyou winning 14-2 to take the top seed in Akita. Yokote earned the final bid with a 9-6 win over Kanaashi Nougyou.

Over at Miyagi, Oosaki Chuo went from a 18-17 shootout to a 5-hitter against Shibata. Sendai Ikuei broke a 2-2 deadlock in the 7th against Touyou to win 3-2. In the finals, Sendai Ikuei flexed it's muscle winning 6-2. And earning the 3rd bid was Touyou who had no trouble with Shibata, winning 8-3.

And finally in Fukushima, Seikou Gakuin claimed the #1 seed defeating Higashi Nihon Shouhei 6-1. In the consolation game, Futaba would win a low scoring affair 2-0 overAidzu Gakuho.

Now onto the draw...

And boy is the draw heavy on one side...

How heavy?

Akita Shougyou, Senshuudai Kitami, Touyou, Aomori Yamada, Yamagata Chuo, Hanamaki Higashi, Higashi Nihondai Shouhei, Kousei Gakuin, AND Sendai Ikuei.

That's one half. ALL of it.

Which means the other half is almost wide open.

The three main teams that avoided that bracket were Seikou Gakuin, Haguro and Hachinohe Koudai Dai-ichi with the latter having a clear draw. Expect one of these teams to make it to the super-regional final. Play begins on the 10th.

The Hokushinetsu region will finally begin play tomorrow. With 5 regions, one top seed would not get a first round bye, and that would be Toyama's Tonami Kougyou. Matchups are as follows:

- Yuugakkan (Ishikawa 2) vs. Fukui Shougyou (Fukui 2) - Winner to face Maruko Shuugakukan (Nagano 1)
- Tonami Kougyou (Toyama 1) vs. Saku Chosei (Nagano 4) - Winner to face Niigata Meikun (Niigata 1)
- Ueda Nishi (Nagano 2) vs. Takaoka Shougyou (Toyama 2) - Winner to face Seiryou (Ishikawa 1)
- Tookamachi (Niigata 2) vs. Nagano Nichidai (Nagano 3) - Winner to face Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui 1)

The first games have been completed. Riseisha had no trouble with Kashima winning 9-2.

Tenri falls flat against Kita-Ootsu 6-3 thanks to a 5-run 8th inning. (Curse you Tenri! Why do you have to disappoint me over and over again!!!)

Kouyou was in another pitching duel against Houtoku Gakuen, taking a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the 9th. And if I wrote that, then you know that they didn't hold it. Houtoku scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th for the win. I'm impressed by Kouyou, but they'll be forever blocked by Chiben Wakayama - who just annihilated Kyoto Furitsu Kougyou 9-1.

Chuugoku's Super-regional will begin tomorrow.