Month: December 2016

Handicapping the field – Riseisha (7th appearance, 1st in 3 years)

Handicapping the field – Riseisha (7th appearance, 1st in 3 years)

(photo courtesy of Shizuoka Shinbun – at-s.com)

Road to Natsu Koushien

Prefecturals

  • def Kunijima 24-0
  • def Osaka Shiritsu 14-1
  • def Nishi-Noda Kouka 10-0
  • def Osaka Taiikudai Namishou 8-1
  • def Kansai Souka 10-2
  • def Osaka Shoudai Sakai 9-2
  • def Osaka Touin 7-4
  • lost Uenomiya Taisha 3-10

Super-Regionals

  • def Ikuei 8-1
  • def Takada Shougyou 7-0
  • def Shiga Gakuen 6-3
  • def Kobe Kokusaidai Fuzoku 8-2

Meiji Jingu Taikai

  • def Sendai Ikuei 5-1
  • def Fukui Koudai Fukui 4-3
  • def Sapporo Dai-ichi 7-2
  • def Waseda Jitsugyou 11-6

And so we’re probably at the prohibitive favorites to win it all. Or so the pundits I bet will say. You can’t necessarily blame them. Defeating Osaka Touin is always a plus (though it wasn’t a win or go home game – there was still the 3rd place game to get into the super-regionals). Then the relative dismantling of Tier 2 schools in the Super-Regionals, and then going through the Meiji Jingu Taikai using part of their B squad before outlasting the Kiyomiya’s in a slugfest. It’s hard to say they aren’t at least one of the front-runners.

Their problem at Natsu Koushien was actually not starting Terashima in the loss to Jyousou Gakuin. Given, Terashima would have started on 1 full days rest, so it certainly wasn’t ideal, but once Yamaguchi let the flood gates open, Terashima could do very little to stem the tide before it was much too late.

Terashima though is gone, drafted 1st by the Yakult Swallows. Riseisha now starts from scratch, but has found a new ace in Takeda Yuu (竹田 祐). Thanks to the video we see that he has a fastball that sits in the mid to upper 130s. He has a curve in the lower 120s, and early in the video there is a ball that is recorded at 128 that looks like a fastball. I have to assume that it is a forkball of some sort. So we know he has those two pitches, and I imagine he has to have a slider though we didn’t see it in that video. And while this video shows the curveball even as low as the high 110s, it doesn’t help me figure out the slider.

The only hangup for Takeda might be his stamina. After 2 solid performances, against Shiga Gakuen he went the distance, but gave up 3 runs on 15 hits, striking out just 6 and walking 3. Then in the final against Waseda Jitsuyou, while he didn’t give up a run, he gave up 6 hits and 5 walks while striking out 7 in 6.1 innings of work. His line at Meiji Jingu was the following:

  • 4 G, 1 GS, 20.1 IP, 1 CG, ER, 15 H, 17 K, 8 BB
  • 0.45 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 7.65 K/9, 3.58 BB/9, 2.125 K/BB

He may not be an overpowering strikeout artist, but he is certainly getting the job done even despite the poor numbers against Waseda. But I’m skeptical right now that he can do the job alone, which means that #11 Tanaka Raita (田中 雷大) will need to shoulder his fair share of the innings, if not outright start. The only problem is there is little information on him compared to Takeda. The few reports I do have of him are pitching in the 130s, and I assume lower 130s if anything. And from his lines, he looks like a general innings eater:

  • 3 G, 1 GS, 9.2 IP, 3 ER, 13 H, 7 K, BB
  • 2.79 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 6.52 K/9, 0.93 BB/9, 7 K/BB

Note that 6 of his 7 Ks were against Fukui Koudai Fukui in 6 innings of work.

There is a 3rd option available, but maybe only against weaker competition. That’s #10 Matsui Hyakudai (松井 百代). He handled Sapporo Dai-ichi much like Tanaka, but struggled against Waseda giving up 4 earned runs in 2+ innings of work. There is understandably even less information on him, so we can only assume he like Tanaka is another innings eater at best.

  • 2 G, 2 GS, 6+ IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 3 K, 2 BB
  • 6.00 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 4.5 K/9, 3 BB/9, 1.5 K/BB

Offensively, the most consistent hitter is by far their C Katayama Yuu (片山 悠), who actually sits 7th in the lineup. Which is completely amazing if you ask me.

  • Meiji Jingu – 6-15, 3 2B, HR, 8 RBI, 0 K, 2 BB

There seems to be more chatter about 3B Yasuda Hisanori (安田 尚憲) instead. Can’t be helped though because he returns to the roster having hit 0.333 with 2 doubles at Natsu Koushien. His line at Meiji Jingu though was a bit less stellar:

  • Meiji Jingu – 3-13, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 K, 5 BB

Sure 2 of his hits went for extra bases, but 3-13 doesn’t quite inspire confidence.

One last person to keep an eye on offensively is 2B Matsubara Touya (松原 任耶) who didn’t even wear a starting number. That might change come the spring though if he continues hitting like this:

  • Meiji Jingu – 7-15, 2 2B, 3B, 7 RBI, 2 K, 2 BB

The rest of the lineup went a combined 16-82 (0.195) which is to say the least uninspiring. It also means that the offense could suffer a power outage much like the Jyousou Gakuin game last summer. Sure, this was against all the super-regional champions, but there are certainly better teams out there than some of them. They may be a front-runner, but they’re certainly far from invulnerable.

Handicapping the field – Shigakukan (至学館) (1st appearance)

Handicapping the field – Shigakukan (至学館) (1st appearance)

(photo courtesy of @princes12756764)

Road to Haru Koushien

Nagoya Regionals 1st stage – E Block (for 2nd stage)

  • def Kouzouji 5-4
  • def Zuiryou 10-1 (7 inn)
  • def Shouwa 10-1 (7 inn)
  • def Kasugai Nishi 24-0 (5 inn)

Nagoya Regionals 2nd stage – E Block (prefectural seeding only)

  • def Aikoudai Meiden 5-3
  • lost Touhou 4x-3 (13 inn)

Prefecturals

  • def Aikoudai Meiden 5x-4 (10 inn)
  • def Handa Kougyou 7-1
  • def Chuubudai Haruhigaoka 1x-0 (11 inn)
  • def Touhou 8x-7
  • lost Sakuragaoka 0-2
  • def Kyousei 3x-2

Super-Regionals

  • def Komono 9-0 (7 inn)
  • def Tajimi 2-1
  • def Chuukyoudai Chuukyou 4x-3
  • lost Shizuoka 1-5

Shigakukan can be considered the cardiac kids this year. Trailing by 2 to Aikoudai Meiden they scored 2 in the 8th to tie the game and won in 10. The Touhou game they blew a 4-1 lead in the 9th only to take it back in the bottom half. Just to make the super-regionals, they clawed back a run twice and then won in the 9th. Finally, against Chuukyoudai Chuukyou they were down 3-0 only to score 1 in the 8th and 3 in the 9th to make the finals.

What the heck are we supposed to make of this? They defeated quality squads along the way, but none of it was easy and a lot of it was coming from behind. The clue is the regionals which did not eliminate a team and was for seeding only. There they had to play Aikoudai Meiden and Touhou which meant that the games in the prefecturals were their 2nd times around. That could easily explain the close games – not that the first ones weren’t in their own right. So the road was doubly hard because it’s hard to beat a team twice, and similarly they had a chance to figure out things against Touhou.

Well, we know they use a duo of pitchers each game. There’s ace number and Niimi Ryousuke (新美 涼介) and then #10 Kawaguchi Ryouichi (川口 龍一). Little information is to be had on either, in fact the only one is that Niimi throws in the 120s(!). That makes sense though because the combined K and BB rates aren’t all that great, which means they’re probably contact pitchers at best. But they have to be at least decent ones to hold off the teams that they defeated. The Shizuoka loss is problematic, but that is expected to happen because there’s little room for error. While it was Kawaguchi responsible for most of the runs in that game while Niimi shut things down, it’s clear you can’t just have 1, so the partnership could hinge on the relief starter.

Offensively, I’m not sure how they did it. No one batter stands out in the final couple of games, expect for perhaps Niimi, and he doesn’t even start the game in the lineup! But when it comes to the fact that they come from behind, perhaps it’s just a team thing as opposed to an individual player thing.

Shigakukan is a puzzling team in that they have defeated quality teams while struggling against no-names. Grit isn’t exactly something that can be quantified, but seems to be the MO of the team because nothing individually stands out. That’s great for the super-regionals, but it will certainly be put to the test at Koushien and I’m not sure it will be able to hold.

Handicapping the field – Shizuoka (16th appearance, 1st in 2 years)

Handicapping the field – Shizuoka (16th appearance, 1st in 2 years)

(photo courtesy of @lambanekko)

Road to Haru Koushien

Chubu Regionals (scores only)

  • def Shimada 11-1
  • def Shizuoka Shougyou 10-3
  • def Shimada Shousei 3-0
  • def Shimizu Sakuragaoka 9-5
  • def Fujieda Meisei 3-1

Prefecturals

  • def Hiryuu 8-2
  • def Iwata Higashi 4-1
  • lost Seirei (Christopher) 0-1
  • def Toukaidai Shizuoka Shouyou 6-1

Super-Regionals

  • def Sakuragaoka 4-1
  • def Kaisei 8x-1 (8 inn)
  • def Mie 9-2 (8 inn)
  • def Shigakukan (至学館) 5-1

Meiji Jingu Tournament

  • lost Waseda Jitsugyou 3-5

Well, this is certainly a most interesting resume we have here. There is some questionable results early on, especially the loss to Seirei Christopher 1-0. And yet when you look at the super-regionals and the Meiji Jingu tournament, the resume is about as strong as you could realistically ask for a team. So, what gives?

Well, the key man in this situation is generally the ace, and that is Ikeya Souta (池谷 蒼大). If you exclude the probable 4 “intentional” walks to Waseda Jitsugyou’s Nomura, his total lines during that time span look like the following:

36.2 IP, 9 R, 23 H, 40 K, 7 BB

That’s not bad all in all. ~10 K/9 and a 5.9 K/BB ratio. Perhaps you’d be more comfortable with a stronger opponent from Aichi, but with Gifu seemingly cratering it’s not bad. And with 7 Ks against Waseda Jitsugyou, that also seems like a plus. From the ABs against Kiyomiya it looks like he has a fastball sitting in the mid-130s, with a curve(?) in the upper 110s. There’s another pitch that seems to sit around the same speed, but it doesn’t appear to be a slider, and it looks like a fastball still. If it was closer to his fastball I’d say it would be a cut-ball as they call it, but the difference in speed makes it confusing.

The biggest problem with his game is his control. From the highlight video of the game you can see him missing his spots and really in the wrong places. Those pitches that were punished were pitches his C was framing outside and Ikeya missed back over the plate, which you don’t have to be told is a big no-no. It does make one pause a little about his numbers as a whole translating to Koushien, and certainly they’d be revised downwards anyways, but again the Waseda game certainly eases some concerns.

Offensively, the easiest person to point to is cleanup hitter LF Naruse Kazuto (成瀬 和人) who had multiple hits in each of the super-regional and Meiji Jingu games. Otherwise maybe you can throw in C Mori Koutarou (森 康太朗) or 1B Inazumi Rui (稲角 塁), but outside of those no one really stands out. The team doesn’t appear to have clear holes in the lineup though, so there won’t be empty innings.

The Toukai region is rather small, and has a smattering of strong teams. Shizuoka at least is one of the teams that pokes its head above the clouds though finding success once they get there is a different story. I’m not sure they have a team that has a good chance of taking the title, but they should be able to avoid the one-and-done scenario.

Handicapping the field – Takaoka Shougyou (5th appearance, 1st in 7 years)

Handicapping the field – Takaoka Shougyou (5th appearance, 1st in 7 years)

(photo provided by 55gogoburaritravel’s blog)

Road to Haru Koushien

Seeding – West B Block (non-elimination)

  • def Kosugi 7-0 (8 inn)
  • def Takaoka Kouryou 5-4

*wins seed at Prefecturals

Prefecturals

  • def Arakawa 14-0 (5 inn)
  • def Toyama 7-0 (7 inn)
  • def Toyama Shougyou 6-4
  • def Shin-Minato 10-2 (7 inn)
  • def Toyama Higashi 18-2

Super-Regionals

  • def Iiyama 1-0
  • def Fukui Shougyou 5-0
  • def Nihon Bunri 8-6
  • lost Fukui Koudai Fukui 1-7

Given the picture of the Hokushinetsu Region that Fukui Koudai Fukui created, Takaoka Shougyou’s resume is a bit concerning. Yes, they did go back-to back and defeat Toyama Shougyou and Shin-Minato, but it’s hard to take anything from Toyama because of their historical record.

Turning to the super-regional record and more red flags are raised. Already was the bad loss to Fukui Koudai Fukui in the final, but then there’s the 9th inning run to defeat Iiyama in the opening round. The win against Fukui Shougyou is okay, and so was the come-from-behind win against Nihon Bunri scoring 8 unanswered runs.

So, let’s delve deeper to see if something can be salvaged.

First of all, here’s a big IF that I find. IF the #1 is really their ace pitcher, they may have some hope. Here’s why.

As far as I can tell, their #1 pitcher Doai Nobuyuki (土合 伸之) did not make an appearance until the Fukui Shougyou game. He pitched that game and the contentious Nihon Bunri game before having to come off the bench against Fukui Koudai Fukui, effectively shutting down the offense once he did. Otherwise, it was #10 Fushimi Takuma (伏見 拓真) who got them through the prefecturals, and the Iiyama game before stumbling against Fukui Koudai Fukui.

From those videos it’s impossible to tell what they have, and this one won’t help much either. But what it does show is how hard they throw, and it’s very clear that Doai throws much harder than Fushimi. We could be talking about Doai hovering around 140 and Fushimi average in the low 130s. That’s important at least with respect to Doai if he can sustain a run, because certainly Fushimi’s ability to pitch at Koushien is questioned given his performance against Fukui Koudai Fukui since he actually had time off beforehand so you can’t use fatigue as an excuse. Flipping the script, it means that Doai may have to shoulder the load at Koushien. The problem is parsing through his games to figure out where he lies. Shutting down Fukui Koudai Fukui is a big plus because we established they’re not necessarily good. Giving up 6 runs against Nihon Bunri is bad, but bad only if Nihon Bunri is not as good relative to Fukui Koudai Fukui. And looking at Nihon Bunri’s resume, it’s hard to say, but with some close games against solid Tier 3 teams, you may have to lean towards Nihon Bunri being weak themselves. Which brings us back to having no real direction to point towards.

Offensively, the team is almost as big of an enigma. It’s almost like each game are pistons going up and down. One game the middle of the lineup delivers, the next they’re nearly hitless and the rest of the lineup is hitting. None of it makes any sense and all of it means that you can’t single out any player who was doing well throughout.

I’m thoroughly confused by this team. There are bits and pieces that suggest that they could fare better than Fukui Koudai Fukui despite losing terribly, but they could also just get run out of Koushien Stadium before the midway point of the game. It does not help their cause that they are in a region that has been for the most part relatively weak save for a powerhouse school like Tsuruga Kehi or a team out of nowhere in Toyama Dai-ichi. While you hope for success, you err towards failure and that’s where I have to put them with such little and contradictory information.

Handicapping the field – Fukui Koudai Fukui (5th appearance, 2nd consecutive)

Handicapping the field – Fukui Koudai Fukui (5th appearance, 2nd consecutive)

(picture courtesy of Asahi)

Road to Haru Koushien

Prefecturals

  • def Nyuu 15-2
  • def Wakasa 8-3
  • def Keishin 5-4
  • lost Fukui Shougyou 8-10
  • def Usui 10-1

Super-Regionals

  • def Ueda Nishi 3-2
  • def Toyama Higashi 11x-1 (5)
  • def Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa 10-8
  • def Takaoka Shougyou 7-1

Meiji Jingu

  • lost Riseisha 3-4

Fukui Koudai Fukui makes a return trip to Haru Koushien, but it was anything but smooth sailing. They had to come from behind to defeat Keishin, could not overcome a 6 run deficit to Fukui Shougyou, and scored 10 runs on 8 hits thanks to 10 walks versus Usui. Then you look to the super-regionals and they had to come from behind against Ueda Nishi and then blew a 6 run lead against Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa before rallying in the 9th. And while they faced Riseisha, the squad didn’t send out Takeda immediately so the close game was a bit against their A/B squad.

On the pitching side, ace Katou Isami (加藤 功海) and #10 Suriishi Tatsuya (摺石 達哉) share the duties for the most part. There is no information on Katou, but as for Suriishi you can see that he has a 2-seam fastball in the low 130s, what seems like a slider in the mid-110s, and a curve in the upper-100s. There was a pitch at 123, but it looks like a 2-seamer still.

Suriishi seems to be the bigger strikeout threat and perhaps the reason why he has coverage and Katou doesn’t.

Super-regional stats:

  • Katou – 2 G, 5.2 IP, 5 R, 9 H, 3 K, 0 BB
  • Suriishi – 3 G, 25 IP, 7 R, 26 H, 18 K, 11 BB

Offensively, the threats are where they normally are, the middle of the lineup. LF Yamagichi Akira (山岸 旭) and RF Yoshida Yuuya (吉田 有哉). The team as a whole batted an even 0.333 (41-123). Yamagishi and Yoshida combined were 14-27 (0.519). If you throw in leadoff batter 2B Kitagawa Tomoya (北川 智也) who was 6-15, that means the rest of the team batted a paltry 0.259.

This leaves Fukui Koudai Fukui, and before I do my review of Takaoka Shougyou the whole Hokushinetsu region, in a really bad way. The fact that this team with an average at best pitching staff and a lineup so heavy in the middle will make advancing very hard. Yes, they did manage to hold Riseisha to 4 runs, but as mentioned they weren’t bringing their full A-team out there, which means you can’t take the game at face value. Suriishi will keep them in games versus lower tier competition, but could be in trouble versus the perennial squad.

Handicapping the field – Nichidai-san (19th appearance, 1st in 6 years)

Handicapping the field – Nichidai-san (19th appearance, 1st in 6 years)

(picture courtesy of baseballgate.jp – yes that’s Waseda, but it was one pitch that changed things)

Road to Haru Koushien

Regionals – Block 17B

  • def Seiryou 10x-0 (6 inn)
  • def Ouji Sougou 15-1 (5 inn)

Super-Regionals

  • def Komadai 8-0 (8 inn)
  • def Higashi-Yamato Minami 12x-2 (5 inn)
  • def Souka 4-1 (13 inn)
  • def Waseda Gakuin 6-2
  • def Toritsu Hino 7-0 (7 inn)
  • lost Waseda Jitsugyou 6-8x

So my Kanto/Tokyo bid goes to Nichidai-san. Keio Gijyuku can make a case and Laga-san thinks they will go. But given Waseda’s good run at Meiji Jingu, and that Nichidai-san was 3 outs away from defeating Waseda, I think they have the inside track.

That said, the team does not have a key win to circle on the list. In fact, the game you would circle IS the Waseda Jitsugyou game. You can see wins over Tier 3 schools such as Souka, Waseda Gakuin and Toritsu Hino which count for something, but if Nichidai-san is back on the rebound these teams should pose no threat. To that end the enchousen affair against Souka is a bit alarming.

What makes Nichidai-san intriguing is their ace, Sakurai Shuuto (櫻井 周斗), who oddly wears #8. Now, there are little reports as to his pitches, but given he pitched at Meiji Jingu, the reports of him touching 140 seem legit, though I think he sits in the upper 130s. He also appears to have 3 offspeed pitches. You can tell the slider, and curve, but I think he has a changeup or fork or something like that for righties. When I watch the video, the delivery seems off for some reason. First, it feels like a delivery I would do (and I’ve never played baseball), and it looks like his finish isn’t consistent either. I don’t think it has to do with the pitch he’s throwing, though it might have to do with where his target is.

Nonetheless in the final 4 games he pitched 31.2 innings, giving up 9 runs on 18 hits, with a 41/12 K/BB ratio for an ERA of 2.56.

Offensively, the big guy in the room (and I do mean big) is cleanup hitter 1B Kanari Reo (金成 麗生). Half Japanese and half American (and the father is apparently a former football player), Reo stands almost 2 meters tall and weights over 100 kg (that’s 6’4″, 220 if you want to know. In the video you can see how tall he stands in the box. Also, he hit a letter-high fastball over the fence. And you can also see the Waseda defense shifted so that the 2B was in shallow right. Which didn’t matter because next AB he sliced one opposite field. It’s not a pretty swing at times, but he knows where to go with the ball.

Side note, he’s apparently named Reo after Leo, after Leonardo DiCaprio. No joke.

Anyways, the rest of the offense is a bit more dodgy. It’s harder to get box scores for Tokyo for some reason so unless you can scrounge it up from fans, there’s little to go on. If the offense was bad enough, teams would consider pitching around Kanari. It certainly would be easier to pitch around 1 batter than 4. That doesn’t seem to be the case though, so either (a) no one’s really decided to go that route, or (b) the Nichidai-san offense is good enough that it’s not an option. If nothing else, what I’ve seen is that they are not beneath taking the free base. That is something I wished the underdog teams would do against the powerhouse teams, and now Nichidai-san seems to be taking that strategy for their own.

So there are concerns with the team, don’t get me wrong. And as I mentioned before, it’s possible the JHBF goes with another Kanto team instead of Nichidai-san. But I think there also enough there to think that if they do get invited, they could make some sort of run.

Handicapping the field – Waseda Jitsugyou (21st appearance, 1st in 2 years)

Handicapping the field – Waseda Jitsugyou (21st appearance, 1st in 2 years)

(picture courtesy of baseballgate.jp)

Road to Haru Koushien

Regionals – Block 7A

  • def Hachiouji Soushi 24-0 (5 inn)
  • def Risshisha 12-0 (6 inn)

Super-Regionals

  • def Nihon Gakuen 10-1 (7 inn)
  • def Nichidai-ichi 7-1
  • def Katakura 12x-2 (5 inn)
  • def Kanto Dai-ichi 8-4
  • def Kokushikan 9-0 (7 inn)
  • def Nichidai-san 8x-6

Meiji Jingu

  • def Shizuoka 5-3
  • def Fukuokadai Oohori 6-4
  • lost Riseisha 6-11

Ok, so Kiyomiya Koutarou. Done. Right?

Well, I’m sure if Waseda is mentioned, it will be the fighting Kiyomiyas. He hit 3 HRs in the super-regionals, and another against Riseisha, so the story gets even bigger. He’s like all the hype of Saitou Yuuki while at Waseda (all of it) all rolled up together.

I can’t say all of it isn’t warranted, but I wonder how the teammates are handling it. Could be that it takes the pressure off of them because it’s all on Kiyomiya. Could be it’s all on them because if they don’t win it won’t necessarily be Kiyomiya’s fault, especially if he has a good performance.

There’s good news and bad news here about this team. The good news is that even if we don’t include Kiyomiya the team has offense to spare. The bad news is that the pitching is average at best leaving them right now like a copy of Teikyou.

As the team progressed through the final stages of the Tokyo super-regional and the Meiji Jingu tournament Waseda mostly has to go through 3 pitchers to complete the game. They were composed of a combination of Hattori Masaki (服部 雅生), Akamine Hiroya (赤嶺 大哉), Nakagawa Hiroto (中川 広渡), and Ikeda Tooru (池田 徹). The problem is that in the Meiji Jingu tournament where information is readily available, only Ikeda had a higher strikeout total than their walk total:

  • Hattori – 3 G, 6 IP, 26 batters faced (BF), 1 R, 6 H, 2 K, 2 BB
  • Akamine – 3 G, 5.2 IP, 41 BF, 7 R, 8 H, 0 K, 3 BB
  • Nakagawa – 2 G, 8.1 IP, 38 BF, 6 R, 9 H, 5 K, 5 BB
  • Ikeda – 1 G, 3 IP, 12 BF, 0 R, 1 H, 2 K, 1 BB

So in 23 IP, the combined staff struck out 9 and walked 11. On the surface, Hattori and Ikeda’s numbers are the best, but the lack of K’s mean that they may be in trouble. Now, Hattori did pitch at Natsu Koushien back in 2015, appearing in 3 games, pitching 6 innings, giving up 1 run on 3 hits, with 3 Ks and 1 BB with all those counting stats occurring against Hiroshima Shinjyou.

Information is a bit sparse with the 4 pitchers. Hattori is your run of the mill average pitcher, throwing in the mid 130s with a slider and curveball. From what I could find about Nakagawa, he’s about the same. None of the videos though I think inspire confidence in the pitching staff as a whole.

So it looks like the plan is for Waseda Jitsugyou is to try and power their way to the title. Kiyomiya is a given, but he certainly can’t be the only one.

Well, Kiyomiya received 7 walks during Meiji Jingu, and I bet some of those were of the actual intentional kind (most pitchers will throw not in the strike zone but not give the arm out intentional walk. I call those the unintentional intentional walk). But there is one other person who had a line that I thought was a Kiyomiya line:

vs. Shizuoka, 0 AB, 4 BB

Yes, that’s right 4 walks. And here too I bet they were intentional in nature. But it wasn’t Kiyomiya. Instead it’s for their actual cleanup hitter, 3B Nomura Daijyu (野村 大樹), who went 5-9 with a 2B, 3B, and HR at Meiji Jingu. Shizuoka’s plan was to face Kiyomiya, pitch around Nomura, and hope to get RF Konishi Yuuki (小西 優喜) out. It almost worked, until the 7th where Konishi hit a 2-RBI triple to seal the game. The trio in all had 12 of the 17 RBIs. If you throw in C Yukiyama Kanta (雪山 幹太), who has a ton of videos of him several years ago hitting home runs. A LOT of them. Throw in his 3 RBIs and that’s over 80% of the offensive output. And it’ll be hard to pitch around 4 batters. So you’re going to have to pick your poison sometime, somewhere.

The rest of the team was 15 for 59 (0.254). That’s not terrible by any stretch, but you can see why Shizuoka was trying to tiptoe through that part of the lineup. As for Riseisha they simply didn’t care, they just beat up the pitching staff.

So here’s the rub. As I said before the team profiles like a Teikyou, looking to overpower teams and get away with middling pitching. The formula never worked for Teikyou, but the results above show that Waseda has had better success. There is no doubt lower level teams will certainly have a very difficult time dealing with the offensive quartet, and Waseda’s pitching is enough to get by. But the holes leave ways that a team can combat them. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make a deep run.