(photo courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
Road to Haru Koushien
- def Morioka Chuo 12-2 (6 inn)
*because they were at Natsu Koushien, they got a free pass to the regional final.
- def Oofunato Higashi 5-1
- def Hanamaki Higashi 5-2
- def Kozukata 9-0
- def Tsuruoka Higashi 7-1
- def Nichidai Tohoku 7-5
- def Sakata Minami 5-4
- lost Sendai Ikuei 2-6
Moriokadai Fuzoku got the express pass and was able to pretty much get to the super-regionals with little resistance, even including a 5-2 win over Hanamaki Higashi that wasn’t that close.
But you can see as they progressed through the super-regionals, it got harder for them quickly. They survived two close games against quality opponents (you really don’t want to know how much Nichidai Tohoku continues to run into the brick wall that is Seikou Gakuin), but then let one bad inning sink them in the finals.
As they did in the summer, the team uses a two-ace system in order to hopefully save the arms for the long haul. Miura Mizuki (三浦 瑞樹) stays in as part of that duo though he does not occupy the ace number.
Since there has been little turnaround time between the summer and the fall, we can take what we see in the Koushien video and take that for what it is. He tops out at 130, with heavy reliance on his curve which is in the high 100s, with the occasional changeup a couple of kph above that. Now the problem is that he lasted 4 innings before he flat out ran out of juice. He’s being pushed a couple more innings, but I highly doubt he can sustain that at a higher level.
Who has taken the mantle is Hiramatsu Ryuuya (平松 竜也). And the only video I have is him in a PH appearance when he was with his junior club. The only thing I do know is that he supposedly tops out in the low 140s though I imagine he sits in the upper 130s.
At best the duo goes a K/IP, but that dropped significantly against Sendai Ikuei.
The same could be said for their offense as well, going from double digit hits, to just 5 in their final game. Probably the one player that stands out is CF Ueda Taku (植田 拓) who hit a HR versus Soushi Gakuen last summer. But the rest of the offensive pieces that helped them make a deep run are all gone, and that’s a big concern. It’s probably why Ueda was moved to the leadoff position so that he could get more ABs.
All that means that it’ll be much harder to stay in a game at all. This means that against lower-level competition at Koushien they’re a 50-50 proposition at best.