(photo courtesy of @ym_chu14)
Road to Haru Koushien
Regionals Qualifying – Block 8-3
- def Kazusa 21-0 (5 inn)
- lost Shigakukan (志學館) 4-1
Regionals Repechage – Block 24
- def Funabashi Keimei 13-4
- def Asahi Nougyou 5-1
- def Keiai Gakuen 5-1
- def Choushi Shougyou 11x-1 (5 inn)
- def Makuhari Sougou 10-0 (8 inn)
- def Chiba Eiwa 8x-1 (7 inn)
- def Senshuudai Matsudo 9-1 (7 inn)
- def Chuo Gakuin 4-1
- def Ishibashi 5-2
- def Yamanashi Gakuin 5-2
- def Maebashi Ikuei 5-3
- lost Sakushin Gakuin 1-5
Toukaidai Bouyou, now Toukaidai Ichihara Bouyou, has always been in the scrum in Chiba, but has now finally made their first Koushien appearance with a runner-up finish in the Kanto region.
And again, their run could have been short-circuited as they lost in the main qualifiers to Shigakukan. They’re not a bad team, but it forced them into the repechage where they did manage to advance. Still, putting yourselves into a one-and-done situation is not good.
From there though, they quickly gained momentum. After a unimpressive win against fellow Tier 3 school Keiai Gakuen, they blew their way through the prefecturals including a convincing win against Senshuudai Matsudo to reach the finals. The 4-1 win over Chuo Gakuin was inconsequential to reach the super-regionals, so you could forgive that game.
Except for in the super-regionals, they immediately ran into tough games against middle of the road competition, struggling against no-name Ishibashi, pulling away late against Yamanashi Gakuin, having one big inning but otherwise scuffling against Maebashi Ikuei before finally falling to Sakushin Gakuin.
Anyways, he’s reported to throw in the mid-140s, though while I would revise it down his fastball does have some zip so I would imagine it still would be in the lower 140s. He has your traditional slider and curveball in the arsenal. The bigger problem is that while the K numbers were okay early on, when the games got tougher, the numbers – specifically the walk numbers got worse. That included 6 against Ishibashi, 7 against Yamanashi Gakuin and more importantly against Sakushin Gakuin. He was in his 4th game in 10 days, but to win he’ll have to do something similar.
As for relief help, it looks like they have none, or none they trust as the only time off he had was in the game against Makuhari Sougou where he pitched 6 of the 8 innings.
Offensively, Kanekubo sits in the cleanup spot, which I know I’m beating a dead horse, is not necessarily a good sign. You can look at LF Arakawa Daichi (荒川 太一) as perhaps another threat, or 3B Higuchi Keisuke (樋口 圭輔) who got 2 hits against Sakushin Gakuin, but otherwise the production is spotty.
I would be highly concerned with Kanekubo’s walk numbers going into Koushien. If he can limit those I think they might have a shot against middle-of-the-road compeition. Otherwise, it could be tough sledding for the first-timers as I expect the offense to struggle a bit.