(picture courtesy of Asahi)
Road to Haru Koushien
- def Nyuu 15-2
- def Wakasa 8-3
- def Keishin 5-4
- lost Fukui Shougyou 8-10
- def Usui 10-1
- def Ueda Nishi 3-2
- def Toyama Higashi 11x-1 (5)
- def Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa 10-8
- def Takaoka Shougyou 7-1
- 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.
- 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.