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.

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