Handicapping the field – Chiben Gakuen (11th appearance, 2nd consecutive)

Handicapping the field – Chiben Gakuen (11th appearance, 2nd consecutive)

(photo courtesy of Daily Sports)

Road to Haru Koushien

Prefecturals

  • def Yamabe 29-0 (5 inn)
  • def Yamato Kouryou 6-2
  • def Naradai Fuzoku 10x-3 (8 inn)
  • def Kashihara Gakuin 8-3
  • def Takada Shougyou 5-4

Super-Regionals

  • def Kyoto Shouei 6-4
  • lost Osaka Touin 4-6

The photo is appropriate since the team won last year’s Haru Koushien. But man the resume is short and not necessarily good. Nara is generally a black hole so any close game not against Tenri and maybe Yamato Kouryou and Naradai Fuzoku is looked at poorly. Their stint at the super-regionals was short as well, with two games that weren’t as close as the scores would indicate.

What’s even worse is that their ace, Matsumoto Ryuuya (松本 竜也) came in relief in the Kyoto Shouei game, and gave up 3 of the 4 runs allowing them to make it close. Follow that up with his complete game loss to Osaka Touin giving up 6 runs on 10 hits walking 6, and yet struck out 11.

A closer look though shows something a bit different. In the Kyoto Shouei game, the run in the 7th was due to a fielding error, and the 9th inning runs were due to a blooper that fell in. Of course there was still the HBP and the double to LCF, which is a concern. From the cliff notes to the game, it looks like his control was just atrocious early and then he settled down as the game progressed. So it wasn’t as bad as originally thought, but his control issues could still be a potential problem as his combined line was:

  • 2 G, 12 IP, 9 R, 14 H, 15 K, 7 BB

The pitcher that did start the Kyoto Shouei game was #10 Iwai Bunto(??) (岩井 文飛) who gave up 1 run on 6 hits, striking out 6 and walking 1. The line is better, but it’s only one game and he didn’t pitch against Osaka Touin so we don’t really have a good waypoint to measure him off of.

Offensively, two players from last year’s championship return. RF Fukumoto Yuuma (福元 悠真) at the top of the lineup went 5-8 with a HR and 4 RBIs, while SS Oota Hidetake (太田 英毅) was 1-5 with an RBI (note though his line at Koushien was a much healthier 6-19).

The newcomer to look for is their #2 hitter Kadou Youta(?) (加堂 陽太) who was 2-5 with 3 RBIs in the super-regionals. Only problem is all three players I mentioned are at the top of the lineup and accounted for 9 RBIs out of the possible 10. That leaves me a little concerned with their run production because any team worth their salt would just pitch around the top 3 and make the rest of the lineup beat them.

And even if I were to dig up the data on the Nara prefectural games, there’s no point really because if anything it would make their position even worse. I think they have just lost too much to make a repeat run and at least for the spring it will be a rebuilding process.

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