Handicapping the field – Ube Koujyou (appearance, 1st in 2 years)

Handicapping the field – Ube Koujyou (appearance, 1st in 2 years)

(photo courtesy of @shofu_kumeraman)

Road to Haru Koushien

Prefecturals

  • def Saikyou 2-0
  • def Ube Kougyou 10-3 (7 inn)
  • def Hikari 7-2
  • def Tokuyama Shoukou 10-3 (7 inn)
  • def Kumage Minami 13-5

Super-Regionals

  • def Sakai 5-1
  • def Karyou 11-5
  • def Soushi Gakuen 3-2
  • def Shiritsu Kure 13-2

Meiji Jingu

  • lost Sapporo Dai-ichi 5-6x

From almost nowhere, Ube Koujyou has come into their own in Yamaguchi prefecture. Now, of course Yamaguchi-ken isn’t all that great of a baseball prefecture, so one could argue that the hurdle to clear is low. True, but it also means that in general most of the powerhouses in the prefecture attract what talent doesn’t leave for elsewhere.

The player predominantly keeping the opposing offense in check is ace Waseda Reo (早稲田 玲生). He is your prototypical average ace, throwing in the mid-130s with a slider, curve, but does have an additional changeup.

Relieving him is actually his 1B Aratake Yuudai (荒武 悠大).  No data on his pitches other than he throws probably in the low 130s.

What is of concern is that the pitching really puts the balls into play. In the two benchmark games (Soushi Gakuen & Sapporo Dai-ichi), the two pitchers put up the following lines:

  • Waseda – 2 G, 16.1 IP, 6 ER, 21 H, 4 K, 2 BB
  • Aratake – 1 G. 1.1 IP, ER, 2 H, BB

Which certainly means that there is a minuscule margin of error, and that’s why you see them in close games, both low and high scoring games.

That means the offense has to step up to accommodate the pitching. But the two batters I can see who make a big difference are their leadoff hitter LF Furutani Shingo (古谷 慎吾), and their cleanup hitter, SS Shimatani Shouhei (嶋谷 将平). Neither of them are power hitters, but they are gap hitters who can hustle a double or possibly a triple. But the rest of the team will need to step up if they want to have a shot. And I’m just not convinced that they will be able to do it.

So they’re another team that might be able to hang in there, but will prolly not win a blowout game, and are susceptible to be on the losing side of one.

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