(photo courtesy of @)
Road to Haru Koushien
Regionals (Round-Robin) – Kure Zone “C”
- def Kurose 5-0
- def Kure Shougyou 6-4
- def Miyoshi Seiryou 7-2
- def Kouyou Higashi 4-2
- def Kouryou 3x-2 (10 inn)
- lost Hiroshima Shinjyou 3-15
- def Gokoo 9-2
- def Kumage Minami 9x-2 (7 inn)
- def Hiroshima Shinjyou 5-3
- def Tottori Jyouhoku 6-3
- lost Ube Koujyou 2-13
Shiritsu Kure has always been on the verge of breaking through, but always seemed to fall to teams like Kouryou, Jyosuikan and more recently Hiroshima Shinjyou. This time around, they finally got over the hump, though not without some difficulty along the way revenging a loss to Hiroshima Shinjyou in the prefecturals. For them there are certainly quality wins though the loss to Ube Koujyou is a bit of a sore spot in the resume.
Ikeda Riki (池田 吏輝) is their ace, and is pretty much what one would expect from a Tier 3 school. He reportedly throws in the low 120s with a shuuto, slider and changeup. He’s been the ace since at least fall 2015 as that’s when the linked video was taken. As one would expect, his peripherals are not stellar. I couldn’t find out how the final game stats were split as it appears that they went to reliever Nagata Rikuya (永田 陸哉) and then back to Ikeda, suggesting that Nagata was to put it nicely ineffective, but here was his combined line in the other 3 games:
- 3 CG, 8 R (7 ER), 23 H, 13 K, 6 BB
And in that Ube Koujyou game, there were just 6 K’s to a staggering 13 BB’s. Even if you could attribute some of that to Nagata, you have to imagine that a majority of them are Ikeda’s. It means that he averages slightly over a K ever 2 innings, and almost walks as many batters as he strikes out. Not exactly a good formula.
There may be some good news. Offensively the team doesn’t have a standout player because looking through the boxscores, it seems like everyone chips in each game with a base hit. It can indicate one of two things, either there are no black holes in the lineup, or they have a mediocre lineup from top to bottom. If you’re a fan of Ichikure (that’s their nickname), you hope the former, but objectively speaking looking at the Chuugoku region, I tend to lean toward the latter. Certainly Ikeda’s non-domination on the mound means the offense must deliver, and for their sake I hope so but I’m not necessarily getting my hopes up.