(photo courtesy of kokoyakyu.com)
Road to Haru Koushien
Regionals (incl repechage)
- def Shuujitsu 9-2 (8 inn)
- lost Okayama Asahi 1-2
- def Meisei Gakuin 11-1 (5 inn)
- def Okayama Asahi 8-0 (7 inn)
- def Kurashiki Minami 4-0
- def Kurashiki Kougyou 7-2
- lost Tamashima Shougyou 3-4x (14 inn)
- def Okayama Shoudai Fuzoku 8-0
- def Masuda Higashi 5-0
- def Kanzei 9-3
- lost Ube Koujyou 2-3
Soushi Gakuen followed up the controversial summer final with a run which in all likelihood will allow them to fall into the floating bid. But there are no real quality wins and a couple of losses that make you scratch your head a bit.
The ace is Nanba Yuuhei (難波 侑平), who actually came in relief in the loss to Moriokadai Fuzoku this past summer. His numbers weren’t terrible (2.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 K, 1 BB), but when pressed to a longer stint, it seems to drop off. Combined with reliever Akiyama Tatsuhiko’s (秋山 竜彦) stats, they struck out 8 batters while walking 9 in the three games meaning that we’re talking about a 2.67 K/9 rate and a 3 BB/9 walk rate. And in an already considered weak super-region, those numbers are certainly expected to get worse.
Back to Nanba, in that Natsu Koushien he actually started in LF and then took over after Takada gave up a 2-run HR to extend Moriokadai Fuzoku’s lead to 10-7. His fastball seems to be in the upper 130s, there appears to be a shuuto/sinker in the low 130s, and then a forkball in the upper 110s/lower 120s. It took a couple of times for me to figure out what the pitches were though because from the movement it wasn’t immediately ascertainable. Nanba lacked control on his pitches, and if I had trouble figuring out what the pitches are, I imagine that that the pitches themselves aren’t all that great. Combined with the fact the pitches themselves aren’t what you would consider out pitches, it also makes sense why his K numbers aren’t all that stellar either meaning he has to lean on his defense.
Where they certainly don’t seem to be lacking is on offense, as they recorded double digit hits in every game in the super-regionals save for the loss to Ube Koujyou and even then they still recorded 8 hits. By far, the two best hitters are their leadoff batter CF Yamamoto Aoi(?) (山本 蒼) who was 9-14 with 3 RBIs, and the aforementioned Nanba who was 6-13 also with 3 RBIs. Though again, if one of your better hitters is your pitcher, that generally spells trouble (Ootani aside, yes I know).
So in some ways they’re in the same boat as Shiritsu Kure, with the offense needing to carry the day. Unlike Shiritsu Kure it seems like they have a higher upside which means that they may at least be able to steal a game. But long-term it’s unsustainable an outage in any game spells almost certain doom.