(photo courtesy of Kochi Shinbun)
Road to Haru Koushien
- def Tosa Jyuku 8-0 (7 inn)
- def Kochi Kougyou 7x-0 (7 inn)
- def Okou 3-0
- lost Nakamura 0-2
- def Tokushima Kita 13-1 (6 inn)
- def Uwajima Higashi 2-0
- def Saibi 10-2 (8 inn)
- def Teikyou Dai-go 11-2
- def Sakushin Gakuin 7-2
- lost Fukuokadai Oohori 0-2
Meitoku Gijuku makes its 4th consecutive calendar Koushien appearance off of an unexpected Natsu Koushien run to the semifinals, which was aided somewhat by a favorable schedule. They’ve lost most of their roster, especially their pitching staff, and yet they still managed to win the Shikoku super-region and “avenge” their loss to Sakushin Gakuin in the aforementioned semi-final. The question is, what type of team remains after the shakeup?
Their new ace is Kitamoto Yuuto (北本 佑斗). From the video, he throws a two-seamer in the high 120s-low 130s, with a slow curve in the 100s. There may be a slider in the video, but we have no velocity record of it. And in a clip from their final against Teikyou Dai-go he also seems to have a changeup in the high 110s. Interestingly, he actually wore #11 during the prefecturals and super-regionals and yet got the majority of the time on the mound. However, his peripherals are not great. In fact his best game was the Tokushima Kita game where he struck out 4 while walking none in 5 innings of work:
- v Tokushima Kita – 5 IP, 0 ER, H, 4 K, 0 BB
- v Uwajima Higashi – CG, 0 ER, 5 H, 7 K, 7 BB
- v Saibi – 8 IP, 2 ER, H, 2 K, 6 BB
- v Teikyou Dai-go – 8 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 5 K, 8 BB
- v Sakushin Gakuin – CG, 2 ER, 10 H, 6 K, 4 BB
- v Fukuokadai Oohori – CG, 2 ER, 8 H, K, BB
For a total line of 3 CG, 47 IP, 6 ER, 27 H, 25 K, 26 BB. That works out to a 1.106 WHIP, 4.787 K/9, 4.979 BB/9 and a 0.962 K/BB ratio. The WHIP is great, but when you look at his high BB rate and his low K rate, it’s a big red flag for Koushien. If anything, the blueprint for them is the Sakushin Gakuin game. A lot of balls in play, but good defense to help keep the game manageable. And I wouldn’t bother using any of the other pitchers as when they were implemented, they immediately gave up a run, including former ace number Ichikawa Yuuta (市川 悠太) who gave up the 2 runs in the Teikyou Dai-go game on 4 hits, while striking out 2 and walking 1.
Offensively it’s a mixed bag. In their game history, there are blowout games, and then there are games where they severely struggle on offense. One big example is 1B Kugo Kenta (久後 健太) who was 10-15 with 6 RBIs in the super-regionals, but was 2-7 at Meiji Jingu. You can look at SS Imai Ryousuke (今井 涼介) was 8-14 with 2 2Bs and 4 RBIs in the super-regionals, but also was 2-7 at Meiji Jingu though one of his hits was a HR.
The offensive output they showed means that they can beat up on the lower tier teams at Koushien. But the inconsistency means that they could just as easy turn belly-up against a no-name.