(picture courtesy of 一緒に考えてみませんか)
Possible road to Haru Koushien
- def Kantou Gakuin 6-3
- def Shounan 9-3
- def Nichidai Fujisawa 10x-3 (8 inn)
- def Yokohama Sougakukan 4-1
- def Yokohama Shoudai 8-0 (7 inn)
- def Yokohama 7-4
- def Hanasaki Tokuharu 9-1 (7 inn)
- lost Maebashi Ikuei 3-4x
Keiou Gijyuku is the only other team to possibly challenge Nichidai-san for the Kanto/Tokyo floating bid and is the front runner according to ラガーさん. Now, the resume overall is okay, but no games against quality competition in the prefecturals outside of Yokohama is a bit of a concern. And while defeating Hanasaki Tokuharu can be considered a good win, they’re not really known for sustained success so it’s possible they’re just rebuilding after a campaign last year. The loss to Maebashi Ikuei would have helped their cause more had they gone on to defeat Toukaidai Ichihara Bouyou, but with a narrow loss there too, it means that they’re more on equal footing if anything else.
Keiou’s ace is Morita Kousuke (森田 晃介). Throws slightly above-average velo (mid-high 130s) with a slider, curve and splitter. I was able to find a video of the Yokohama game that he came in relief, so in looking at his lines it will be based off the prefectural final and his 2 super-regional games:
- v Yokohama – 3 IP, ER, H, 6 K, 3 BB
- v Hanasaki Tokuharu – CG (7 inn), ER, 4 H, 2 K, BB
- v Maebashi Ikuei – CG, 3 ER, 9 H, 6 K, 2 BB
Not terrible numbers mind you – 2.368 ERA, 0.736 WHIP, 6.632 K/9, 2.842 BB/9, 2.333 K/BB. The K rate is perhaps a little low, but at least doesn’t walk batters which is something that at least should carry into Koushien. He also seems to have the best control of all the pitchers available, but still does miss his locations and sometimes in the wrong places.
I don’t know how much Keiou will depend on their relief staff, but #10 Namai Jyunki(?) (生井 惇己) and #11 Watanabe Tessei (渡邊 哲成) were at least given the ball in the Yokohama game, even if both teams were to advance to the super-regionals.
- Namai – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 3 K, 3 BB
- Watanabe – 1.1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, K, 0 BB
Neither Namai or Watanabe had good control. There were quite a few pitches in the game that went completely amiss and I’m not sure it would play at all should they have to take the mound.
There is some good news offensively, and that is that unlike other teams, there at least isn’t a black hole at the bottom of the lineup. In fact, in their final 3 games, the 7-8-9 batters hit a combined 7-24 while the team as a whole went 25-88.
The player that impressed me the most in the Yokohama game was 3B Shimoyama Yuusuke (下山 悠介). He drove a pitch to the LF wall for a double, and later hit a scorcher through the right side in their 3-run 7th. Overall though quite a few of the batters chased pitches out of the zone, and not just borderline ones but ones that were clearly a ball. And yet they took some borderline pitches which could have been called a strike and perhaps got the benefit of the doubt. It’s pitch recognition (or lack thereof) that could drive a kantoku mad.
I don’t know the state of the Yokohama team after Watanabe-kantoku’s departure. And remember this game didn’t count in the grand scheme of qualifying for the super-regionals. And so having the game they did probably could be discounted a little when looking at the team as a whole. I wish I could see the Maebashi Ikuei game so that I could perhaps see what ラガーさん sees in them, but I think Nichidai-san might still have the edge. But that’s just me.