(photo courtesy of Livedoor news)
Road to Haru Koushien
- def Kani 4-3
- def Nakatsu Shougyou 4-1
- def Gujyou 4-2
- def Mashita Seifuu 6x-5
- def Reitaku Mizunami 10-1
- lost Shigakukan 1-2
The resume hinges on one game really. In the prefecturals there was no Kenritsu Gifu Shougyou, no Shiritsu Gifu Shougyou, no Oogaki Nichidai. That didn’t stop them from having close games time and time again before coming through in the prefectural final. In fact, the semifinal against Mashita Seifuu, they scored 5 in the 9th for a gyakten sayonara victory. They scored all 6 runs on just 4 hits.
Really it is the narrow loss to Shigakukan that makes their resume have any sort of validity. Shigakukan themselves had a resume that was so-so, defeating an Aikoudai Meiden that isn’t what it used to be, and then in the super-regionals Chuukyoudai Chuukyou who they missed in the prefecturals.
Kawachi Keita (河地 京太) is their ace, and the one responsible for holding them to just 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 1 and walking none. The lack of K’s is always a concern, but still 4 hits is pretty good. I can’t find any videos, but this Asahi article talks about him having a ~130 kph fastball with a 90’s slow curve. It probably explains the low K numbers if anything.
The issue for them, much like Kozukata is their offense. 4 of their games they scored 4 or less runs, and if you consider that they had just 1 run against Mashita Seifuu until the bottom of the 9th, it’s clear that the team struggles to get runners home. What offense they do have is mostly situated at the top of the lineup. Each of the top 4 batters almost collects a hit per game. Not great, but better than nothing.
Again, there’s little to go on, but I think that Tajimi will stand more of a chance than Kozukata. What will also help is the possible crowd that will travel down for their game. Maybe it gets close to the size of Shin-Minato’s ouen-dan. But their overall prospects are to maybe win one game, but only if things fall their way.