Natsu Koushien Qualifying Update (7/2)

Natsu Koushien Qualifying Update (7/2)

(picture courtesy of Chunichi)

5 prefectures are underway and the extreme ends (Kita Hokkaido, Minami Hokkaido and Okinawa) are already in the round of 16 – understandable since they have wide areas for schools to cover. Here’s where we stand.

Okinawa

3 of the 4 seeded teams are through, with the casualty being Misato Kougyou, falling to Yaeyama in sayonara fashion 6x-5 in 13 innings. Top seed Okinawa Shougaku though appears vulnerable as they needed 3 pitchers to hold on for a 5-4 win over Naha in their first game (they had a first round bye).

The surprise comes out of the bottom right of the bracket where Shuri has defeated both Yaeyama Shoukou and Kadena (they’re the team in the picture above). Both games were close and it doesn’t get any easier as they have to face Ginoza next who have yet to give up a run. If they can win that game, a Best 4 appearance may not be out of the imagination.

  • Okinawa Shougaku v Naha Shougyou
  • Urasoe Kougyou v Itoman
  • Kounan v Yomitan
  • Tomigusuku v Miyako
  • Yaeyama v Yaeyama Nougyou
  • Urasoe Shougyou v Chinen
  • Mirai Kouka v Kitayama
  • Ginoza v Shuri

Kita Hokkaido

Many of the stronger teams have advanced out of regional play.

Asahikawa

  • Asahikawa Jitsugyou
  • Asahikawa Ryuukoku
  • Asahikawadai
  • Asahikawa Nagamine

Asahikawa was pretty scratch for the first 3 blocks. The last was pretty much up for grabs and Asahikawa Nagamine ekes out of the last block with a 3-2 win over Asahikawa Meisei.

Kitami

  • Engaru
  • Abashiri Minamigaoka

Engaru advances, but not smoothly – perhaps their heyday has come and gone. Kitami Hokuto might have been pegged to advance, but Abashiri Minamigaoka seems to have come on since the fall and with a 5-3 win, moved on to the block final where they shutout Kitami Shougyou. They can put that feather in their cap, but they’re moving onto bigger fish now.

Kushine

  • Bushuukan
  • Nakashibetsu
  • Kushiro Hokuyou

Bushuukan and Nakashibetsu both advance with no troubles, while Kushiro Hokuyou claims the last (and open) block out of Kushine.

Nayoro

  • Esashi (枝幸)
  • Wakkanai Ootani

With just 2 games to get out of this region, it’ll be hard to peg either for a deep run though at least Wakkanai Ootani has done it before.

Sorachi

  • Takikawa Nishi
  • Clark Kokusai

The two favorites out of Sorachi both advance, but neither perhaps could be considered dominant in their block finals.

Tokachi

  • Shirakaba Gakuen
  • Obihiro Ootani
  • Kouryou

Once again, the first two blocks had the favorite advance with Kouryou rounding out the field in another open block. However, all three did not look strong in their block final with the former 2 winning 1-run games, and Kouryou, despite scoring 10+ runs each game, gave up 1 then 6 then 10 runs.

There doesn’t appear to be a front-runner in the region, but there are familiar names. Usually that gives them an advantage when facing other schools but I would not be surprised if a school from Asahikawa goes or perhaps Clark Kokusai once again.

Minami Hokkaido

Many of the stronger teams have advanced out of regional play.

Sapporo

  • Eniwa Kita
  • Tokaidai Sapporo (fka Toukai Dai-yon)
  • Sapporo Kousei
  • Sapporo Ootani
  • Sapporo Nichidai
  • Hokkai
  • Sapporo Seishuu
  • Sapporo Dai-ichi

Otaru

  • Hokushou
  • Otaru Chouryou

Muroran

  • Hokkaido Sakae
  • Komadai Tomakomai
  • Komazawa Chuo

Hakodate

  • Hakodatedai Yuuto
  • Hakodate Kougyou
  • Esashi (江差)

In fact, the only perhaps upset could be Esashi, who defeated LaSalle 6-5 in 10 innings after blowing an early 5-0 lead. Suffice it to say that a familiar face will probably be going to Koushien as many upstarts will find the road littered with mines.

Kagoshima

Kagoshima is still in it’s early stages, but the two seeded teams to have played, Kamimura Gakuen and Kagoshima Jitsugyou, both advanced with little trouble.

Aichi

Aichi is much in the same boat, and with seeded teams getting not 1, but 2 byes, we won’t seem them play until the weekend after next.

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