(photo courtesy of Yahoo! Sports)
With just the Meiji Jingu Taikai bid (which is entering its final stages) and the 21st century teams left, the field is almost all set.
One difference though. Since this is the 90th iteration, it’s possible that they repeat what they did in the 80th tournament – and that the floating bids mostly become bids for all regions:
- Hokkaido (1)
- Tohoku (2)
- Kanto ex Tokyo (5 + 1 floating?)
- Tokyo (1 + 1 floating?)
- Hokushinetsu (3)
- Toukai (3)
- Kinki (6)
- Chuugoku (3)
- Shikoku (3)
- Kyushu (4)
- Meiji Jingu Bid (1)
- 21st Century Teams (3)
So, who are the projected teams?
- Komadai Tomakomai
Already covered, but while they may be back to Koushien, the team doesn’t look all that strong
- Seikou Gakuin (Fukushima)
- Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate)
I question how strong the region is, though Seikou Gakuin’s loss to Souseikan is muted by the fact they in turn defeated Osaka Touin.
Kanto ex Tokyo (4 + 1 floating)
- Chuo Gakuin (Chiba)
- Meishuu Hitashi (Ibaraki)
- Toukaidai Sagami (Kanagawa)
- Keiou Gijyuku (Kanagawa)
The bottom 2 should be names you know although Keiou has been away from the scene for a while.
What is more surprising is the top 2 schools. Chuo Gakuin and Meishuu Hitachi come from nowhere to reach the super-regional final. But neither school had no favors in the super-regional tournament, so there may some more legitimacy in their upcoming invitation.
- Kokugakuin Tochigi (Tochigi)/Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)?
Of the schools who could receive the floating bid are these two who had narrow losses in the super-regional and have comparable resumes in the prefecturals.
Tokyo (1 + 1 floating bid)
Sankou is doing Sankou things, with good offense, but not necessarily the pitching as shown in their loss to Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa.
- Kousei Gakuen
As the runner-ups, they would be the team to receive the floating bid, but the problem is their resume which isn’t strong as compared to the possible Kanto invitees.
- Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa (Ishikawa)
- Seiryou (Ishikawa)
- Toyama Shougyou (Toyama)
If not for the fact that Hokushinetsu gets one extra bid, the region would have been represented by one prefecture yet again. Despite the fact that Seiryou won the prefecturals, it was Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa who breezed through the super-regionals.
Toyama Shougyou should get the final bid as they were in competition from runner-up Toyama Kokusaidai and had a better time of it in the super-regionals as well.
- Shizuoka (Shizuoka)
- Touhou (Aichi)
- Mie (Mie)
- Chuukyou Gakuindai Chuukyou (Gifu)?
Nothing new here, as Shizuoka and Touhou are names we’ve heard before. Mie should be the 3rd team in over Chuukyou Gakuindai Chuukyou because while both faced the best competition in-prefecture, both also faced Oogaki Nishi at one point and Mie’s ace Fukuda threw a 1-hitter in a game Oogaki Nishi had to have.
- Osaka Touin (Osaka)
- Chiben Wakayama (Chiben)
- Otokuni (Kyoto)
- Oumi (Shiga)
- Akashi Shougyou (Hyogo)
- Chiben Gakuen (Nara)
It’s possible that based upon the results that each prefecture will get one team into the 90th Haru Koushien tournament. It’s a bit hard to project the last 2 teams because none of the quarterfinal losers really impressed, but Akashi Shougyou and Chiben Gakuen seemingly did the best.
- Okayama Sanyou (Okayama)
- Shimonoseki Kokusai (Yamaguchi)
- Setouchi (Hiroshima)
Okayama Sanyou makes a return to Koushien in almost sweeping fashion, taking the title after trading blows with runner-up Shimonoseki Kokusai 12-11. Setouchi should take the last spot over fellow prefectural school Onomichi due to their performance in the super-regionals.
- Meitoku Gijyuku (Kochi)
- Eimei (Kagawa)
- Matsuyama Seiryou (Ehime)
More known commodities here with Meitoku Gijyuku and Eimei. Matsuyama Seiryou gets in with their close semifinal against the eventual champions.
- Souseikan (Nagasaki)
- Tomishima (Miyazaki)
- Nobeoka Gakuen (Miyazaki)
- Touchiku (Fukuoka)
Kyushu is in flux again, with Tomishima and Touchiku finding their way into the field of now 36.
Meiji Jingu Bid (1)
- Kyushu via Souseikan – Kamimura Gakuen (Kagoshima)/Meihou (Oita)
- Shikoku via Meitoku Gijyuku – Takamatsu Shougyou (Kagawa)/Ootemae Takamatsu (Kagawa)
The Meiji Jingu final is set and it’s Souseikan v Meitoku Gijyuku. Either Kyushu or Shikoku will get one extra team in the field. Should Meitoku Gijyuku win, Takamatsu Shougyou should get the bid, though a small chance should be given to Ootemae Takamatsu given who they played, but it’s slim. If Souseikan wins, it’s a tossup between Kamimura Gakuen and Meihou though gun to head I’d say Kamimura Gakuen has the inside track.