Tag: Kendai Takasaki

89th Haru Koushien – Day 10, Game 3 – Shuugakukan (Kumamoto) v Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 10, Game 3 – Shuugakukan (Kumamoto) v Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

(photo courtesy of Nikkan Sports)

Shuugakukan is the second beneficiary of the replay games, moving on to facing Kendai Takasaki.

Shuugakukan barely survived against Sakushin Gakuin with the offense doing just enough and the pitching getting some assists from the Sakushin Gakuin batters who weren’t patient enough. In addition, Kajisha-kantoku may have been learning something as he replaced Taura with Kawabata when he started struggling though that was the time Sakushin Gakuin started being patient.

The thing is, Kendai Takasaki is actually in a better position than you think. In the replay game, they started a pitcher who had yet to pitch in the tournament, #13 Mukai Yoshiki. He did his job, spelling all the other pitchers with a 170 pitch complete game effort. He may have been the “break in case of emergency” pitcher as he struck out 11 and walked 7 in his effort.

The stretch run now approaches, and now without a day off between the quarterfinals and semifinals. I don’t think Kendai Takasaki will go away from the multi-pitcher approach, but I’m not sure someone like Mukai can return and spell the main pitchers once again.

Shuugakukan

  • SS Hanjyou Touma
  • 2B Takewa Ryousuke
  • 1B Kimoto Ryuuga
  • 3B Hirobe Shuuhei
  • LF (#18) Ishii Takyua
  • RF (#7) Yamashita Tatsuya
  • CF Fujimoto Shun
  • C Kouchi Tatsuya
  • P (#10) Kawabata Kento

Kendai Takasaki

  • SS (#4) Asato Jyura
  • LF Onodera Daiki
  • 1B Yamashita Kouta
  • 3B Toguchi Taisei
  • RF (#14) Takayama Ryoutarou
  • 2B (#18) Ookoshi Koutarou
  • CF Imai Yuusuke
  • P Itou Atsuki
  • C Oogaki Rentarou

13:20 – First Pitch!

WOW. That was quick. Settling down into my seat I see Takewa hit a single that goes off the end of Asato’s outstretched glove. And then Kimoto gets around on a slider inside and drives it out for a 2-run HR. 2-0 Shuugakukan just like that.

And in a weird defensive move, #9 Akasaka replaces Ishii and goes to his numbered position, Yamashita goes to LF. Huh.

Kendai Takasaki tries to strike back. Asato gets a leadoff single, steals 2nd and advances to 3rd when Hanjyou doesn’t catch the throw.

And yet, Kawabata comes back and strikes out the next 3 batters, all on the slider, stranding Asato at 3rd!

Shuugakukan adds to their lead in the 3rd when Kimoto hits a sac liner to right scoring Hanjyou who earlier hit a double. 3-0 Shuugakukan and it’s getting a little concerning.

That’s because Kendai Takasaki had been unable to do anything against Kawabata and either his fast fastball or his slider. But in the bottom half of the frame, Itou draws a leadoff walk and Oogaki hits a base hit up the middle.

But a failed sac bunt by Asato which cut down the lead runner and then a strikeout on a 141 fastball mean that they could be denied a run. Instead, Yamashita delivers a single back up the middle! Oogaki is sent home, as Fujimoto fires home. The tag is made, and Oogaki is out! He knows it too because he’s not giving a safe signal. Kendai Takasaki is denied and they still trail by 3.

The deficit continues to grow. 4th inning, 2 outs, runners on 1st and 2nd. Itou leaves one up for his counterpart Kawabata and he doubles into the large gap in right center. Both runners score and it’s 5-0 Shuugakukan. Toss in an RBI single by Hanjyou and it’s 6-0.

Then and only then does Aoyagi-kantoku send in #11 Takemoto and send Itou to RF. Kajisha-kantoku then sends in #14 Watanabe and he also doubles to the large gap in right center. 7-0.

Shuugakukan adds another run in the 6th before Kendai Takasaki gets on the board in the bottom half of the frame, almost exclusively because of Onodera. He gets a bunt base hit, steals 2nd, takes 3rd despite behind Yamashita grounding to short, and then scores on a wild pitch. 8-1.

The game is pretty much in hand, but Shuugakukan suffers a setback when a freak accident happens in the bottom of the 8th. Yamashita at 2nd, grounder to 3rd. Throw to 1st for the 2nd out, but then they throw to 3rd to try and get Yamashita. Hanjyou, covering the base, goes to make the tag, but in Yamashita’s slide he catches on the ground and lunges forward. That’s when his head, helmet and all, collides with Hanjyou’s head as he’s turning to make the tag. They make the play, but both players go down. Hanjyou has to be taken off by stretcher and will probably have to be checked for concussions (if they do that).

The final score ends up as 9-2 and Kawabata finished the game despite being shaky with his control in the final innings. I would be more confident in what Kajisha-kantoku had been doing if he has relieved Kawabata with Taura, but my only hope is that he’s alternating between pitchers each start. But I don’t think that’s a good idea either because we’ve seen Taura 2 days ago and now Kawabata faltering a bit late in the game. If he were to split time I think both would be more effective.

Sadly, I think I may have to put Kajisha-kantoku back on my list.

89th Haru Koushien – Day 9, Replay Game 2 – Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui) v Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 9, Replay Game 2 – Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui) v Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

(picture courtesy of Daily Sports)

Fukui Koudai Fukui had come back from down so far and was a step away from winning the game, and on just one brainfart, the game was tied and the deadlock wasn’t to be broken.

It’s worse for Fukui Koudai Fukui because Suriishi played 11 innings and in the last 4 turned it over to a pitcher who wasn’t depended on during the fall, was called into duty and nursed the game home, but I’m not sure if he can do it again, but he might have to.

Actually, both teams are not only going with new Ps to start the game, but also different lineups.

Fukui Koudai Fukui

  • SS (#4) Kitagawa Tomoya
  • CF Yamauchi Takafumi
  • 1B Inoue Kaito
  • LF Yamagishi Asahi
  • RF (#17) Satou Yuuto
  • C (#13) Shimatani Genki
  • 2B (#15) Oomori Momoto
  • 3B (#16) Yamaoka Shouma
  • P (#11) Katou Isami

Kendai Takasaki

  • SS (#4) Asato Jyura
  • LF Onodera Daiki
  • 1B Yamashita Kouta
  • 3B Toguchi Taisei
  • RF (#14) Takayama Ryoutarou
  • 2B (#18) Ookoshi Koutarou
  • CF Imai Yuusuke
  • C Oogaki Rentarou
  • P (#13) Mukai Yoshiki

13:20 – First Pitch!

Mukai pretty much average velocity wise, mid-130s fastball with a reported changeup to go with the standard slider/curve combo.

He gets into early trouble with 1 down as after a base hit, a grounder from Kaito goes off Ookoshi and trickles into right. That unlucky break is returned back though when after a pop out to Oogaki, Satou hits a hard grounder to the left side that hits Yamauchi on his way to 3rd.

Kendai Takasaki gets their own chance right off the bat. Asato turns around a fastball for a single to right, steals 2nd and then advances to 3rd when Onodera directs a ground ball to 1st.

Next thing you know Yamashita hits a ball back up past the drawn in infield and it’s 1-0 Kendai Takasaki.

But with 2 down, it looks like the outcome may already be decided as on three consecutive pitches, Takayama, Ookoshi and Imai get base hits, rapidly increasing the lead to 4-0.

We knew Fukui Koudai Fukui was hesitant to sub out their ace, and perhaps there was good reason for it. On the other hand Mukai isn’t exactly glove perfect, but his breaking pitches have good movement that it fools the Fukui Koudai Fukui batters enough to get the outs he needs – though not without the occasional walk.

The facade finally falls apart in the 4th. Having already given up a single and a triple to make the score 6-0 with no out and no on, Mukai grounds to 2nd to end the inning. Or it would have had it not rode up Oomori’s arm and sky high.

After that, the next two batters get singles to load the bases. #12 Nakata comes in, only to give up a grand slam to Yamashita (his 2nd GS of the tournament). 10-0.

Fukui Koudai Fukui avoids the shutout thanks to an error in the 9th, but a baserunner forgetting the number of outs makes the final score stand at 10-2.

They were hard pressed to come back in this game, and even more so when Suriishi was stood down. The result then was understandable as Kendai Takasaki led wire-to-wire. Plus, they saved their other pitchers for the stretch run.

89th Haru Koushien – Day 7, Game 3 – Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui) v Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 7, Game 3 – Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui) v Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

(picture courtesy of Asahi)

Kendai Takasaki had an easy time of it against Sapporo Dai-ichi, who really didn’t put up much of a fight. So again, little to take from that matchup.

Fukui Koudai Fukui on the other hand, had a gameplan against fellow regional champs Sendai Ikuei, and despite being down late, came through for a comeback win. I would hope to see them do the same thing here playing the patience game.

Fukui Koudai Fukui

  • 2B Kitagawa Tomoya
  • RF Yoshida Yuuya
  • 1B Inoue Kaito
  • LF Yamagishi Asahi
  • C (#13) Shimatani Genki
  • 3B (#16) Yamaoka Shouma
  • SS Nishimura Rikuto
  • CF Yamauchi Takafumi
  • P Suriishi Tatsuya

Kendai Takasaki

  • CF Imai Yuusuke
  • LF Onodera Daiki
  • SS (#4) Asato Jyura
  • 1B Yamashita Kouta
  • 3B Toguchi Taisei
  • RF (#14) Takayama Ryoutarou
  • 2B (#18) Ookoshi Koutarou
  • P Itou Atsuki
  • C Oogaki Rentarou

14:40 – First Pitch!

Itou and his side-arm action gives some problems to Fukui Koudai Fukui to start the game. Yoshida does connect for a base hit, but that’s pretty much it as Yamagishi is caught on a fastball on the outside black.

For Suriishi, it’s 3 straight ground balls to 2nd. Quick inning, and his offense is back on the field.

Fukui Koudai Fukui gets a chance in the 2nd, but it comes with some help. A leadoff walk to Shimatani and then Yamauchi with a hustle single. But Itou comes right back to strike out his counterpart to end the inning.

No one is making good contact against either pitcher. And for Kendai Takasaki they may have wondered after Yamashita grounded out to 2nd if that’s all they could do.

No, Suriishi strikes out the next 2 batters and perhaps Kendai Takasaki would want to retract that complaint.

3rd inning, Kaito gets one of the better hits of the game, turning around a fastball inside and depositing a single to right. Yamagishi walks, but then on the first pitch to Shimatani he fouls out to end the inning.

Itou actually collects the first base hit for Kendai Takasaki, a slicer that falls in shallow left. After a sac bunt, Imai is hit and Suriishi seems to be out of sorts with a runner on base.

And now Onodera goes and reaches down, drives a fastball to right! Yoshida there, but he stumbles and falls down! 2 runners guaranteed to score, but time is called. Yoshida seems to have injured himself in fielding the ball and is in paid. The stretcher is called for the 2nd time this tournament and he’s carried off. #17 Satou eventually replaces him, and the umpires award Onodera a triple, making it 2-0.

But things go south quickly after that. Yasuda bunts and Yamaoka throws it away at 1st to make it 3-0. Yamashita crushes a ball to right center for a triple of his own and it’s 4-0.

Suriishi continues to be shaky, issuing a 4-pitch walk and hitting yet another batter in the 4th as the rain continues to fall and the fans who can head up under cover.

I can’t tell if the weather is causing issues because with 2 out, new RF Satou singles back up the middle. After that it’s Itou who’s struggling with his control, walking not just Kaito, but Yamagishi as well. Manrui for Shimatani and a chance to claw back the margin.

Itou finally starts like he might lock it down, but a fastball runs back over the plate and Shimatani crushed it over Takayama’s head and to the wall for a bases clearing triple! Just like that it’s 4-3 and we have a ballgame again!

But it looks like until the pitchers are replaced, these bugaboos are going to continue. Onodera singles on a slow chopper up the middle for a leadoff hit. Then with 2 down, Toguchi rips a base hit to the left side and then Takayama beats out a dribbler up the 1st base side to score a run. 5-3 Kendai Takasaki as they hit the break.

And it’s Kendai Takasaki who breaks from their starters first. After Itou gives up a double to Suriishi and walks Kitagawa, #10 Ono comes in and Itou goes to RF.

Ono is almost a complete opposite of Itou. A traditional overhand pitcher who can hit 145. And yet he starts his relief stint… with a walk.

And then the unthinkable! Ahead 1-2 and Oogaki standing up wanting a high pitch, Ono doesn’t leave it high enough and Kaito actually connects on it! It falls in front of Imai and we’re going to have a tie game! Except Imai fumbles the ball and that allows Satou to score, meaning that Fukui Koudai Fukui leads 6-5!

Bottom 7, it looks like it might be lucky indeed for Kendai Takasaki. After Onodera is plunked, he’s caught trying to steal 2nd – except that Kaito throws it away going to 2nd! That means that Onodera winds up at 3rd and 2 batters later Yamashita hits a sac fly to left and we’re tied at 6-6!!

Now looking back at Fukui’s 7th when Shimatani led with a base hit and got picked off, that could be key later on now that we’re tied.

Aoyagi-kantoku trying to nurse the game home. But with Yamauchi leading off with a base hit in the 8th and moved to 2nd, he sends in #11 Takemoto to deal with the top of the Fukui lineup.

Dangerous game Fukui Koudai Fukui is playing as both Itou and Oogaki get solid 2 out singles in the 8th before Suriishi retires Imai on a pop-up. Not sure how much longer he can hold out.

On the other hand Fukui Koudai Fukui is trying to end it in regulation. Kaitou reaches down and lines a ball to right for a leadoff hit.

Yamagishi comes through! Takemoto leaves a fastball right over the plate and he crushes it to left center! He’s in with a double and Fukui Koudai Fukui leads 7-6 here in the 9th!!

Takemoto closes out the inning after that, but his team needs to find 1 run in 3 outs versus Suriishi. Which is entirely possible.

Except that when Suriishi gets a routine grounder from Onodera, it’s anything but routine. Nishimura fumbles with the ball several times and winds up not even throwing to 1st! It’s an error that gets the runner on base!

And now Yasuda is hit! The sayonara run is on base and now in scoring position after a bunt! With only the runner at 2nd mattering for the win Taguchi should be put on base.

But on another standing C pitch, Toguchi swings away and pops it up! Kaito catches it in foul territory for the 2nd out! It’s all left to PH Andou to keep the game alive.

EXCEPT IT ISN’T! Suriishi throws to 2nd thinking he has the runner picked off, except that Onodera was taking off too and he scores before they can throw home! 7-7 and the question is WHY?

WHY WOULD YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT RISKING IT AT THAT POINT?

You’re risking throwing it away, or something like what exactly just happened. It makes no sense whatsover with high risk for little gain.

Suriishi gets out of the inning with a K, but the damage is done as we’re headed to enchousen.

Fukui Koudai Fukui gets a leadoff single in the 10th, but a bunt dies fair and Suriishi doesn’t run and leads to a double play ending that.

Itou draws a walk with one down for Kendai Takasaki and is bunted to 2nd, but that small opportunity goes away with a flyout to left.

Imai makes a great diving catch to start the 11th, but people might not have noticed that Takemoto hit 150 on the radar gun.

Now, he uses that to plunk Kaito afterwards, but eventually strands him.

Suriishi returns the favor with Yasuda, but putting runners on base is always dangerous (kidding, I know that wasn’t meant to be reciprocal. I think.).

Problem is Yamashita walks and now things are dicey.

Now Toguchi walks and Oosuga-kantoku hurriedly calls for time. The graphic has Suriishi at 187 pitches. He, I don’t know, might be tired.

And yet he stays in. They will sink or swim with him. On the 192th pitch Andou pops up. The 193st Ookoshi pops up. We’re headed to the 12th.

That ends up being his last pitch as #18 Inoue Ryou hits for him. He strikes out to end the inning and that means #10 Ujiie enters the game.

There may be a reason he was being held back for so long. His line?

0+ IP, 2 H, 1 BB

Oy.

First pitch grounder to short. Good start.

First two pitches to Oogaki? A curve in the dirt and a fastball above Oogaki. Still gets a flyout.

Imai up, and he’s send to the ground on a fastball. And another ball at his eyes he chases after and somehow he has a 1-2-3 inning.

13th inning now and now the prospect of a replay actually is realistic. Kitagawa gets an infield hit when Ookoshi runs a ball in the gap down, but can’t make the throw to 1st. He’s bunted to 2nd.

Kaito with a comebacker, but Itou can’t field it! It glances off of him and to the right side and Ookoshi can’t make the throw to 1st in time! Runners at the corners, 1 down!

Yamagishi with a chance to give Fukui Koudai Fukui the lead again, but he pops up! Yamashita runs it down near the camera well and makes the catch! 2 down!

Shimatani drive to left! Onodera scrambling back! He circles around to the front of the wall… and makes the catch!

And the game continues tied…

And as we hit the 14th, again the teams begin spiraling towards a tie.

Kendai Takasaki are making some loud hits, but in the end they all fall as flyouts. #16 Ueno hits for Andou, rips a ball right at 1st. It bounced to the 2B and he goes back to Inoue who tags the bag in time. Your routine 3-4-3 putout.

Ookoshi gets the first hit off of Ujiie, a grounder back up the middle with 2 down. Itou with a chance to help his own cause, but he flies out to left and to the 15th we go!

Ujiie tries to get the Fukui offense started one last time. He hits a grounder to the left side, but Asato runs it down in the gap! He gets up and his throw to 1st is in time!

And then there is one of the most bizarre plays in history. Satou drives a ball to the RCF gap. It falls in. He’s in with a triple but the relay throw is wide. He takes off for home, but doesn’t realize there was backup. He tries to stop then start, then stumbles, then falls, then is tagged out for a 9-4-6-2-5 putout.

One last gasp from Kendai Takasaki as with 2 down Onodera has a seeing eye-single through the right side. Then for some unknown reason Ujiie throws to 1st and throws it away. That moves Onodera to scoring position.

But in perhaps fitting fashion Asato fouls out and we have our second tie game!

Fukui Koudai Fukui certainly didn’t deserve to win that game, but they didn’t lose it either. And as a result, the two tie games get 1 day off before the replay. Though we’ve lost the day off I think.

Well, that was a completely silly game. Silly, silly, silly. I have no comment. I just watched in glee hoping for a draw just because. Not because I want the pitchers to suffer. I would like to avoid that. But that game was fitting to end in a tie.

89th Haru Koushien – Day 3, Game 3 – Sapporo Dai-ichi (Hokkaido) v Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 3, Game 3 – Sapporo Dai-ichi (Hokkaido) v Kendai Takasaki (Gunma)

(photo courtesy of Asahi)

Rounding out Day 3, we have our 2nd Kanto team of the day facing the lone Hokkaido representative.

I would say that this could be an actual even matchup for Sapporo Dai-ichi. Kendai Takasaki was always known for being scrappy, but even that hasn’t been enough in recent times which means that a team like Sapporo Dai-ichi who hasn’t appeared to have improved could stand a chance.

The thing going for Kendai Takasaki is that they’ve seemed to move to a bullpen now. I don’t know if it’s on the level of Shuugakukan last year or what seems like Maebashi Ikuei this year, but this may be the new normal for the powerhouse teams (and I wonder why they didn’t do it sooner).

Sapporo Dai-ichi

  • CF Konno Katsunori
  • 1B (#9) Nakamura Taiga
  • 2B Satou Manato
  • LF Takashina Nagumo
  • 3B Shibata Sou
  • SS Miyazawa Souta
  • RF (#14) Ogawa Masaki
  • P Togashi Souta
  • C Nishimura Souma

Kendai Takasaki

  • CF Imai Yuusuke
  • LF Onodera Daiki
  • SS (#4) Asato Jyura
  • 1B Yamashita Kouta
  • 3B Toguchi Taisei
  • RF (#14) Takayama Ryoutarou
  • 2B (#18) Ookoshi Koutarou
  • P Itou Atsuki
  • C Oogaki Rentarou

15:08 – First Pitch!

Konno quickly getting Sapporo Dai-ichi on the right foot with a base hit up the middle. Now controversial after the WBC, Nakamura bunts him along. After that the inning continues to build. A hit batter, then another out, then a ground ball by Shibata that is booted by Toguchi makes it manrui for Sapporo Dai-ichi. And despite leaving a changeup over the plate, Miyazawa grounds to 2nd for the 3rd out.

Togashi has less issues on the mound, yielding a base hit to Onodera, but little else in the 1st. The 2nd would be a different story as Togura’s grounder to 3rd goes off Shibata’s glove and picked up by Miyazawa before it goes into left.

But Togashi makes mistakes on back-to-back batters. A slider up to Takayama is hit to right center for a double. Then a fastball left over the plate Ookoshi sends over Ogawa’s head and to the wall for a 2-RBI double. Just like that Kendai Takasaki is up 2-0.

He almost gets out of the inning with no further damage as he gets a K through bunts and another with a well placed fastball. But Imai singles through the left side, scoring Ookoshi and extending the lead to 3-0.

Things only get worse in the 4th. With one down, he gives up a single and double. Then hits the next 2 batters driving in a run, 4-0. #10 Maeda comes in, but walks the first batter to make it 5-0. Kendai Takasaki gives them an out by failing to bunt and that helps them get out of the inning, but this is starting to turn ugly.

As for Itou and Kendai Takasaki it’s really hard to glean much because yes, his sidearm pitches do have movement, but Sapporo Dai-ichi is also offering at quite a few of those pitches as well.

Sapporo Dai-ichi finally gets on the board post-break. Runner on 2nd due to a walk, 2 out and Itou has one of his fastballs run back over to the outside part and Miyazawa hits it to the RCF gap for a double, putting them on the board at 5-1. Ogawa follows that up when Itou leaves another one over the plate, but Miyazawa holds at 3rd when the throw goes home. Problem is, Ogawa tries to take 2nd and is thrown out down 4.

It seems as the innings progress though, Itou’s location is getting a bit worse. A walk and two hits in the 6th, a walk and at least 1 hard hit ball in the 7th. But the batters either still can’t identify the pitches or are thinking they need to hit their way back into the game instead of perhaps playing the longer game with Itou.

Doesn’t matter after Kendai Takasaki’s lucky 7. 2 outs, runner on 1st. In the blink of an eye we see a single, hit batter, single and manrui homerun and any hope of coming back is long gone at 10-1.

What we do get to see is #10 Ono who relieves Itou. A standard pitcher who throws in the upper 130s with at least a slider and forkball. The control isn’t always there, actually it’s 50/50 at best. Walks the first batter, strikes out the next two, then doesn’t get a borderline 3-2 call, and then strikes out the side. Not the most effective, but here it works.

In the 8th, PH #16 Ueno tacks on a HR to make it a double digit lead 11-1.

#11 Takemoto comes in for mop-up duty in the 9th and seems like your standard pitcher. But with the game out of hand, not really much to glean.

Not really a great showing from Hokkaido, but they’re generally hard pressed most games. Kendai Takasaki has an unusual offensive output, but I don’t think it’s indicative of their actual ability. It’ll be hard to take much out of this game going forward, so should they advance from the 2nd round we might get a better handle.

Handicapping the field – Kendai Takasaki (3rd appearance, 1st in 2 years)

Handicapping the field – Kendai Takasaki (3rd appearance, 1st in 2 years)

(photo courtesy of Yahoo! News Japan)

Road to Haru Koushien

Prefecturals

  • def Kiryuu Kougyou 10x-0 (6 inn)
  • def Tomioka 11x-1 (6 inn)
  • def Kitoku 5-0
  • def Takasaki Keizaidai Fuzoku 9-0 (7 inn)
  • lost Maebashi Ikuei 4-3

Super-Regionals

  • def Meishuu Hitachi 8-1 (7 inn)
  • def Yokohama 5-2
  • lost Sakushin Gakuin 5-1

The always scrappy Kendai Takasaki is back once again. After their comeout party 4 years ago at Haru Koushien reaching the semifinals, they’ve made several reappearances doing well, but unable to repeat that performance. After a year off to rebuild, perhaps they’re coming back again?

Looking at the form for the fall, Kendai Takasaki looks like it slots perfectly as a middle of the road team. They easily handled the no-name and lower tier schools, lost against upper-tier competition, and were competitive in the middle. They are no real key wins or losses per se, as you can forgive the final against Maebashi Ikuei and the win over Yokohama while still worth something, isn’t worth as much right now.

On the mound, Aoyagi-kantoku is seemingly going with a pro-style pitching staff. Starting games is their ace Itou Atsuki (伊藤 敦紀). The video while a little old (Natsu Koushien qualifying) is good enough for now. It looks like there is a little zip to the ball, but control seems to be a bit lacking. The biggest thing that gets me when I see the video is the delivery. He starts out looking like he’s going sidearm or even submarine, but when he finally delivers the ball it actually looks like either a three-quarter or a high sidearm delivery because he seems to pop back up.

Whatever it is though, the information I am able to find suggests he’s not a dominating pitcher. Against Maebashi Ikuei he lasted just 4 innings with a line of 2 ER on 4 H, 1 K, 3 BB and a HBP. He was in a relief role against Meishuu Hitachi going just 2.2 IP, didn’t give up a run, striking out 2, with 1 hit and also hitting a batter. And unfortunately, I can’t get any more information on the Yokohama game other than he went 7.1 IP, giving up both runs that Yokohama scored.

Behind him, the next in line is #10 Mukai Yoshiki (向井 義紀), their C Ono Haruka (小野 大夏), and #11 Takemoto Kouki (竹本 甲輝). Takemoto was actually on the 2011 Marines junior team that competed against the trio now at Sendai Ikuei. And they were in the same pool no less.

But outside of that information, there’s very little on any of them. But given Takemoto gave up a 2-run HR to Maebashi Ikuei, and Takemoto and Ono gave up 2 runs in the 9th against Sakushin Gakuin, it may be the Mukai is the line in the sand when it comes to their pitching staff, and he gave up a run in 2 innings versus Sakushin Gakuin himself.

Offensively, there are concerns as well. The two biggest are that they managed just 2 hits against Sakushin Gakuin, and the other is that when they did pile on the hits, it was all at the top half of the lineup. If you already have a black hole at the bottom of the lineup when you’re doing well, it does not bode well for when you trek to Koushien. That’s pretty much giving up at least 3 innings of offense.

If that’s the case, they may fare worse than middle of the pack at Koushien unless they get a favorable draw.