Tag: Maebashi Ikuei

89th Haru Koushien – Day 7, Game 1 – Maebashi Ikuei (Gunma) v Houtoku Gakuen (Hyogo)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 7, Game 1 – Maebashi Ikuei (Gunma) v Houtoku Gakuen (Hyogo)

(photo courtesy of SportsNavi)

Into the 2nd round now and already a little bit of surprises so far. Riseisha challenged by Shiritsu Kure and Moriokadai Fuzoku making Chiben Gakuen look pedestrian.

Hopefully today continues to build the tension for tomorrow’s games too.

Houtoku Gakuen completely annihilated Tajimi, but extreme blowout games such as that doesn’t generally portend well for the team in the next round. But there’s just little to really take from that game that could be useful.

Maebashi Ikuei did handle Nakamura, but they looked about as they should. Good, not great, and certainly vulnerable.

So what do we make of it? At first there may have been the impression that the Kinki region was even stronger than originally though. However the last couple of games have brought that image back down to earth. Houtoku Gakuen, as one of the last teams invited from the region, will be put to the test here today in front of their home crowd.

Maebashi Ikuei

  • CF (#1) Maruyama Kazuya
  • 2B Kurosawa Shunta
  • RF (#8) Minagawa Kyousuke
  • 3B Iijima Hiromu
  • C Tobe Kaito
  • SS Horiguchi Yuuga
  • LF (#14) Tanaka Kouki
  • 1B Koike Yuuhei
  • P (#10) Negishi Takahiro

Houtoku Gakuen

  • SS Kozono Kaito
  • CF Nagayama Yuuma
  • 2B Kataoka Kokoro
  • C Shinohara Shouta
  • 1B Kantou Yuusuke
  • 3B Ikegami Hayate
  • LF (#17) Nagao Ryouya
  • RF (#11) Shiotsuki Rikuto
  • P Nishigaki Masaya

09:00 – First Pitch!

Maruyama not on the mound for Maebashi Ikuei, perhaps for rest. But more importantly he’s moved to the top of the lineup.

Maebashi Ikuei attacking Nishigaki early looking for pitches in the zone to drive. Maruyama and Kurosawa with deeper fly ball outs. Minakawa on the other hand, proves to be stubborn at the plate, fouling off several pitches before being paid off in the 11th pitch. He’s jammed completely, but the ball just flutters over Nishigaki’s glove and into no-mans land for a base hit.

Bit of an odd moment as the 3B camera is on and Minakawa is seen jumping to 2nd, but scrambling back when nothing happens on the mound.

Iijima proves almost as stubborn, but he’s in fact twisted in knots on a slider inside. Side retired, but early on there is a good sense of the strike zone.

Houtoku Gakuen on the other hand quickly trying to prove their first game wasn’t a fluke. Nagayama starts it with one down surprising the defense with a safety bunt. After that Negishi appears out of sorts, walking Kataoka on 4 straight and hitting Shinohara to load the bases.

He still can’t find the strike zone agaainst Kantou but appears to get a break when Kantou hits one to short. But a charging Horiguchi can’t field it cleanly and barely gets his backup play at 1st. 2 out, but Houtoku Gakuen up 1-0.

When Ikegami hits a ball to the left side, I’m shocked to see the defense somewhat in with 2 outs. As a result the ball sneaks through for a base hit and a 2-0 lead.

Nagao finishes the scoring in the 1st with a bloop hit that falls in just fair own the RF line. 2 more runs score and just like that it’s 4-0.

Maruyama goes back to the mound after the relief start plan fails. He stems the tide, but can’t help his offense get base hits. He himself pops out to end the 2nd.

What we’re seeing out of Nishigaki is quite a bit of movement on his breaking pitches, and while Maebashi Ikuei is holding off on some of it, they’re not able to lay off of it enough to make a difference. In fact, they get their 2nd base hit in the 4th, but is stranded at 2nd when Iijima and Tobe both whiff on large breaking pitches.

It’s also got to be frustrating for Maebashi Ikuei in that since Maruyama takes the mound, Houtoku’s offense still gets a baserunner each inning but for the most part he’s shutting them down. Control is ok, but not quite hitting the framed glove. At worst, they could have been tied at 0-0 had he started, although you would have to say Houtoku Gakuen was having the better of it even then.

The last couple of innings are an exercise in futility for Maebashi Ikuei. They get runners on in each inning after the break, twice they’re caught stealing. And they only get 2 runners on base during their last ABs.

It was a speedy and dominating performance by Houtoku Gakuen, but this time on the defensive side of the ball. They avoided a letdown though one could argue had Maruyama started the game they could have been in for a dogfight. Such a game was avoided, though they certainly can’t depend on that going forward.

That will be what Maebashi Ikuei and their fans will be wondering as they head home. Was it necessary to start their reliever instead of riding Maruyama first? Oh, what might have been.

89th Haru Koushien – Day 2, Game 3 – Nakamura (Kochi) v Maebashi Ikuei (Gunma)

89th Haru Koushien – Day 2, Game 3 – Nakamura (Kochi) v Maebashi Ikuei (Gunma)

(picture courtesy of Mainichi)

Our day ends with another 21st century team in Nakamura facing off against a former champion in Maebashi Ikuei. Nakamura managed to defeat Meitoku Gijyuku in the prefectural final, but it was not an elimination game for either. The loss to Eimei hurts in that while Eimei has been to Koushien in the past, they’re not considered a general powerhouse you can take a barometer off of.

Maebashi Ikuei’s resume is slightly better, playing 4 close games against more well-known teams. But note that Keiou was passed up for Nichidai-san for the floating bid, the Kendai Takasaki game was also a non-elimination game, and the pitching staff gave up a fair number of runs in the super-regionals.

The nod should go to Maebashi Ikuei because of level of competition, however we have seen cases where the Kanto region is unusually weak. So this could be an early benchmark as Nakamura comes in as a 21st century team.


  • SS Oosaki Rin
  • LF Iyota Haruki
  • P Kitahara Noa
  • 3B Ichien Yuuta
  • C Nakano Seidai
  • CF Okaue Hayate
  • RF Okamoto Ryou
  • 1B Takeda Haruto
  • 2B Shimomura Yuuto

Maebashi Ikuei

  • P Maruyama Kazuya
  • 2B Kurosawa Shunta
  • CF Minagawa Kyousuke
  • 3B Iijima Hiromu
  • C Tobe Kaito
  • SS Horiguchi Yuuga
  • LF (#14) Tanaka Kouki
  • 1B Koike Yuuhei
  • RF Iidzuka Gouki

14:45 – First Pitch!

Bit of an inauspicious start as Maruyama plunks Oosaki to start the game. Looks like an average pitcher, low-mid 130s fastball on average with a slider, curve and changeup. Comes back hitting the mitt w/a fastball on the outside black but then a changeup goes between Tobe’s legs and Nakamura’s in business. A letter high fastball, perhaps not what they wanted, still gets a K. Throw in one more on the black and he strikes out the side. Certainly he has good control at times, but it’s getting the job done.

Kitahara much the same. Low 130’s fastball, with at least a curve and slider, thought they are a bit more slower than average. Has a clean first inning.

Hm. Maruyama generally sits in the low-mid 130’s but then the radar gun says 140 and even says 145 which is peculiar because sometimes when you give it a little extra you get maybe 5 kph max. Instead we’re talking about 10.

While Nakamura tries to figure out that bit, Maebashi Ikuei may be already getting to Kitahara. Iijima and Tobe both hit clean singles that eventually but both in scoring position. Tanaka too connects on a fastball for a single to left center, giving Maebashi Ikuei the 2-0 lead.

Nakamura finally gets their first hit in the 3rd when Oosaki in his 2nd AB singles back up the middle. But while Maruyama struggles getting the offspeed stuff over for a strike, Nakamura struggles to hit the fastball which he can locate.

The good news for Nakamura is that the damage so far has been limited to the 2-run 2nd. Kitahara’s off-speed pitches are giving the batters fits and while he is walking a couple of batters, they’ve been with 2 outs and end up stranded.

Post break Oosaki gets a base hit to center and before you can blink Arai-kantoku switches Minakawa and Maruyama while Yoshizawa, now wearing #10, warms up.

Minakawa throws just as hard as Maruyama does and with somewhat the same arsenal. But his first act is to throw wide to 1st and let Oosaki advance to 2nd. Unfortunately for Nakamura, he then takes off for 3rd on a ball to short and is cut down.

After Kitahara gets frozen on a slider on the outside black, Minakawa misses badly with his pitch, locating in when it was supposed to be out and that allows Ichien to single through the left side. But instead of a run, the runner is at 3rd. And that proves costly when Nakano can only ground to 2nd to end the inning.

Having missed out on an opportunity there, Maebashi Ikuei’s message must have been to just get base hits. Horiguchi and Tanaka dump singles into the outfield, and after a SB putting both runners in scoring position, Koike lines a fastball that winds up over the plate instead of outside past a diving Ichien and down the LF line for a 2-run double to double Maebashi’s lead to 4-0.

Throw in a sac bunt and a booted ball from Shimomura and that lead extends to 5-0.

Nakamura unfortunately can’t get any traction. Even when they get a break like in the 7th when Okamoto strikes out but reaches 1st, it leads to nothing. Actually the got a second break when Kurosawa failed to tag Okamoto, but because he thought he was out, he broke for 2nd late and that allowed the 4-3-6 double play.

The 高校野球 gods though still have a fancy for Nakamura though. As they are on their way to finishing their game and going home they smile upon them. Top 9th, runner on 2nd, 2 out. Okaue grounds a ball to 2nd, but as it takes it’s final bounce, it takes the famous irregular hop and skips over Kurosawa. It glances off his glove and into right scoring a run and allowing Nakamura to leave without being shutout, losing 5-1.

At first the game seemed like Maebashi Ikuei was going to run away similar to what Houtoku Gakuen did. But Kitahara and his pitching kept the offense in check as best he could having just 2 bad innings. The game may not have been in doubt, but they played very respectively.

Maebashi Ikuei as mentioned had an easy time of it. With Yoshizawa injured the rest of the pitching staff seems to be holding its own. One wonders though with 3 pitchers topping out in the 140s (Yoshizawa would have made 4), were they trying to mirror Shuugakukan and build a strong pitching staff instead of a dominant ace? Time will tell as they face Houtoku Gakuen in the 2nd round, but it does look like Minagawa is a little better than he was last year.

Handicapping the field – Maebashi Ikuei (2nd appearance, 1st in 6 years)

Handicapping the field – Maebashi Ikuei (2nd appearance, 1st in 6 years)

(photo courtesy of daily.co.jp)

Road to Haru Koushien


  • def Kiryuu Shiritsu Shougyou 5-1
  • def Shiritsu Oota 9-0 (7 inn)
  • def Maebashi Shougyou 6-1
  • def Takasaki Shoudai Fuzoku 11x-1 (5 inn)
  • def Takasaki 10-0 (5 inn)
  • def Kendai Takasaki 4-3


  • def Hakuoudai Ashikaga 6-5
  • def Keiou 4x-3
  • lost Toukaidai Ichihara Bouyou 3-5

Maebashi Ikuei is back on the scene, but outside of that magical 2013 Natsu Koushien, they have had no success. This current version of the team will try to change the narrative.

The good news is that they defeated all the teams they needed to as all the no-names they handled with little problems. But as soon as you threw in teams whose names you heard of, and they were fighting for their lives. In fact, in all of their super-regional games they were having to try and come from behind.

Arai-kantoku is going with a 2-pitcher strategy, and leaves the door open to flexibility. The bigger question is, how good are they are. See, both players came in relief last summer, and had not-so-stellar results.

First off is new ace Yoshizawa Yuu (吉沢 悠). He was the first to come in relief versus Kadena and while he got a double play to start his stint, it soon went south, eventually giving up 5 hits and 4 runs.

He has a fastball that can hit 140, and an apparent changeup in the mid-120s and a curve in the 110s. The problem is, Kadena has a beat on everything – especially the fastball. And I’m not sure that’s improved any. Against Maebashi Ikuei, he went 7 striking out 5, but giving up 8 hits and all 4 of Maebashi’s runs. He walked 3, hit 2 batters, and most of the hits were hits to the outfield. None of this bodes well.

The second is CF Maruyama Kazuya (丸山 和郁) who came in to pitch the final inning of the Kadena game. He didn’t give up a run in his inning of work, and both struck out and walked one. His fastball started consistently in the upper 130s, but eventually sat in the lower 130s. It looks like he has a slider and a changeup both in the mid-high 110s, and he flashed a slow curve which didn’t register at all, but probably was in the 90s. Oddly, it was the one slow curve that seemed to be the the off-speed pitch he got over the plate.

It’s no wonder then why Maebashi Ikuei immediately ran into trouble once they got past the riff-raff.

Offensively, they return very little from their starting 9. Cleanup batter 3B Iijima Hiromu does return as well as the aforementioned Maruyama come back to spearhead the lineup. But it might also say something when reliever Minakawa Kyousuke (皆川 喬涼) moves from a reliever position to RF, while still making spot appearances on the mound. Though I think his move to the field might be more of a permanent one as while he can throw upper 130s, the control of his off-speed pitches was not really great at all and Kadena’s batters were pretty much able to lay off of it.

Anyways, back to the hitting, the good news for Maebashi Ikuei is that while the offense appears to be a light-hitting ballclub, the team does not have any readily apparent holes in the lineup, which is excellent. In fact, their #3 batter, new C Tobe Kaito (戸部 魁人) seems to be having success in the lineup. Now as a whole their offense wasn’t putting up the numbers against elite levels of competition, but that won’t matter for most draws. It means if nothing else the offense should be competitive. The biggest question will be the pitching and if the promoted pitchers can get any more effective.