A Quick Koshien Qualifying Roundup

» 19 July 2011 » In amateur baseball, Koshien »

It’s one of my favorite times of year. Japan’s high schools baseball teams are once again marching on the road to Summer Koshien. Here are a few items making news:

  • Nara powerhouse Tenri is out of this summer’s qualifying games due to violence within the club. The Japan Student Baseball Association handed down a two month suspension on June 14th, and their absence opens a path for Chiben Gakuen or another school to represent Nara at Koshien. Interestingly, it has been either Tenri or Chiben Gakuen representing the prefecture for 36 of the last 39 summer tournaments, while Koriyama holds the other three. Kansai Chuo is highly ranked this year; might this be their chance to make the dance for the first time ever?
  • Speaking of first-timers, congratulations to Itoman of Okinawa, the first team to punch their ticket to Nishinomiya. Itoman held on in the prefectural final to beat Chubu Shogyo, 2-1. If I’m not mistaken, they will become the geographically southernmost Japanese school to play at Koshien, though there were teams representing Taiwan in the days when the island was under Japanese rule.
  • Spring and Summer 2010 champions Konan saw their great run end in that same Okinawa qualifying bracket. The loss of their fine left handed starter Yosuke Shimabukuro to graduation was more than they could overcome.
  • Narashino, one of the stronger teams from Chiba Prefecture, has a  great marching band. While their baseball is entertaining, something special happens when their boys are batting and they fire up their instruments. You can hear an audio clip of them here. The sonic treat alone is worth tuning into their games for.
  • Yokohama, a traditional power in Kanagawa Prefecture, is looking a bit shaky these days. While they breezed through their first game with a 10-0 score, they struggled to overcome a plucky Yokohama Shogyo squad on Monday (July 18th). Tokaidai Sagami, the Spring champions and 2010 Summer Koshien runners-up to the aforementioned Konan, are looking strong again and would like their shot to win it all. Getting out of the Kanagawa qualifier, with its 186 teams, won’t be easy.
  • Typhoon Ma-on has disrupted the schedules in the southern parts of Japan. As it makes landfall during the week, expect the cancellations to spread. Let’s hope the storm passes quickly, and that everyone in the affected areas stays safe and dry.

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  1. Ken
    Michael Westbay
    19/07/2011 at 7:47 am Permalink

    I haven’t seen any teams look overpowering so far in the Kanagawa Taikai. I saw Yokohama scrape by Yokohama Shogyo and have serious doubts about them. Nichidai Fujisawa were respectable, and Keio managed a victory. But none really looked like they would dominate.

    Hopefully the various Sagami teams will step up the game and give Kanagawa a fighting chance at Koshien.

  2. Ken
    Ken Dick
    19/07/2011 at 11:28 pm Permalink

    Correction: Yaeyama Shoko (八重山商工), who played at Summer Koshien in 2006, is located farther south than Itoman. My apologies for the misinformation.

  3. Ken
    Arnold Lane
    21/07/2011 at 6:05 am Permalink

    Tokaidai Sagami won the Spring Koshien.They lost the 2010 summer koshien to Konan.

  4. Ken
    Ken Dick
    21/07/2011 at 10:17 am Permalink

    Oops, sorry about that. Meant to type 2010 Summer runners up. Thanks for the catch.