[High school baseball] The Earliest and Bold Prediction for the 2022 Spring National Invitational High School Baseball Tournament. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

[High school baseball] The Earliest and Bold Prediction for the 2022 Spring National Invitational High School Baseball Tournament.

I'm not sure if you've heard of it or not. I'm not sure what to make of it.

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The high school baseball world is gradually getting over the effects of the Covid-19 disaster.

The 94th Senbatsu baseball tournament will be held next spring, and it is expected that the limit on the number of spectators will be lifted, so everyone will be able to enjoy the spring ball at the sacred ground of Koshien. I may be a bit hasty, but I can’t wait for spring! So let’s take a look at the predictions for the schools participating in the Senbatsu! (◎ is a sure thing, △ is just above the line, ▲ is a little tougher)

Monster slugger Rintaro Sasaki (Hanamaki Higashi) is almost certain to make his debut at Koshien.

The first year slugger of the super high school class will come to the sacred ground.

Hokkaido area: 1 school

Clark Memorial International

Clarke Memorial International won the Hokkaido Fall Tournament for the first time. In the early stages of the tournament, the team kicked out strong opponents such as Komadai Tomakomai and Hokkai in direct confrontations and rode the wave to win the all Hokkaido championship, securing a ticket to Koshien for the first time since the summer of 2016.

The runner-up was Asahikawa Minoru. This was the second time in 53 years since 1968 (Kushiro Daiichi vs. Kitami Kashiweyo) that the autumn final was between two teams from northern Hokkaido, a “rare event” in Hokkaido where the southern Hokkaido teams, mainly from Sapporo, have dominated.

Two schools in the Tohoku region

Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate) ◎Seikogakuin (Fukushima)

Hanamaki Higashi, with its monster slugger Rintaro Sasaki, won the Tohoku region for the first time in autumn. The Iwate team was the only one in Japan that did not participate in the Meiji Jingu Tournament, a gathering of the winners of the autumn tournaments in each region, but they won two games this time.

Sasaki, who has already hit a total of 49 home runs in his first year, is the eldest son of the school’s manager, Hiroshi Sasaki. He is the eldest son of the school’s manager, Hiroshi Sasaki. He also hit two homers in the Jingu Tournament, and will be the most popular hitter in the Senbatsu Tournament.

Seikogakuin, the runner-up, was eliminated in the prefectural tournament in the summer of 2021. It’s been 13 years since Seikogakuin lost their consecutive appearances in the Koshien Tournament, but they are sure to make a comeback in the Senbatsu.

I’m sure they’ll make a comeback at the Senbatsu.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen such a thing.

◎Meishu Hitachi (Ibaraki) ◎Yamanashi Gakuin (Yamanashi) ◎Kisarazu Sogo (Chiba) ◎Urawa Gakuin (Saitama) ◎Kokugakuin Kugayama (Tokyo) △Nishogakusha University (Tokyo) ▲Tokai University Sagami (Kanagawa)

The Kanto Tournament was delayed due to the effects of Covid-19, but the host school, Ibaraki’s first place school, Meishu Hitachi, took advantage of home field advantage to win their first championship. The team’s strong batting line, led by ace and gunner Shunta Inomata and Hawaiian-born captain Kenny Ishikawa, secured the team’s second Senbatsu ticket in four years.

The top four schools, from runner-up Yamanashi Gakuin to fourth-ranked Kisarazu Sogo and Urawa Gakuin, have a good balance of regional characteristics and will be selected without question. On the other hand, in Tokyo, Kunigakuin Kugayama won the championship for the first time in 37 years, beating Futamatsugakusha Daitsuke in a dramatic comeback in the final. They secured the “one slot” for Tokyo.

The problem is the sixth slot in the Kanto-Tokyo region, which will be contested by the runner-up team, Nishogakusha-Totsuki, and the fifth-ranked team from the Kanto region, Tokai University Sagami. Tokai University Sagami, the champion of the last Senbatsu (Girls’ Baseball Championship) tournament, took on a new manager, Shunsuke Hara, after former manager Keiji Monma retired, but was completely defeated in the quarterfinals, 1-4, by Kisarazu Sogo’s 146kg right-hander, Sôichiro Koshii. Futamatsugakusha Daitsuki, who came up just one out short in the final, was more impressive. However, the Kanto-Tokyo final slot is always a bone of contention every year. I wonder if the decision will be made to leave Kanagawa, a fiercely contested area, empty, and select two schools from Tokyo.

Two schools in the Hokushinetsu region

Tsuruga Kibi (Fukui) ◎ Seiryo (Ishikawa)

Tsuruga Kibi, the top eight team in the Koshien National High School Tournament in the summer of 2021, won the Hokushinetsu tournament for the second straight year in autumn. Yoriki Uekaseda, the ace and fourth baseman with Koshien experience, led the team in both pitching and hitting, and they rose from third place in the prefectural tournament to the top.

Seiryo, the runner-up, also won the tournament, avenging a tragedy in the summer of 2021 when it had to withdraw from the prefectural tournament due to a new Covid-19 infection. For Kazunari Hayashi, who has announced that he will step down next spring, the tournament will be his last as coach.

Two schools in the Tokai area

Nichidai Mishima (Shizuoka) ◎ Seirei Christopher (Shizuoka)

In the final, for the first time in 35 years, the two teams from Shizuoka will face off, with Nihon University Mishima winning and Seirei Christopher finishing second. Hironori Matsunaga, the ace and fourth baseman of Nihon University Mishima, is the mainstay of the team. Former Houtoku Gakuen coach Yuji Nagata, who won a total of 23 games at Koshien and also served as coach of the U-18 Japanese national team, has built up the team in his second year in office.

St. John’s Christopher’s, under the leadership of Toshimasa Uemura, who had played in the Koshien National Championship at Hamamatsu Shogyo and Kakegawa Nishi, also made rapid progress with a series of miraculous comeback victories. Uemura, who also serves as the school’s principal, will take a “two-pronged approach” to the Koshien tournament.

Osaka Toin is again the favorite to win the tournament.

Shion Matsuo (Osaka Toin) is already attracting attention as a candidate for next year’s draft.

The seven schools in the Kinki region

Osaka Toin (Osaka) ◎Wakayama Higashi (Wakayama) ◎Tenri (Nara) ◎Kinko Osaka (Osaka) Osaka Toin (Osaka) ◎Wakayama Higashi (Wakayama) ◎Tenri (Nara) ◎Kinko Osaka (Osaka) ◎Toyo University Himeji (Hyogo) ◎Kyoto International (Kyoto) ◎Omi (Shiga)

Osaka Toin won the tournament for the first time in four years with an overwhelming performance that put the other teams to shame. Osaka Toin won the tournament for the first time in four years with an overwhelming performance, and also won the Meiji Jingu Tournament for the first time, where the winning schools from each region gathered. As a result, the Kinki region will now have seven schools in the tournament, adding the “Jingu tournament quota” to the usual six.

The team’s batting lineup, led by catcher Shioon Matsuo, a strong-shouldered, hard-hitting draft candidate, is full of strong hitters from the top to the bottom, and its pitching staff, led by first-year left-hander Yugo Maeda, has improved greatly.

Wakayama Higashi, the runner-up, is a prefectural school in its 10th year of switching from soft to hard tennis. The team carried its momentum from defeating Chiben Wakayama, the 2021 Koshien champions, in the prefectural tournament to the Kinki tournament and advanced to the final. Under the direction of Toshihide Yonehara, who has experience in the Koshien tournament with Wakayama Shogyo, the team steadily improved its strength and achieved great results.

In addition, the top four teams, Tenri and Konko Osaka, are sure to win.

Toyo University Himeji, which defeated Chiben Gakuen, the runner-up of Koshien in the summer of 2021, in the first round, is the favorite. Akihiko Fujita, who nurtured players such as Juri Hara of Yakult and Nao Kai of Softbank, has announced his retirement and Ryusei Okada, the current coach of Rikousha, is scheduled to take over next spring.

The more promising teams are Kyoto International and Omi, both of which still have their main players from the summer Koshien tournament. Kyoto International has pitcher Ruta Morishita and Omi has outfielder Yosho Yamada, both of whom are hot draft candidates, while Wakayama City, one of the top eight schools in the region, is at a disadvantage because Wakayama Higashi is a sure bet.

(5 schools in Chugoku and Shikoku area)

Hiroshima Sho (Hiroshima) ◎Kochi (Kochi) ◎Naruto (Tokushima) Naruto (Tokushima) -Okayama Gakugeikan (Okayama) -Kurashiki Kou (Okayama) -Meitoku Gijuku (Kochi) -Tokushima Shouji (Tokushima)

The final of the Chugoku tournament was a “Hiroshima Derby” between two traditional schools, Hiroshima Shogyo and Koryu, with Koryu taking revenge for its loss in the semifinals of the prefectural tournament and winning for the first time in four years.

In the Shikoku tournament, Kochi, which finished second in the prefectural tournament, defeated Naruto in the final to win the championship. After three years with Daichi Moriki, who was a first-round draft pick of Hanshin and has been touted as a great talent since his junior high school days, Kochi’s juniors were able to secure a ticket to Koshien.

The fifth school in the Chugoku-Shikoku region, which is contested by the third-ranked team in Chugoku and the third-ranked team in Shikoku, is a difficult one. First of all, Okayama Gakugeikan and Kurashiki Ko, the fourth-ranked teams in the Chugoku tournament, are difficult to decide, and it will be difficult to decide who will be the third-ranked team in Chugoku. I’m not sure what to make of that. If the team’s strength is assessed, Meitoku Gijuku will be a step ahead of the rest, but if the balance of regional characteristics is important, it is not surprising that the Okayama Prefecture team will secure the last spot.

The ace of Oshima (Kagoshima), Akito Ohno, who made a great comeback in the Kyushu Tournament, will also be watched closely.

A public school from a remote island makes a great comeback!

Four schools in the Kyushu region

◎Kyushu Kokusai University (Fukuoka) ◎Oshima (Kagoshima) ◎Arita Kou (Saga) ◎Nagasaki Nichi-Dai (Nagasaki)

Due to the worsening of the Covid-19 infection situation in September, the Kyushu tournament was moved from Okinawa to Kagoshima, and the schedule was greatly delayed, so that the tournament could be held in time for the Meiji Jingu tournament.

The winner was Kyushu Kokusai University. The team’s powerful batting line, led by fourth baseman Kyoshiro Sakura, a giant slugger measuring 183 centimeters and 106 kilograms, hit hard, including a grand slam home run in three consecutive games.

Oshima, a remote school in Amami Oshima, which created a whirlwind, was the runner-up. Draft candidate left-hander Akio Ohno pitched three games by himself in four days, including a rain-drawn tie and a rematch. It was a pity that he could not pitch in the semifinals and finals due to a pitch count limit, but baseball fans in Amami Oshima are excited about the chance to play in Koshien for the first time in eight years since his first appearance in the tournament as a member of the 21st century frame.

Arita Ko, with the brilliant right-handed pitching of its skillful ace Yuya Tsukamoto, made it to the top four by closing out the prestigious schools of Shugakukan and Kaisei in succession. Together with Nagasaki Nichidai, which also finished in the top four, they are assured of four spots in Kyushu.

The three schools in the 21st Century Bracket

As of November 25th, all 46 prefectural federations, excluding Hokkaido, have nominated their schools. From these, nine finalists will be selected for each region and will be announced on December 10. Three of these schools will be selected on the day of the selection committee meeting on January 28 next spring.

The first step is to find out if any of the nine finalists will represent each district. It is extremely difficult to make a definite prediction, but I would like to pick Oita Maizuru (Oita) from the Kyushu region as the most promising candidate.

Oita Maizuru (Oita) is a traditional school whose rugby team is renowned as a national powerhouse, and its baseball team has made remarkable strides in recent years. This fall, the team placed second in the prefectural tournament and participated in the Kyushu Tournament, losing to the aforementioned Oshima in the first round after a draw and rematch.

The rest of the results are completely unpredictable. Odate Katsuragi (Akita), which participated in the Tohoku tournament, caught my attention for its achievements, but it is a pity that they withdrew their recommendation due to the discovery of a scandal. In addition to Tanan (Kyoto), which participated in the Kinki Tournament, and Kurayoshi Sososan (Tottori), which participated in the Chugoku Tournament, Sapporo Kokusai Joho from Hokkaido may be promising if selected as one of the nine finalists.

The following is a list of the leading candidate schools for the 2022 Senbatsu Tournament.

(◎ indicates certainty, △ indicates above the line, ▲ indicates severe but above the line, * indicates strong finalist for the 21st Century Quota, and the number of times is the number of times the school will participate if selected)

Hokkaido (1)

Clark Memorial International=First appearance

Tohoku (2)

Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate) = 4th time in 4 years

Seikogakuin (Fukushima) = 6th time in 4 years

Kanto / Tokyo (6)

Meishu Hitachi (Ibaraki) = 2nd time in 4 years

Yamanashi Gakuin (Yamanashi) = 5th time in 2 years

Kisarazu Sogo (Chiba) = 4th time in 6 years

Urawa Gakuin (Saitama) = 11th time in 7 years

Kokugakuin Kugayama (Tokyo): 4th in 11 years

Futamatsugakusha University (Tokyo) = 6th time in 7 years

Tokai University Sagami (Kanagawa) = 13th time in 3 consecutive years

Hokushinetsu (2)

Tsuruga Kibi (Fukui) = 9th time in 2 years in a row

Seiryo (Ishikawa) = 15th time in 2 years

Tokai (2)

Nichidai Mishima (Shizuoka) = 2nd time in 38 years

St. Christopher’s (Shizuoka) = First appearance

Increased by 1 (7) for Kinki and Jingu tournaments

Osaka Toin (Osaka) = 13th in a row

Wakayama Higashi (Wakayama) = First appearance

Tenri (Nara): 26th in 3 consecutive years

Kinkou Osaka (Osaka): 3rd time in 13 years

Toyo University Himeji (Hyogo): 8th time in 14 years

Kyoto International (Kyoto) = 2nd time in 2 years in a row

Omi (Shiga) 6th time in 4 years

Omi (Shiga): 6th in 4 years

Chugoku and Shikoku (5)

Hiroshima Shogun (Hiroshima) = 25th in 3 years ◎Koryo (Hiroshima) = 25th in 3 years

Hiroshima Sho (Hiroshima) = 22nd in 20 years

◎Kochi (Kochi) = 19th in 4 years

Naruto (Tokushima): 9th time in 9 years

Okayama Gakugeikan (Okayama) = 2nd time in 21 years

Okayama Gakugeikan (Okayama) = 2nd in 21 years

Meitoku Gijuku (Kochi): 21st in 3 consecutive years

Tokushima Shou (Tokushima) = 20th in 19 years

Kyushu (4)

Kyushu International University (Fukuoka) = 3rd time in 11 years

Oshima (Kagoshima): 2nd time in 8 years

Arita Corp. (Saga) = first appearance

Nagasaki Nichidai (Nagasaki): 3rd time in 23 years

21st Century Quota (3)

Sapporo International Information (Hokkaido): First appearance

Tonan (Kyoto) = First appearance

Kurayoshi Sosozan (Tottori) = First appearance

Oita Maizuru (Oita) = First appearance

  • PHOTO Takaki Matsuhashi (Sasaki), Yoshihiro Koike (Matsuo, Ohno)

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