Teams to watch

Osaka Toin (Osaka): Representing one of the most competitive prefectures, Osaka, three years in row. Osaka Toin played eight games in the preliminary including the games against other power houses. Osaka Toin defeated Uenomiya in the quarter final, Riseisha (Runner up of this year’s Spring Invitational) in the semi final and PL Gakuen that has sent many of their graduates to the professional teams in the championship game.

Tokai Affiliated Sagami (Kanagawa): Representing 190 teams of the Kanagawa prefecture, Sagami has four ‘ace’ pitchers although Aoshima carries No. 1. He has fast ball of 145 km/h (approx. 91 miles/h) and is expected to be drafted by a professional team this fall. Sato’s fast ball is even faster than Aoshima. He has clocked 149 km/h (approx. 93 m/h) and his forkball is what many batters have struggled. The youngster southpaw Ogasawara who is in his second year also has a good reputation. Last but not least Sagami also has Yoshida who struck out 20 hitters in the Kanagawa prefecture championship game.

Morioka Univ. Affiliated High School (Iwate): The ace pitcher Matsumoto, who has clocked 150 km/h (approx. 94 miles/h), is drawing the professional teams attentions and many scouts ranked A+. He is also the cleanup hitter of the lineup.

Takasaki University of Health & Welfare High School (Gunma): Set the prefecture record of 35 stolen bases in six games during the preliminary. Kendai defeated Maebashi Ikuei, the last summer’s national champion, in the quarter final during the preliminary.

Ryukokudai Heihan (Kyoto) : Known as Heian, has represented the prefecture thirty three times, won the spring invitational this year. The lineup is strong and their three pitchers, ( Motouji, Takahashi and Nakata ) gave up only six runs in the six games during the preliminary.

Okinawa Shogaku (Okinawa):  The Okinawa power house has taken part in Koshien four tournaments in row since the spring invitational 2013. Okinawa Shogaku won Kyushu Regional and Meiji Jingu National in the last fall. The ace pitcher Yamashiro struck out 31 hitters and walked only 3 in his 30 innings during the preliminary.

Chiben Gakuen (Nara): People wonder how many homeruns will Chiben’s Okamoto hit at Koshien this summer. He already produced 72, higher than Matsui (Former New York Yankees No. 5 hitter), Kiyohara (Former cleanup hitter for Yomiuri Giants), and Jojima (Former Seattle Mariners catcher).  Okamoto is expected to be drafted by a professional team this fall.











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