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Today’s game could- once again- be Hanshin’s last for the season. Or it could propel us into a Final of Finals showdown against the Yomiuri Giants! Check back here from 6 o’clock to follow along with me! Until then, get in the mood by listening to this.
Line Up- Akahoshi, Sekimoto, Arai, Kanemoto, Toritani, Katsuragi, Yano, Hirano, Iwata
This is it! The decider between the Dragons and the Giants. Yesterday’s drink of choice was Belgian beer Leffe, while tonight I’m going for some White Zinfandel. No score at the top of the first.
Hanshin in to bat. Akahoshi- “Red Star”- gets to first, then steals to second. Sekimoto strikes out. Arai- “Bon Jovi”- also struck out. Kanemoto hits into left field and is caught.
No score. Iwata is performing well tonight as Hanshin’s pitcher. Next up is Toritani- yesterday’s hero- onwards!
No score. A slower start than yesterday. Although I have been distracted for the last few minutes trying to kill a huge mosquito in my apartment. Finally got the bastard.
Another double play- nice fielding from Hanshin. Three out! All change. Still no score. Next up Iwata, followed by Hanshin’s Big Guns.
As expected Iwata is struck out. Red Star is struck out with some good pitching from Chunichi. Sekimoto is caught. Still…no…action…
This is a dull game compared to yesterdays. Luckily I can multitask- I can eat noodles, drink wine and send text messages at the same time as watching the baseball. Anyway, it will all get nervy in an hour or so, as the stakes rise…
Chunichi player caught- one out. Iwata’s pitching is consistently solid- I did his a disservice in assuming he would be our weak point today. Almost another double play! Two out. Three out! Ok! Nice defense by Hanshin- now all we need is some decent attacking.
Arai up and out. Aniki- Kanemoto- is up. 2-3…and he’s out! Damn it. Next is Toritani…also out!! Damn it. What a boring game.
Borrrrring. Maybe its the “kincho”, or nervous tension that’s the reason. Guess what? No score, all out.
1 out. Interesting bunt towards third base by Yano, and he gets away with it when Woods drops the throw to first. Iwata caught. All change…mada mada! Tsumaranyo!
We’re down to the tickly bits, but theres been no sign of anything resembling entertainment as of yet. Iwata continues to pitch! This is bizarre- but then again, he’s shown no signs of distraction yet. All out- all change.
If there’s suddenly some action now the crowd will go wild. One out Hiyama in to bat. Out. Akahoshi…hit and an error combines to get him to THIRD BASE!!! Finally a chance!!!
Next up Sekimoto…awww no!! He hits and its caught out! Damn it!!
Pitcher change- Iwata, otsukaresama! Iwata goes off after a great evenings work to be replaced by Japan’s best closing pitcher, Fujikawa Kyuji. We can’t afford any mistakes in this last innings…
Runner gets to first! This is nerve wracking! One mistake and we could be dumped out. Sheer passage of time has made this game interesting- the tension is palpable at this late stage.
OK one out! But a runner on second…fuck!! He’s got to third! Stole a base after Fujikawa’s wild pitch. What a chance for the Chunichi Dragons…
Dragons player caught out but the runner on third has no time to run home- we’re living dangerously!! Woods, Chunichi star hitter, up next…
Two balls! I’m starting to shout at the computer screen. Get it together! Three balls!! Actually it might be better to walk Woods to first anyway.
Jeeeesus, I thought they’d scored. But its a foul, and the count is 2-3. Hanshin hanging on in there…
Nooooo!!!! A poor pitch from Fujikawa and Woods smacks it into the stands. Chunichi lead by two! Chunichi Dragons 2, Hanshin Tigers 0!
This is a disaster, and Fujikawa is a fucking joke.
One chance to salvage the season. Three players and that could be it.
“Bon Jovi” Arai- caught out.
“Aniki” Kanemoto- looks like he’s on the verge of tears. Big hit…and he’s out!
Toritani- it’s all over. A season of joys and sorrows is brought to an end…1-1…2-1…and he’s out!
FINAL SCORE: Hanshin Tigers 0 Chunichi Dragons2
PITCHING ORDER: Iwata -> Fujikawa
KEY MAN: Iwata （岩田）
Hanshin’s 2008 season ends in disaster…今年の阪神終わる…and manager Okada’s five year stint ends…I can’t believe it…as the Chunichi players celebrate, shock and despair is etched on the faces of Toritani, Kanemoto, and Fujikawa- who basically handed the victory to Chunichi on a plate in the very last innings. The tragedy in losing so late- cannot mask the fact that we underperformed offensively both today and all season. Yet it is a tragedy…eight innings of play with no score, good pitching from both sides and no real chances. Then Iwata- after eight winnings of solid work- is replaced by Fujikawa and in that next innings it all goes pear-shaped. Fujikawa is a star- the best pitcher in Japan- but today it went horribly wrong.
That’s all for Hanshin Tigers 2008. サヨナラ。