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Wow,  it’s August! Time is growing ever shorter, and my unhealthy obsession with all things baseball may slowly be drawing to a close. Still, recent events in both Hanshin and Doosan’s fortunes have been interesting, and I thought they merited a post. This weekend saw Doosan take on top team SK at Jamsil, and I went to all three games. In Osaka, Hanshin were taking on the Yomiuri Giants, following a season first 3-game victory over the Yokohama Baystars last week.

阪神 and 두산

Mid-Week Action

Yes, Hanshin finally won a three game miniseries! In the first game, Hanshin snuck a 10th innings winner to beat the Baystars 5-4. Akahoshi got three hits in the game, and Toritani two. On wednesday, it was a more dominant win: 8-0, with hits from all over, including three for Toritani, and home runs from Arai and Kanemoto. Finally thursday- a 2-0 win, and a heroic performance from starter Kubo, who pitched a 完封勝利(complete game), allowing only 2 hits, striking out 12 in 125 pitches.

Friday’s Games

On Friday Hanshin took on the Yomiuri Giants, and followed the 3 victories against the Baystars with another against the champions. This was a very encouraging game- Nohmi played excellently, getting 8 strikeouts, while the offense did their job, with Brazelle getting the all-important home run in the sixth.

I was at Jamsil in Seoul though, and saw Doosan Be-a-su grab an excellent come-from-behind victory against SK. The Wyverns had built a 4-o lead over us in the fifth and sixth innings. Then came Doosan’s sixth. Sadly I can’t get the same level of information about the exact hitters and plays, as I can’t read Korean as I can with Japanese. Anyway- it was a really exciting comeback- from 4-0, down we got base hits, including one from Im Jae Cheol, to bring it back to 4-3, before Choi Jun Sok put the icing on the comeback cake with a three-run homer to catapult us into the lead! Que hysterical cheering, and a generally fantastic atmosphere for the rest of the game!

Saturday’s Games

Hanshin weren’t quite so good on saturday, going down 4-2 and probably being outplayed by Kyojin. Kanemura had a ‘mare in the first two innings, and despite an eighth innings rally- Arai and Brazelle combining- we didn’t have enough to get back into the game.

In Korea, Doosan continued their winning ways with a comfortable 5-1 victory over SK. A three run home run in the second put us on the path to victory- this time by Im Jae Cheol. The score was extended in the third to 4-0, and both Doosan and SK got 1 each  in the eighth.

Sunday’s Games

Oh how happy I was to see that we’d won another series! After saturday’s defeat, it was important to see if we could rebound and we did- an excellent 7-4 victory. We survived Shimoyanagi’s innings (he’s really not looking very good these days), and with home runs from Toritani and Sakurai and three hits from Brazelle, outshot Kyojin to cruise – in the end- to victory. Interestingly Yanoh was back for this one- Mayumi just needs to leave Kanoh in all the time! Yanoh was good, but Kanoh is playing so well that having him on rotation seems like a mistake. I’m very encouraged by our pitching- Nohmi and Kubo- and by the resurgent Toritani, as well as the rest of our batting order- they are showing the life that we all knew they have, finally. We’re now in 4th- above Hiroshima and with an outside shot of making something of the season!

At Jamsil, I was ready for my third and final game against SK. Unfortunately we were starting with a fairly poor pitcher, while SK had Korea’s number one starter. SK were off to a 2-0 lead at the top of the second. Doosan hit back in the bottom, with 4 runs to go into the lead 4-2! This was the highlight of the game in the end though, and it wasn’t to be- at the top of the third SK got five, and followed this up with 3 more in the ninth, winning 11-4, hitting 16 hits to 7. Doosan’s pitching and hitting was lifeless and lacklustre, though at least we had the excitement of the second innings.

Overall 4 victories in 6 for my two teams over the weekend. I doubt I’ll be making it to many more baseball games while I’m in Korea- maybe the Jamsil Derby of Doosan vs LG next friday, but then I’ll be getting ready to leave. Still, it was a baseball-tastic weekend!