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Softbank Hawks 2 Hanshin Tigers 4

(Fukuoka)

I was drawn out of pondering Japan’s failed UNSC permanent seat bid in the 1990s by this enthralling game. After some terrible pitching and results against the Nippon Ham Fighters and the Rakuten Eagles, we really needed a result today, especially as Chunichi have now crept above us in the Se-League table.

Queue a battle of the pitchers- Kubo versus Ogura (Kubo being one of the few first choice pitchers available to us at the moment). Both pitched well, but it was Ogura who stole the show, with a spectacular 11 strike outs, allowing only 2 hits in 6 innings of play. Mayumi had to try to push his pitcher for one more innings, and it was in that innings that Kubo gave up a run- does Mayumi ever learn? (answer, no) With all looking lost- with the score 2-1 going into the Tigers ninth, Johjima hit to right field to get onto base. Yamato stole, and with two out, facing oblivion, pinch hitter Hiyama got the hit to left field, and tied the game 2-2!! Egusa returned for the Hawks’ ninth, and pitched very well- good to see him back. In the tenth, a succession of fine hits from Hiyama, Toritani, and then a gisei (sacrifice) fly from Arai got the runner (Kanoh as pinch runner this time) home for a 3-2 lead! Following this, Aniki got a hit, and another sacrifice fly from Yamato gave us another run- 4-2! The Hawks’ tenth was pitched by Kyuji as expected. It was a tough scrape- runners got on base and Fujikawa pitched a few balls, but in the end a fly out got us the third out, and the game was ours.

Heroes were Murton and Hiyama for hitting when we needed it. We really needed to win this game, and we did through a character-full gritty performance. We’re up against it with our pitching woes, but with results elsewhere (Kyojin and Chunichi losing) going for us, this was a big result.

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