October 25th, 2015
Softbank Hawks 4
Series: Tokyo 0-2 Softbank
(Fukuoka Yafuoku Dome)
The heartbreak at Fukuoka continued as the Swallows offense remained limp against the Hawks’ pitching and the Hawks offense got enough done against the Swallows pitching to take both games at Fukuoka.
|W: van den Hurk (1-0)
L: Ogawa (0-1)
|1||Shuhei Fukuda (RF)||1||Tsuyoshi Ueda (CF)|
|2||Kenji Akashi (2B)||2||Shingo Kawabata (3B)|
|3||Yuki Yanagita (CF)||3||Tetsuto Yamada (2B)|
|4||Dae Ho Lee (1B)||4||Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)|
|5||Nobuhiro Matsuda (3B)||5||Yuhei (RF)|
|6||Yuya Hasegawa (DH)||6||Wladimir Balentien (DH)|
|7||Akira Nakamura (LF)||7||Keiji Ohbiki (SS)|
|8||Kenta Imamiya (SS)||8||Yuhei Nakamura (C)|
|9||Hiroaki Takaya (C)||9||Wataru Hiyane (LF)|
|P||Rick van den Hurk||P||Yasuhiro Ogawa|
Dan and I had travelled down to Fukuoka to be the Tsubamengun representatives in Hakata. We did our best to terrorize the town prior to each game and we decided to pay our respects to Yakult prior to tonight’s game. As it turns out, Minoru Shirota discovered the “Yakult bacteria” in 1930 while at Kyoto University and he opened a factory in 1935 at Tojin-machi in Fukuoka to produce Yakult. As it so happens, Tojin-machi is the closest subway station to the Yafuoku Dome and there is a black Yakult statue to commemorate Shirota’s factory. Thus, we paid our respects to the statue prior to the game and prayed for success in game 2.
Unfortunately the Yakult god(s) did not respond. We found ourselves completely outnumbered and outmatched at the Hawks’ home.
As far as domes go the Yafuoku Dome is the best one either one of us has gone to in Japan. But it doesn’t change the fact that domes suck and we were definitely the visitors.
Things started out nicely for the Swallows as Ueda lead off the game with a single. Unfortunately Ueda was immediately caught stealing and Rick van den Hurk pitched perfectly for the next ten batters. van den Hurk’s next hit was a two out single to Yamada, which was Yamada’s first hit in the series. Yamada followed with a steal, but Yuhei wasn’t able to follow with anything meaningful. The Swallows only got one more hit the rest of the way, an Ueda single to open the sixth.
Meanwhile Ogawa had a shaky first where he let two men on but it looked like he had settled down, as he pitched perfect innings in the second and the third. He lead off the inning with a walk to Yanagita, and Dae Ho Lee punished Ogawa with a shot into left field to open the scoring. 2-0 Hawks
Ogawa lasted into the next inning but left with two outs and two men on in the fourth. Akiyoshi came in to face Lee and walked him. Fortunately he struck out Matsuda to end the threat. Akiyoshi wasn’t as fortunate in the sixth. Akiyoshi allowed a one out left field “terrace” homer to Nakamura to stretch the Hawks lead. Imamiya followed with a single and was bunted over to second. Fukuda brought Imamiya home with a single of his own. Fukuda was nailed trying to steal second, but the damage had been done. 4-0 Hawks
van den Hurk pitched through the eighth and Sarfate came in to pitch the ninth to preserve the shutout. van den Hurk probably could’ve pitched the ninth as he was only on 109 pitches, but Kudo supplied some bulletin board material in his hero interview by mentioning he brought in Sarfate to give the bullpen some work. 4-0 Hawks FINAL
After the game we headed to the food stalls of Nakatsu. We happened to find a stall manned by a Fukuoka Swallows fan complete with a Yamda t-shirt and an Ogawa towel. If ever you find yourself in Hakata, we recommend ラーメン伸龍 for all your Hakata food stall needs. We found ourselves commiserating with 8-10 other Swallows fans.
The Swallows and us will take tomorrow to travel back to Tokyo and get some rest before Game 3 in Jingu on Tuesday. Tateyama versus Settsu is the predicted matchup.