Jun 2nd 2016, @ Hokkaido

June 2nd, 2016

TS Logo 150x transparentTokyo Swallows 6Nippon Ham

Hokkaido Fighters 8

Streak: Lost 2 Last 5: WLWLL

(Sapporo Dome)

The pain is real. Sixth place baseball played out in its most painful form tonight as the Swallows lost a hard fought lead on one swing and dropped their second game in a row to the Fighters.

W: Takanashi (2-2)
L: Akiyoshi (3-3)
S: Masui (9)

 Swallows Fighters
1Keiji Ohbiki (SS)1Dai-Kang Yang (CF)
2Tomotaka Sakaguchi (CF)2Kensuke Tanaka (2B)
3Tetsuto Yamada (2B)3Shohei Ohtani (DH)
4Wladimir Balentien (DH)4Sho Nakata (1B)
5Shingo Kawabata (3B)5Brandon Laird (3B)
6Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (1B)6Haruki Nishikawa (LF)
7Yuhei (Takai) (RF)7Shota Ohno (C)
8Wataru Hiyane (CF)8Daiki Asama (RF)
9Yuhei Nakamura (C)9Takuya Nakashima (SS)
SPYoshihisa Naruse (P)SPTakayuki Kato (P)

The Fighter’s Kato started off a bit wild. Ohbiki and Balentien got on base via singles, and Kato loaded the bases with a walk after a hard fought at bat against Kawabata. That at bat seemed to have sapped Kato, as he promptly walked Hatake on four pitches. 1-0 Swallows Unfortunately the scoring ended there as Yuhei struck out swinging to end the inning.

 This being sixth place baseball Naruse gave it right back and then some. Naruse pitched his way to his own two out bases loaded situation on two hits and a walk. Like Kato, he walked in a run. 1-1 All Unlike Kato, Naruse also gave up a double to Ohno to give the Fighters an extra two runs. 3-1 Fighters

Kato pitched a perfect second and Naruse loaded the bases in the second but didn’t allow any runners.

The third inning started with a Sakaguchi liner off of Kato’s plant foot for a single. After some minutes getting treatment and one attempted practice pitch on the mound the Fighters pulled Kato. Iguchi came for Kato and after getting Yamada to fly out, he gave up a double to Coco. Kawabata was able to cash in Sakaguchi with a sac fly to left but the offense stalled there. 3-2 Fighters

The Swallows offense had their big inning in the fourth inning. Yuhei lead things off with a double and scored one out later on a Nakamura single. 3-3 All Ohbiki flied out but Sakaguchi was able to double to put two men on for Yamada. Yamada did his Yamada thing and extended his CL homerun lead with a shot to left for three. 6-3 Swallows

Naruse allowed multiple runners in the bottom of the inning and the Swallows ended his night with two outs in the inning. Ishiyama got the final out in the inning and he pitched a perfect fifth inning, but ran into trouble in the sixth. The Fighters started the inning off with back-to-back singles by Nakashima and Yang. Ishiyama got Tanaka to ground out to second which put men on the corners. The Swallows elected to send out Kyuko who has fared slightly worse against lefties (.240 BA vs. R & .276 BA vs. L) against Ohtani, a left-hander that has crushed lefties (.455 BA vs. L) this season. For the fourth time this season, Kyuko failed to get his batter out, as he walked Ohtani, and was quickly yanked without recording an out. Akiyoshi came in to face Samurai Japan’s clean up hitter, Sho Nakata, and the the result was sixth place baseball GRAND SLAM. 7-6 Fighters

Granted it was still only the sixth but it already felt like defeat was grabbed from the clutches of victory and while the Swallows managed to get baserunners in every inning, including a one out bases loaded situation in the seventh. Nothing materialized.

The Fighters tagged an extra run on Akiyoshi who came in to pitch the seventh and that was that. 8-6 Fighters FINAL


  • The Swallows travel back to Tokyo to face the Orix Buffaloes who were just swept by the Giants. Ogawa will start against Tomei in the opener.
  • Sakaguchi was given flowers after the 5th inning for playing in his 1000th NPB game.
  • With the constant men on base and the many pitching changes (12 different pitchers played in this game) this game lasted a mindbogglingly long four hours and three minutes.
Sho Nakata, crusher of dreams.... and baseballs.

Sho Nakata, crusher of dreams…. and baseballs.

About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.