Sunday, September 12, 2021

Card Of The Week September 12

The Buffaloes and Marines started last week in a virtual tie for first place in the Pacific League (although Lotte was technically in first since they had a slightly better winning percentage) and as luck would have it they played each other in a three game series in Kobe from Tuesday through Thursday.  Each game was one of those tight, low scoring games that are always so much fun in a pennant race (especially if it's not one of your teams playing).

On Tuesday the Marines got out to an early 3-0 lead after two innings but the Buffaloes scored a run in bottom of the third.   No more runs were scored until pinch hitter Seiichiro Ohshita led off the bottom of the eighth by doing this:

That made the score 3-2 and the Buffaloes went on to tie it up that inning.  Then in the bottom of the ninth, Ohshita (who had remained in the game at first base) batted again with one out and the bases loaded and came through again:

The Buffaloes walked off with a 4-3 victory.

On Wednesday Orix got on the board first with a solo home run from rookie Ryoto Kita in the fourth.  The Marines tied it up in the top of the sixth and then in the top of the eighth Leonys Martin stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second:

Martin's three run home run not only was the margin of victory in Lotte's 4-1 win but also was the 8000th home run in Orions/Marines history.

Friday the Buffaloes again got the lead first by scoring single runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth (the latter coming on a solo home run from Yutaro Sugimoto who has hit half of his 24 home runs this year against Lotte).  But the Marines weren't done yet.  Former Hiroshima Toyo Carp Tetsuya Kokubo, who the Marines had just signed at the end of August after he'd spent most of the year with the Fire Country Salamanders of the independent Kyushu Asian League, homered in the seventh to cut the Buffaloes' lead in half and then Takashi Ogino led off the ninth by doing this:

Ogino's solo home run tied the game at 2.  The Buffaloes nearly walked it off in the bottom of the ninth - with two runners on and two outs Kotaro Kurebayashi hit a shot but Lotte third baseman Ryo Miki speared it for the final out of the 2-2 tie.

So after the series, the situation was roughly the same as it was before the series - the two teams in a virtual tie for first with the Marines having a slightly better winning percentage.  Unfortunately for Orix, the weekend's results weren't as good for them.  The Buffaloes dropped two of three to the Lions while Lotte swept the Eagles.  Still there's a lot of baseball left to be played and I'm still holding out hope that the Buffaloes and Tigers will meet in the Nippon Series.  There's only been one all-Kansai Nippon Series in history (the 1964 Series between the Tigers and the Nankai Hawks who played in Osaka at the time) and I think it'd be cool for there to be another one.

I thought this week I'd share a card of the big heroes from each of the three games:

2020 BBM Fusion #613

2020 Epoch One #505

2020 Calbee "AVG Leader" #AL-04

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