Thursday, April 30, 2009

4/29 Seibu vs SoftBank @ Seibu Dome: Showa Day Showdown

Hello once again everyone. Yesterday was Showa Day in Japan and the weather was great for a ballgame. So, I went to see the Saitama Seibu Lions for the first time during the regular season at Seibu Dome as they took on the SoftBank Hawks. Honestly, Seibu has been far from impressive to start the season in my opinion as they are in 4th place in the Pacific League and are playing .500 ball with an 11-11 record. But on the other hand, they aren’t that far behind the Ham, Rakuten, and Orix who are each 12-9 so one good winning streak by Seibu could turn things around in their favor. As of right now, they are on a 2 game winning streak and hopefully they can add to it in the coming days.

As I said earlier, yesterday was Showa Day here in Japan and many people had the day off and as a result, many people came to the ballpark. Almost the entire 3rd base side was full and the total crowd was 28,855. The pitching match up for the day was Kaz Ishii going for the Lions against D.J. Houlton going for the Hawks. Also, this was my first game sitting in the outfield stands and cheering for Seibu. I’ve never been able to sit in the outfield before so this was a neat experience.

A couple of SoftBank pitchers joking around before the game.

SoftBank starter Toshiya Sugiuchi jogging in the outfield before the game.

Seibu starter Kazuhisa Ishii.

Ishii again.

Leo, the Lions mascot, is KING at Seibu Dome. Seibu did the right thing by keeping Leo and Leona when they changed the team logo last off-season.

As for the game itself, both Ishii and Houlton started off great. But, D.J. Houlton ran into a brick wall named Hiram Bocachica in the 3rd inning as “Boca” smacked his first home run of the day to centerfield to make it 1-0 Seibu. Ishii, on the other hand, cruised through the first 3 innings but ran into trouble in the 4th. After allowing a walk to SoftBank leadoff hitter Yuichi Honda, Ishii then committed an error by misplaying Munenori Kawasaki’s bunt and looked really bad doing it by ending up by ending up on the ground after he tripped. He then threw a wild pitch that allowed Honda and Kawasaki to advance to third and second respectively. But somehow, he managed to escape. After his wild pitch, he managed to strike out Nobuhiko Matsunaka. Then, he got Hiroki Ohkubo to hit a grounder to Seibu third baseman Takeya “Okawari” Nakamura that he promptly threw to home to get Honda out. And after that, Yuya Hasegawa struck out swinging to end the inning and Ishii was able to get out of a huge jam. Boca struck again in the bottom of the 5th as he hit his second home run of the day to left field to make it 2-0 Seibu. Then, Ishii got into more trouble in the 6th after managing to get the first 2 outs in the inning. It started when Kawasaki doubled to left for Softbank’s first hit of the game on a ball that “Okawari” just missed catching by about an inch. Yes, Ishii managed to carry a no hitter into the 6th inning, which was amazing considering he bailed himself out in the 4th inning. But much like the 4th, he got himself into trouble again as he walk both Matsunaka and Ohkubo to load the bases. But again, Ishii managed to strike out Hasegawa to end the threat and once again get himself out of a jam despite hit chance for a no-hitter being ruined.

Seibu then went on to score 5 runs in the bottom of the 7th to break the game open, which included an RBI hit by Ginjiro (catcher) that also went for an error because of a misplay by left fielder Yuya Hasegawa and a 2 run double by Yasuyuki Kataoka and a two run homerun by Takumi Kuriyama. SoftBank only managed to score 2 runs and had only five hits in the game so it shocked me when they couldn’t capitalize on Ishii’s mistakes and potentially do some damage.

Ishii ended up ended up with the win for Seibu while Houlton took the loss. All in all, a great experience finally being able to sit in the outfield section at Seibu Dome for once. Being able to see Kaz Ishii throw a couple innings of no-hit ball was great and I wish he could've gone the distance and thrown a no-hitter. A great victory for Seibu and let's hope they can get a streak going.

Game Hero #1 Hiram Bocachica.

Game Hero #2 Kazuhisa Ishii.

The infamous Seibu bass drum. It always gives Seibu's cheer songs and extra kick.

Box Scores



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