Mon, Nov 17, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Seibu win final to become Asia’s ‘top cats’

By Jackson Broder  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Saitama Seibu Lions manager Hisanobu Watanabe, top, is tossed into the air after their Asia Series final victory over Taiwan’s Uni-President Lions at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo yesterday.

PHOTO: AFP

Taiwan’s Uni-President Lions ended up on the losing side of a hard fought pitcher’s duel in yesterday’s Championship game of the Konami Cup Asia Series, falling 1-0 to Japanese NPB champions the Seibu Lions.

First baseman Ishii Yoshihito scored all the way from first base — the game’s only run — on outfielder Satoh Tomoaki’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning, with right fielder Pan Wu-hsiung’s throw arriving too late.

Uni-President star pitcher Pan Wu-hsiung — pitching after just a day’s rest — found himself a hard luck losing pitcher for the second time in the series, taking an arguably undeserved loss on Satoh’s walk-off single despite pitching effectively in relief.

Pan and the Lions fell victim to what appeared to be a blown call with the bases empty and two outs, as the left-handed Ishii appeared to commit on a check swing with two strikes.

The third base umpire ruled he didn’t go around, however, and the pitch was ruled a ball, allowing Ishii to take first on a free pass and eventually score the game winner on following hitter Satoh’s single.

Seibu reliever Okamoto Shinya picked up the win in relief of a strong performance by Wakui Hideaki, who fanned 10 Lions hitters over six-and-two-third shutout innings. Relievers Ohnuma Koji and Hoshino Tomoki helped preserve the shutout.

Uni-President Lions starter Giancarlo Alvarado — locked in a pitchers duel with Wakui for most of the game — pitched six efficient shutout innings in a losing cause, striking out one with no walks.

The Uni-President Lions now return to Taiwan and face an uncertain future as the league has been reduced to just four teams in the wake of a gambling scandal that forced the closure of two clubs, the Chinatrust Whales and dMedia T-Rex.

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