Mon, Nov 17, 2008 - Page 20 News List

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


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.


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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