The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball doubled up on the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League (ABL) in a 6-3 final at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium yesterday afternoon to improve to 2-0 in this year’s play.
The win not only kept the newly crowned NBP champions unbeaten, but also earned them a ticket for tomorrow night’s semi-final contest.
Their opposition will be the winner of the final preliminary game between the Uni-President Lions of Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) and the Samsung Lions of South Korea’s Korea Baseball Organization. The game was still being played at the time of going to press.
Shota Koseki’s bases-clearing double off Cavalry starter Chris Motta scored all three base runners for the Golden Eagles in the top of the second to get the Japanese on the board.
The best from the land of the samurais tacked on another run in the third and the fifth that made it 5-0.
The Australians fought back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth when Robbie Perkins doubled off Japanese starter Satoshi Nagai and scored on Shane Opitz’s RBI single before Casey Frawley’s two-run double made it 5-3.
That was as close as the Cavalry got as the Golden Eagles’ bullpen took over the game.
Kohhei Hasebe tossed three innings of perfect relief before closer Shinichiro Koyama retired the Australians in order with two strikeouts in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the victory.
Picking up the win was Nagai, who allowed three runs on eight hits while fanning six and walking one over five innings to beat his counterpart Motta, who lasted only two innings with three runs charged against him in a losing effort.
Koseki was named the game MVP for his clutch double that drove in three runs for the Golden Eagles.