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Karaage-kun Shoots Down 'Stars

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Featuring Michael Westbay (a.k.a. westbaystars)

Michael Westbay has been blogging about Pro Yakyu since before the word "blog" entered the vernacular. Here he writes about Pro Yakyu in general, and the Yokohama BayStars in particular.

Karaage-kun Shoots Down 'Stars

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Chiba Lotte Marines' Karaage-kun (Karakawa Yuki) effectively used his "shoot" pitch to hold the Yokohama BayStars to no runs on three hits through the first three innings at Hiratsuka yesterday (March 3).

Having suffered a fractured middle finger on his throwing (right) hand by a come-backer last May, Karakawa was not allowed to throw the shoot upon his return to the top team last August. With 10 months now since the injury, the ban on his shoot has been lifted, and was the main theme of the baby faced Marine's outing this game. The highlight was striking out Morimoto Hichori on three pitches with one down and a runner on second in the 1st inning. Karakawa came after Morimoto with two shoots, then a changeup low and away had Hichori whiffing nothing but air. Morimoto (0 for 15 lifetime against Karakawa during regular season play, including 4 strike outs) commented, "Even if I had made contact with where the ball was pitched, it would have been a ground out. I'm just glad he's now in a different league." (On the bright side for Yokohama's new center fielder, Morimoto did hit a 2-out single up the middle in the 3rd against Karakawa.)

Starting for Yokohama was Miura Daisuke. I'm still very concerned about his pitching as he allowed 2 walks in the second inning, then a huge lead-off home run (right fielder didn't make a move) to number 9 batting Nemoto Shunichi in the third. Miura struck out a batter in each of the three innings he worked, and allowed just 3 hits, all in the third inning, and a sacrifice fly to allow the Marines to get on the board first 2-0.

The BayStars battled back in the 6th inning with two unearned runs against submariner Watanabe Shunsuke to tie the ballgame up at 2-2. Lotte took the lead back in the top of the 7th as Kosugi Yohta allowed back to back singles to Kanazawa Takeshi and Nemoto to lead off the inning, then was pulled after number 1 batter Okada Yoshifumi sacrificed the pair to second and third. Hata Yuji took over on the mound and allowed the two runners to come home on a single up the middle to Kiyota Ikuhiro.

Itoh Yoshihiro managed to scrape by only allowing one BayStar run in the bottom of the 8th, a pair of wild pitches undermining his effort.

Lotte added an insurance run in the top of the 9th, and that's more than they needed as they defeatued the BayStars 5-3.

The loss drops the BayStars to a 2 wins, 1 loss record, now tied for second in the Open-sen standings with the Hanshin Tigers, behind the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters who are 3 and 1.
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