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Word of the Day: 長打力 (Chodaryoku)

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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.


Word of the Day: 長打力 (Chodaryoku)

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The word "chodaryoku" is made up of the three Kanji "長" (nagai) meaning "long", "打" (utsu) meaning "to hit", and "力" (chikara) meaning "power". Put them together and you get "long ball power." The rubber match of the Opening Series against the Chunichi Dragons could best be summed up as a long ball game.

The Yokohama BayStars started the scoring as Brett Harper led off the bottom of the second inning with a towering home run to the BayStars oendan (cheering section) in right field. I didn't see where the ball came down, but it was well toward the rim of the stadium. That's extra base hit number 1.

After that, both teams were fairly quiet until the bottom of the fourth. Murata Shuichi led off with a single to left. That was followed by Harper ripping the ball to straight away center, coming up just short of a home run, off the top of the wall. While center fielder Ohshima Yohei scrambled to recover the ball, Murata surprised everyone by rounding third and heading home. The throw was up the third base line, and Tanishige Motonobu was just unable to make the tag on Murata. Shuichi looked like he was going to die there in front of the first base dugout, trying to get his breath back. The TV announcers were concerned about him pulling a muscle again, as he had during the WBC a couple of years ago, then repeated right after the season started. But he wasn't limping, just breathless.

And if seeing Murata come all the way home from first base came as a surprise, it's a rare game that one sees Harper with an extra base hit that isn't over the fence. He's the exception to the BayStars' speed movement this season. But it certainly is good to see. That's extra base hit number 2.

Chunichi decided to get in on the act in the top of the fifth inning. With one down, Tonly Blanco hit his first home run of the year, a solo shot to right field, cutting the BayStar lead in half, 1-2. That was the only extra base hit allowed by starter Takasaki Kentaro (7IP, 3H, 5K, 3BB, 1R) and reliever Sanada Hiroki (2IP, 2H, 0K, 0BB, 0R). So we won't count that one and instead focus on just the BayStars' extra base hits.

And we had a few in the bottom of the fifth.

With two on and one out, the previous after noon's hero, Terrmel Sledge, gave the ball a ride into the right-center gap, plating both Ishikawa Takehiro from second and Watanabe Naoto from first. Sledge can hit with runners in scoring position this season; something that has plagued the BayStars for more years than I can remember. Murata followed that up with a double of his own over the center fielder's head, this scoring Sledge from second base. Harper then flew out to deep center, moving Murata up a base, then he was brought home on Morimoto Hichori's triple to center field. Three long balls drove in four runs this inning, putting the BayStars up by a score of 6-1. And that brings the extra base count up to 5 for Yokohama.

But we aren't done yet. Sledge hit home run number 4 on the year with one out in the seventh inning, a solo shot. And what's more, Harper hit his second double of the afternoon an out later. Two doubles by Harper! He hit six all last season! This is insane! That brings the extra base hit count to 7 on the afternoon. Those 7 hits accounted for 19 total bases in the game, as the BayStars take the series finale 7-1.

After so many years of seeing the opposition hitting for power against Yokohama, it's good to see some of that 長打力 on our side.
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