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Sledge, Sledge, Sledge, Sledge!

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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.


Sledge, Sledge, Sledge, Sledge!

3 replies. Most recent reply: Jul 31, 2011 8:32 PM by Christopher

It's deja-vu all over again. Terrmel Sledge has his second 3 home run game of the season, going 5 for 5 and driving in 8 of the Yokohama BayStars' 9 runs for a 9-5 victory over the Hanshin Tigers at Koshien Stadium.

It's the top of the third inning. With one out and nobody on, Sledge takes a Cheng Kai-wen fork ball over the center field fence to put the BayStars up 1-0. A double to left by Murata Shuichi and single to right by Brett Harper add a second run.

Suda Kota, starting for Yokohama, allowed a run to score in the bottom of the third inning on a wild pitch. Argh. Didn't we just have a game recently where we gave up a couple runs without anyone driving any in like this? This is a bad sign.

And the bad sign gets worse as Craig Brazell hits a gyakuten 2-run blast into the right field seats the next inning. Hanshin then adds another run to go up 4-2.

But hope is not lost. In a (seemingly) rare occurrence that Yokohama doesn't go down in order with the bases loaded and nobody out, Sledge hits a grand slam home run into the Hanshin oendan in right to turn this game back around, taking a 6-4 lead.

And to add some icing to the cake, Terrmel does it again in the top of the 8th, this time with two aboard, putting the BayStars up 9-4.

Brazell tries not to be too much upstaged by Sledge, adding a second solo shot to lead off the bottom of the 9th for Hanshin. Pitcher Sanada Hiroki then allowed a base hit and a walk to put runners on first and second with nobody out, prompting Obana-kantoku to bring in our less-than-sure closer Yamaguchi Shun.

Pinch hitter Shibata Kohei goes down on strikes for out number one. Then pinch hitter Hiyama Shinjiro hits a line drive to the gap in left-center, and it's Sledge diving for the ball - and catching it! He was just squatting in left field after Sanada's walk with a look of resignation on his face, but comes through with an amazing diving catch to prevent a run. Sure, the runner at second moved up to third, but that's the second out. Matt Murton, 0 for 4 coming into the 9th inning, flew out to right to end the game hitless.

Offensively, 5 for 5 with 8 RBIs on a solo, grand slam, and 3-run home runs, the game belonged to Sledge. Defensively, that catch saved the game. This game was all Sledge.

Oh, and the victory brings the BayStars up to .500 against the Hanshin Tigers this year, both teams are now 6 and 6 (1 tie) against each other. Yokohama had gone one up on the Giants in the previous series before dropping two, so let's see if we can get over that hump and keep it against Hanshin.

Gambaro Nippon! Gambare BayStars!

[Edited on July 31, 2011 10:03 AM: Fixed details on bottom of the 9th.]
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Comments

Re: Sledge, Sledge, Sledge, Sledge!

[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Jul 31, 2011 1:52 PM | Posts: 3482 | From: Tokyo | HAN Fan | Registered: Sep, 2004 ]
It was quite a feat but set me thinking - has anyone ever hit a cycle of home runs? Sledge was a two run home run off this. However, it was a good thing they had Sledge because when I saw who the pitcher was I was thinking - Tigers victory easily.

Re: Sledge, Sledge, Sledge, Sledge!

[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jul 31, 2011 8:01 PM | Posts: 35252 | From: Yokohama, Japan | YBS Fan | Registered: Aug, 2001 ]
I was wondering the same thing about the home run cycle, hoping that Sledge would get one more chance in the 9th.

According to the Japanese Wikipedia, it has not been done. There was but one person who was set up for the chance; Chunichi's Leo Gomez back in 1999. On April 18 against the Giants at Tokyo Dome, Gomez had already hit a solo, 2-run, and 3-run home run when he came up to bat with the bases loaded in the 8th inning. However, he struck out swinging to come up short.

Also mentioned was Yakult's John Scott in 1979 when he did hit all four types of home run in a single day against Hanshin, but they were divided up over a double header at Koshien. Scott hit a 2-run and grand slam in the first game, then a solo and 3-run in the second game.

I think that the article may need to be revised to say that Sledge also had the opportunity. He had a runner on in the first inning but singled instead of homered. It was before the fireworks started, but the table was set for him as well.

I see that you wrote about Kanemoto nearly hitting for the home run cycle back a couple years ago. I suppose you miss writing, "Kanemoto is really on form and seems unstoppable."

Re: Sledge, Sledge, Sledge, Sledge!

[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Jul 31, 2011 8:32 PM | Posts: 3482 | From: Tokyo | HAN Fan | Registered: Sep, 2004 ]
That seems so long ago - its sad to write about Kanemoto's struggles now. But anyway Sledge did well and to be honest I hoped he would bang over a two run as well.
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