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Guts galore shown by Hawks in come-from-behind-win

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Guts galore shown by Hawks in come-from-behind-win
Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher once said, "so what if we won ugly?" It may not have been pretty, but the Hawks managed to secure the sweep of the Chiba Lotte Marines with a come-from-behind, 12-9 victory today.

Despite starter Shinsuke Ogura getting knocked out of the game after just one inning (five runs, four hits, two walks, one strikeout), the Hawks managed to cobble together a win with the help of their top relievers and Takehito Kanazawa.

Keisuke Kattoh, less than a week removed from his first professional victory, got the win in relief to improve his record to 2-0. He was the second man out of the bullpen and tossed two perfect innings. From there, SBM once again teamed up to slam the door.

Settsu worked two innings of his own, and struck out five of the seven batters he faced. From there, he turned it over to Falkenborg lowered his ERA even further to 0.41 with three strikeouts and a walk, and Mahara struck out two of the three batters he faced in the 9th for the save (23).

Marines starter Ryoji Katsuki was not much better than his counterpart in his three innings of work. He gave up four runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts. It was a wild game indeed, but things looked bleak after the first inning with the Hawks trailing 5-1.

However, unlike the visitors, Lotte couldn't hold the line and keep SoftBank off the board. Takuya Furuya gave up three runs on as many hits in one inning, Yoshihiro Itoh gave up four more (three earned) in two innings, and even Yasuhiko Yabuta was touched up for a run. The only Marine pitcher who didn't get scored on was Hiroyuki Kobayashi.

The Marines got the lead in the first with run-scoring hits from Kim Tae-Gyun (RBI double), Ohmatsu (2-run single), and Saburo (RBI double), with a throwing error by Honda allowing catcher Satozaki to reach, and it brought another run across.

The Hawks got a run across in the top of the first thanks to an RBI single from Ortiz, but trailing 5-1, SoftBank needed to generate a rally. They once again got to Katsuki with three runs in the second, two of them coming off the bat of Yuya Hasegawa.

Trailing 9-4 going into the fourth inning, the Hawks started to take over the game. The fourth saw the visitors pull to 9-7 thanks to the bat of Hitoshi Tamura, as he socked a three-run home run (16).

SoftBank tied the score when Honda and Ortiz both rapped out singles, and both came around to score on an RBI single by Kokubo. Ortiz came across on a fielding error from center fielder Ikuhiro Kiyota.

The Hawks took the lead for good when the Hawks loaded the bases with one out. Honda singled home Hasegawa, and Ortiz lifted a sacrifice fly to center to put SoftBank up 11-9. Another sacrifice fly by Matusda in the 7th ended the scoring at 12-9.

The win means the Hawks will maintain their two-game lead over the Lions after they defeated the Fighters, 7-6. After a day off tomorrow, the Hawks get right back to work at Sapporo Dome against the Fighters for a short two-game set.

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Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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