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Interleague Game 18: We Shall Fight on the Beaches

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Before tonight’s game vs Hiroshima at Chiba Marine – the last game between Lotte and Hiroshima in 2009 – I imagine Bobby Valentine gave our Marines a pep talk. I think it might have gone like this:

General Valentine of the Fighting Lotte Marines

General Valentine of the Fighting Lotte Marines

“My fellow Marines. We have seen much together these past years. These last few weeks – the battles between the Pacific and the Central powers – have been difficult. The last few weeks especially have been tiring. We have fought hard, yet only to a draw three times in the past two weeks. We have fought hard, and have suffered defeat. We have fought hard, yet can only show 1 victory for our efforts the past 2 weeks.”

“Men, tonight, we make our stand. Tonight, we fight for the love of the fans, the Team 26, the Fathers and Mothers, Grandparents and schoolchildren. We fight for them, and we will give them victory.”

Chiba Lotte Strikes Back

Chiba Lotte Strikes Back

“Fighting Men of Lotte: We will not lose tonight. No – we will fight, and fight hard, and we will score in every way imaginable. We shall score by the might of the grand slam:”

Imae pounds a 3rd inning grand slam to make it 7-2

Imae pounds a 3rd inning grand slam to make it 7-2

“And it will bring joy to everyone.”

Fans and players, everyone loves Imae

Fans and players, everyone loves Imae

“We shall score on the wild pitch. We shall score by the bases-loaded hit-by-pitch.”

Hayasaka takes a very painful one off the shin for the team

Hayasaka takes a very painful one off the shin for the team

“We shall score by the bases-loaded walk. We shall score by a flurry of singles.”

Heiuchi's 6th-inning single scores two

Heiuchi's 6th-inning single scores two

“The enemy will not be able to withstand our onslaught. In the face of our power they will wilt.”

Imae pounces on another pitch

Imae pounces on another pitch

“The enemy will try to tag us out; we will slide safely by.”

Lambin scores in the 6th inning madness

Lambin scores in the 6th inning madness

“Men of Lotte: We fight together, and we will win by margins only dreamed of.”

The team savors the record-breaking victory

The team savors the record-breaking victory

Yes, that must have been what Bobby said. It most certainly worked, too, as Lotte completely destroyed the Carp – in record fashion – in every single facet of the game in a totally fulfilling 23-2 laugher. No joke, we were rolling in the aisles with glee.

What's so funny?  The score.

What's so funny? The score.

Lotte starter Shimizu Naoyuki looked a bit shaky early on. With a pair of runners on and two outs in the top of the second he got ahead 2-0 to Hiroshima’s Suenaga. He couldn’t get the strikeout and Suenaga finally got the pitch he wanted, poking a double into the left field gap to score two, providing Hiroshima with an early 2-0 lead. Shimizu settled down after his second inning problems and would only allow three hits and a walk the rest of the way, sitting down Carp batter after Carp batter.

Lotte would get both runs back in the bottom of the inning as Hayasaka hit a triple off the right-center fence to score Satozaki and Imae. In the bottom of the third the cracks started to appear in the dam. Ohmatsu scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch to Satozaki to make it 3-2, and after Hiroshima starter Otake walked Satozaki to reload the bases, Imae cleared them all with a huge grand slam to left center. There was joy in Makuhari indeed.

In the 6th, the dam couldn’t take anymore and the flood waters rushed in. It’d be too onerous and quite frankly almost meaningless to list a play-by-play, but no matter who Hiroshima trotted to the mound, no matter what pitches they threw, no matter what moves Carp Kantoku Brown made, the runs just wouldn’t stop. There were runs on a HBP, runs on a walk, runs on singles, doubles, sac flies, errors. Run after run crossed the plate as the Lotte fans danced, danced, danced.

The damage: in the 6th inning alone, Lotte had:

12 Hits
2 HBP
2 Walks
2 Runs scored on an error
2 Complete trips through the batting order (and Ohmatsu batted 3 times)
15 Runs scored – apparently a new NPB record for one inning!

Somewhere about the time the score became 14-2 or 15-2 I joked to the fans around me – “Ni-ju! Ni-ju!” (20! 20!) As the inning crept on we got closer, passed 20, and kept on going. I started shouting “Ni-ju-go!” (25). Not quite, but I don’t think anyone in Lotte white is complaining. Especially not with 11 players recording an RBI tonight, led by Imae with 6.

Of course it’s just a single game. It’s pretty meaningless. Softbank was the only PL team to lose tonight so Lotte didn’t even move in the standings. But the 23 runs is more than we had scored all month to this point, so I will take my happiness and run with it. Could this be the start of an offensive renaissance? Lotte did have 9 runs on Sunday which was the most in over a month at that point, and three games later we see this hit fest. Perhaps, perhaps.

Hero interviews - how did they limit it to just two heroes?

Hero interviews - how did they limit it to just two heroes?

Let’s not forget the great pitching by Shimizu, either. He’s been sub-par all year but tonight he only allowed 8 baserunners and 2 runs in a complete game, 106-pitch victory. That’s something else to tuck in the back pocket for the future!

Next day edit: Not to turn this into a bandwidth-crushing picture post (hah, too late for that!) – here’s a few more pics from last night. I almost felt bad for the Carp fans as they had to have their Lucky 7 directly after the completion of the 15 run inning. I took a pic for posterity.

Difficult to muster up the energy to sing, I imagine

Difficult to muster up the energy to sing, I imagine

And here’s a few more of Ohmatsu, Saburo, and Tanaka Masahiko driving in runs. Tanaka-senshu was actually the co-hero with Imae.

Tanaka hits an RBI sac fly in the 6th

Tanaka hits an RBI sac fly in the 6th

Saburo's RBI single from the 6th

Saburo's RBI single from the 6th

Ohmatsu strokes a double in the second of his 3 AB in the 6th

Ohmatsu strokes a double in the second of his 3 AB in the 6th

Comments 8

  1. YES!We recorded most scoring game in this season. Scoring 15 points in one inning broke Japanese profesional baseball scoring history! We returned their favor back. I wish I were there to support Marines. “Iguchi~misetekure~” (I am learning Marines’Ouenka)

  2. Yeah, you should have been there! It was just amazing. Everything dropped for a hit, everything good that could happen did happen. We really needed to beat the heck out of someone and I’m glad I was there to witness it 🙂

  3. Now that’s more like it! If the Marines can score 20+ runs per game, I will guarantee that they will win the Pacific League pennant. Let’s hope that this is the turning point. Come on, let’s GO!

  4. Wow. What a game. I actually switched over from the Swallows game for a while in the 6th, just to confirm that the 19-2 scoreflash shown at the bottom of the Hawks coverage wasn’t a typo……

    Crazy business indeed.

  5. Oh thank god you wrote the game up. I actually collapsed into sleep around 7:30pm last night because I was so worn out from this week… woke up, saw the 23-2 score and immediately loaded your blog to see what on earth transpired. That’s nuts! It must have been fun to be there — last year when Shunsuke and the Marines pounded the Lions 16-0 it was probably one of the most memorable games of the year for me…

  6. The Marines stopped playing a game called “most runners left on base,” excellent! And despite dropping 3 out of 4 to Hiroshima it somehow seems like Lotte owns them.

    I hope they have another one of these blowouts for Seibu. It would go a long way to make up for the 18-0 debacle Lotte suffered in May.

  7. Deanna, I was at that game with Watanabe last year as well. It was one of the few times last year I didn’t sit in the gaiya. I got to see Seibu’s Revenge a few weeks later when they trounced us almost the exact reverse – 16-2, 3 hitter. It was still worth it.

    I hope we can do the same this year to Seibu as well. Maybe a 19-0 beatdown in Saitama?

    To be perfectly honest I would be tickled pink if the guys would just put up the game score without the 15 run inning once in a while. Really, they would have still won by 6 runs even if that 6th inning didn’t happen. Good stuff!

    As I was in a bit of a rush last night I didn’t have a chance to fully sort through my pictures. I just added 4 more pictures at the bottom of the post.

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