Hello everyone. I hope that you all enjoyed your Labor Day weekend. My Japanese team, Leopalace 21, got back to work with a pair of important games Saturday and Sunday.
We started off the second half of our season with a win over Honda, 8-1. I started the game and threw five innings before Yamane came in to close it out after a great performance by our offense. Sunday we faced one of the teams tied for first in the league, Renesas Takasaki. Ueno pitches for them, so we knew it would be a hard-fought contest, but unfortunately we came up a bit short.
We were able to get off to a fast start in Sunday's contest thanks to a walk and a bunt, followed by a timely hit by our right fielder Nagayoshi, that allowed us to take an early 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, the lead didn't last long, and Renesas came back to score two runs in the bottom of the first.
Yamane started, but I came in to relieve her during that inning. Since we are nearing the end of our season, the innings are adding up for the foreign pitchers, and we have to be careful to manage them wisely. We are limited to 99 innings for the entire year, so we try to save any extra innings that we can when there is a chance. I left the game in the sixth inning since Yamane could reenter.
Renesas tacked on two more runs in the sixth, but we answered with another of our own in the top of the seventh. With another baserunner on and two outs, our center fielder Misato hit a long fly ball to the warning track. It was so close, but unfortunately didn't quite have the distance, and we fell, 4-2.
After 13 total games, the standings in the league are as follows:
Hitachi Software 8-5
Taiyo Yuden 5-8
Toda HP 5-8
Iyo Bank 2-11
We play Toda and Denso this coming weekend, so the Denso game will be especially important for us as we try to work our way into the top four. I'm also excited for this weekend, because Natalie, Yamane, Miyako (our interpreter) and I will be traveling to the games via the bullet train, or 'shinkansen.' We are playing in Okayama, which is about a 10 hour drive, but will be less than five hours on the shinkansen.
I'll report back to let you know how the games go and tell you about the train ride. Enjoy your week!