The national pastime belongs to more than just America. Independent leagues in Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Taiwan all play high-caliber baseball. Overtime Heroics keeps you informed on all aspects of sports, so here is the second in our two-part series rounding up 2019’s international professional baseball championships.
With relative ease, the Fukuoka Hawks emerged as victors to claim their third consecutive Japan Series. The Central League champion Tokyo Giants were no match for Kodai Senga and the rest of the dominant Hawks pitching staff. The Hawks allowed no more than three runs in a single game, and the hot-hitting offense sealed the deal.
Game four was certainly the most exciting in the series. After three scoreless frames, the Hawks jumped to a three to nothing lead with a little help from Japan Series MVP Yurisbel Gracial. The Cuban slugged his third home run of the series, and the Hawks never relinquished the lead.
Despite surrendering only a single hit, starter Tsuyoshi Wada was pulled in favor of Robert Suarez before the sixth. Kazuma Okamoto took advantage of the managerial error with his own home run.
Yet the Hawks returned in the seventh with an insurance run, which proved to be crucial. In the bottom of the seventh, the Giants put another run on the board. That turned out to be the last in the series, as the Hawks bullpen shut down the Giants.
The victory came before 44,708 in the Tokyo Dome. Gracial was named MVP, and the Hawks continue their domination of Nippon Professional Baseball. Fukuoka now owns five of the last six Japan Series titles.
An exciting, back-and-forth game four gave the otherwise relatively unexciting Korean Series some memorable moments. The Seoul Bears swept the Gocheok Heroes to earn their sixth championship.
The Heroes started early with eight runs in the first two innings. But even this offensive onslaught was not enough. The Bears battled back successfully, scoring in the second, fourth, and fifth innings. At the end of nine, the two sides were tied at 12.
In the tenth inning, Korean Series MVP Jae-il Oh hit a double to bring in what proved to the winning run.
The Taoyuan Monkeys left little doubt that they deserved the Taiwan Series title. In the fifth game of the best-of-seven series, the Monkeys went on an offensive tear. The Taichung Brothers put a respectable three runs on the board, but it was not match for the Monkeys’ twenty.
Shih-Hao Liu launched a grand slam to get the show started in the first. But Series MVP honors went to third basement Li Lin, who helped his case with a three-run blast. Li slashed .520/.556/1.000 in the five games.
The victory gives Taoyuan a three-peat and its sixth Taiwan Series championship.
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