Softbank Hawks, Rick van den Hurk win 2015 Nippon Series

Today the Softbank Hawks from Fukuoka beat the Yakult Swallows from Tokyo 5-0 to repeat for the NPB championship, winning the Nippon Series 4-1. .

Starting pitcher Jason Standridge needed 82 pitches to get through six innings in which he limited the Swallows to four hits and kept them from scoring. Standridge walked two and struck out two.
In total the Swallows were limited to five games through the whole game.

The Hawks scored two runs in the fourth inning, two in the fifth and one more in the ninth. Dae-Ho Lee, who was presented the Nippon Series MVP award, hit a two run homerun in the top of the fourth, that drove Kenji Akashi in as well, to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead. One inning later, a single by Kenji Akashi and a ground out to first base hit by Yuki Yanagita, drove in two more runs to give the Softbank Hawks a comfortable lead.

In his first at bat, Swallows’ Wladimir Balentien got his sole hit of the game as he singled towards left field. Balentien went 1 for 4 as he flied out to right field in the fourth inning, grounded into a double play to third base in the sixth inning and grounded out to the pitcher in the ninth.

Pinch hitter Yuichi Honda led off the ninth with a single to right field for the Hawks, followed by a sac bunt laid down by pinch hitter Shuhei Fukuda, that advanced Honda to second base. A single to center field by Yuki Yanagita, drove in his second run and the Hawks’ fifth to reach the final score.

Rick van den Hurk, who had a dominant outing in game two in which he limited the Swallows to three hits, rung them up seven times and didn’t walk anyone. earned one of the three Outstanding Player Awards thanks to this great performance.

After Hensley Meulens (in 1995 with the Yakult Swallows) and Andruw Jones (2013 with the Rakuten Golden Eagles), Rick is the third player of the Dutch kingdom who has won a championship in the NPB.

For the Hawks, this title was their seventh since the Nippon Series are played. The Hawks won the championship in 1959, 1964 (both as Nankai Hawks), 1999, 2003 (both as Fukuoka Daiei Hawks), 2011, 2014 and 2015. In total this was the ninth title for the Hawks as they also won two Japanese Baseball League titles in 1946 and 1948.


The Softbank Hawks storm the field after Dennis Sarfate has made the
final out (photo: japantimes.jp.co)

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