Softbank Hawks advance to Nippon Series to face the Hiroshima Toyo Carp

The Hiroshima Toyo Carp (Central League) and the Softbank Hawks  (Pacific League) will face each other in the 2018 Nippon Series. The Carp swept the Yomiuri Giants 4-0 to advance and today, the Hawks clinched a Nippon Series spot by beating the Seibu Lions 6-5.

As usual, the winner of the regular season in each league gets a bye in the first round as two other teams battle to face the winner. In the semifinals, called the Climax Series, the winner of the regular season of each league will have a one-game lead advantage over the other team. In the case of the Toyo Carp, the team only had to win three games to sweep the Giants. The Softbank Hawks, on the other hand, had to overcome this one game deficit.

In the first game of the Climax Series, Rick van den Hurk pitched six innings in which he struck out eight, walked none and gave up four runs on seven hits.
The Seibu Lions won the second game but were not able to stop the Hawks from advancing as the team from Fukuoka won the next three games. Today, the Hawks clinched their Nippon Series spot by beating the Lions 6-5.

With this clincher, the Softbank Hawks will make their sixth Nippon Series appearance in nine years. The club has won eight NPB titles since their inauguration (1959, 1964, 1999, 2003, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017).

Here is a summary of the Hawks’ Pacific League Championship clinching game:

Despite the loss, the Seibu Lions announced they will extend the contract of losing manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji.

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