The Hanshin Tigers, a professional baseball team from Japan’s Kansai region, have won the Central League for the first time in 18 years.
Hanshin won a 4-3 home game against the Yomiuri Giants on April 14 at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan.
Hanshin scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning with the score tied at 0-0, combining Yusuke Oyama’s sacrifice fly with Teruaki Sato’s two-run homer in the middle of the month to win the game.
Trailing 3-1 in the seventh, they capitalized on a Yomiuri error to score a run and cut the Yomiuri deficit to one run to clinch the top spot at home.
With the win, Hanshin, which erased its magic number one, is now 80 wins, four draws and 44 losses for the season, and regardless of the remaining games, is back at the top of the Central League for the first time in 18 years, since 2005.
This year, as well as 18 years ago, the winning manager is veteran Akinobu Okada (65).
Okada first managed Hanshin from 2004-2008 and led the team to the top of the league as soon as he donned the Tiger uniform again this year.
Hanshin will go straight to the final stage of the climactic series to face the winner of the first stage, where the league’s second- and third-place finishers meet, for a spot in the Japan Series.
In Nippon Professional Baseball, which only established its current postseason system in 2007, the team that finishes first in the league 바카라사이트 (called the championship) is still ranked higher than the postseason winner.
Hanshin clinched the league title against Yomiuri, the national team and representative of the Kanto region.
Hanshin won the Central League title for the fifth time in 2005, and a win in the climactic series would give them their sixth.
Hanshin is also the most popular club in terms of attendance, leading all 12 teams in Japan’s two major leagues with a season total of 2,671,114 fans and an average of 48,892 per game.
Hanshin’s return to the top of the table is expected to send Osaka, the capital of the Kansai region and Japan’s second largest city, into a frenzy.
Eighteen years ago, a crowd celebrating Hanshin’s victory in Osaka’s Namba neighborhood caused an accident by jumping en masse into the Dotonbori River, which runs through the city.
Fearing that Hanshin’s victory could cause accidents at Dotonbori, which has been overcrowded once again, Japanese police sent a notice to foreign diplomatic missions, including the Korean Consulate General in Osaka, asking tourists to refrain from visiting Dotonbori on Dec. 12-17. 슬롯