Samsung Lions to Face Hawks in Asian Series Final

The Samsung Lions showed they had the biggest roar with a 6-3 win over the Uni-President Lions.  The Uni-President Lions started their third ex-major leaguer, Seth Etherton, but he was driven from the mound early by the Samsung Lions.  The Samsung starter Young-Soo Bae came into the game with a 5.27 ERA, but he allowed only one unearned run against the Uni-President bats for five innings.

The first two runs scored by Samsung were unearned when an error by the third baseman on a tough hop grounder allowed the third inning to be extended.  Back to back singles by Young-Seop Bae and Han Yi Park scored one run and a deep fly to left by Tae-In Chae scored the second run.

They drove Etherton from the mound in the fourth with a leadoff single by Sok-Min Park.  A diving stop by shortstop Sheng-Chiu Hsu almost saved the inning, but he couldn’t find the ball in time and his underhand flip to second rolled a little too slowly to get Park.  After a bunt advanced the runners, another nice diving stop, this time by firstbaseman Tai-Shan Chang, scored another run, but the fine defensive play prevented a second run from scoring.

Taiwan got a run back in the bottom frame, getting a boost from Samsung shortstop Sang-Su Kim, when his double play pivot sailed over the first baseman’s head, allowing the runner to advance to second.  He scored when Sun-Hsuan Yan blooped a ball just out of reach of the third baseman’s glove, scoring Tai-Chi Kuo.

The stadium really got electric when with a runner on second Chun-Yu Kuo slugged a ball far over the left field wall to tie the score.  The jubilation in the stands was as if he had hit the game winning homer.  The Lions female mascot presented him two miniature stuffed Lions and he threw them into the stands.

The excitement was fleeting as the Samsung slugger Hyoung-Woo Choi would counter with an eighth inning drive off Ryan Glynn deep over the center field wall for a 2-run homerun of his own to make the score 5-3.  The Lions would add another run in the top of the ninth on a wild pitch.  Samsung closer Seung-Hwan Oh, who has not had a save opportunity with a blow out win countered by a blow out loss, retired the Uni_Presidents 1-2-3, striking out two.

In the earlier game that meant nothing but pride, since both team’s fates were sealed, the Softbank Hawks shutout the Perth Heat 4-0.  The Hawks started Sho Iwasaki for the first two innings then Shingo Tatsumi threw the next four to get credit for the win.  Shingo did not pitch for the major league Hawks during the 2011 regular season and came into the game with a career 11.74 ERA based on brief appearances the previous two years.  He did have a 11-5, 3.07 ERA for their farm team.

The Perth Heat manager Brooke Knight must have been seeing the same thing that myworld was seeing, that the left side of the infield was killing the Heat with their poor defensive performance.  He changed it up by putting Mychal Givens at short and moving Mitch Graham to second.  Tim Kennelly played third.  It didn’t help matters as both Givens and Kennelly committed errors.

In the top of the first a boot by Givens allowed a runner on base.  Seiichi Uchikawa drove him in with a booming double.  In the fifth a poor throw by Tim Kennelly that one hopped Aaron Baker kept the inning alive.  Seiichi Uchikawa took advantage again with a 2-run single to make the score 3-0.  The Hawks finally scored an earned run off of hard luck pitcher Trevor Caughey when Kenji Akashi singled, went to second on a hit and run ground out, then scored on a Ryuma Kidokoro single down the first base line.

The Heat offense was all but, getting only three hits off four different Hawk pitchers.

The Samsung Lions will now play play the Softbank Hawks and try to make up for that earlier embarrassing 9-0 loss.  They would like to become the first non-Japanese team to win the Asia Series.  The bold myworld prediction - a Samsung Lion victory.  It will be interesting to see what kind of crowd shows up for the championship game without a Taiwan team participating.

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