Late Breakdowns Spoil Japan’s Chances at First Series Win


TUPPER LAKE, NY  – The Japan Islanders and the Tupper Lake Riverpigs faced off for the third time this season. However, the Islanders seemed to be able to put up more of a fight in this series compared to the previous two. 

In game one, both teams were evenly matched throughout the entire game. Both starters, Kenta Tanaka for Japan, and Joseph Brennan for Tupper Lake allowed four earned runs, although there was a fifth unearned run allowed. Tanaka’s final line was 4.1 innings pitched, four earned runs, five hits, four walks and three strikeouts. He was not handed a decision after the outcome of the game. 

Brennan’s final line was similar, going 4.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits, and two walks while striking out six batters. Two of the three relievers to enter the game for him, Zach Goree and Randy Alcantara were strong, combining for three scoreless innings, allowing three hits, one walk and striking out six to close out the game. However, Jesus Rosario’s efforts in relief was the difference in the game. Rosario two runs on five walks and a hit in 0.2 innings. The Islanders would win the game 6-5.

The top hitter for Japan was Takuto Hasegawa. He went 2-4 in the game with a run scored and two RBIs. On the Tupper Lakes side, the scoring production came off the bat of Taisei Shinmen, who went 1-4 with two RBIs and a walk in his first game with the team.

Game two came down to the wire as the Islanders came within two outs of taking their first series win of the season. Behind a strong start by Shinya Yamauchi, the Islanders were able to take a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning. Shinya ended his start with a line of 8.0 innings pitched, six hits, two walks, two runs allowed, while striking out seven. He handed the game over to the closer, Kazunori Takebayashi who has had some control issues that have been seen throughout his outings. Although Takebayashi did not walk a batter in this outing, the constant falling behind in counts gave Riverpigs hitters an better counts to hit in. Takebayashi was only able to record one out while giving up four hits and two runs.

Jared Dingus had a strong start for the Riverpigs, going six innings, giving up one run on four hits, and two walks. He also struck out five batters. Relievers Austin Henson and Randy Alcantara had strong outings in relief, combining to go three innings, allowing three hits and two runs, while striking out four.

The offensive production for the Islanders came off the bat of Yun Chang Gyu. Gyu went 1-3 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. On the other side, Mikey Edie had a day for the Riverpigs, going 3-4 with two RBIs and two stolen bases as well as the walkoff hit in the teams 4-3 win. 

With another chance to win their first series of the season, the Islanders came out firing taking a 3-1 lead into the fifth inning. However the Riverpigs would score 11 unanswered runs in a 13-3 seven inning affair. 

Riverpigs starter Zach Goree was solid, going six innings, allowing three runs on one hit and seven walks while striking out eight batters. Catch Juan De La Cruz came in to pitch the final inning in relief, only allowing one hit.

Japan’s starter Kyung Min (Peter) Han had a shaky start, only going 4.1 innings allowing three runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out five. Rui Akagawa and Ken Watanabe came into the game in relief and the Riverpigs offense jumped all over them. In two innings, they allowed a combined 10 runs on eleven walks.

The top hitter for Japan was Sean Guida, who went 1-2 on the day with a walk and a stolen base. Bramdon Perez was an offensive powerhouse for the Riverpigs, going 3-5 with a home run, one RBI, three runs scored and three stolen bases. 

The Islanders will look to put this series behind them as they head to Saranac to face the Surge and hope they can put together their first series win. The Riverpigs will host the Plattsburgh Thunderbirds in a battle for the top spot in the standings trying to defend their turf and their spot at the top of the league.

Article by Ben Diamond