SOFTBANK Hawks’ Yuki Yanagita (35) hits a game-tying single in front of former teammate Dae-ho Lee (41).
Yanagita went 3-for-6 with a home run, one RBI and two runs scored against the Chiba Lotte on Sunday at the PayPay Dome in Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. His game-winning hit came in the 12th inning of extra innings.
Prior to the game, Lee, who won back-to-back Japan Series titles in 2014 and 2015, visited the club to catch up with former teammates, especially Yanagita, who led the team to the title and remains a close friend. Yanagita was a member of the team when Lee joined SoftBank.
We spoke at length with Yanagita, who was one of the key players in the championship and a close friend of Dae-ho Lee. Yanagita, who was in his fourth year of professional baseball when Lee joined the team, is still one of SoftBank’s top hitters. Last year, he sent a congratulatory video to Dae-ho Lee at the All-Star Game, the start of his retirement tour.
Yanagita was warming up on the field, and as soon as Lee appeared on the field, he ran to greet him. He smiled and asked how he was doing.
Seeing that Yanagita had grown his hair long in the back, unlike when he played in Japan, Lee asked, “Is your hair wavy?” and Yanagita replied, “Korean style,” which made everyone laugh. As Yanagita warmed up, he chatted with Lee for a while, and other players came up to him to say hello.
The presence of Lee Dae-ho, who was a part of SoftBank’s heyday, helped SoftBank to win a hard-fought match against league leader Chiba Lotte. After giving up an early lead to Chiba Lotte, they tied the game at 3-3 in the fourth inning, and after giving up a 3-5 lead in the fifth inning, Daisei Makihara hit a two-run home run to tie the game 먹튀검증.
It was Yanagita who ended the game in the 12th inning. In the bottom of the 12th inning, with runners on first and third, Yanagita delivered the game-winning hit. In his postgame interview, Yanagita said, “I knew (the hit) was coming. I’m glad I was able to finish the game. He’s a fast pitcher with quick motion, so I focused on my timing, thinking that if I hit it forward, it would work,” Yanagita said of the victory. Dae-ho Lee watched the four-hour, 10-minute battle that lasted until the 12th inning from the stands.