Tag Archives: Ernesto Mejia

The kotatsu league: Lions to bring back Mejia, sign 2 new imports

The Seibu Lions announced Friday they have reached an agreement to re-sign first baseman-pinch-hitter Ernesto Mejia on Friday and that they have also come to terms on deals with 29-year-old left-handed starter Sean Nolin and 28-year-old infielder Cory Spangenberg. In his major league career,

Spangenberg has played every position except first base and catcher, making him an obvious understudy to Japan national team utility man Shuta Tonosaki — although given the larger rosters and 12-inning limits, it is highly unlikely he’ll get to relive his two games of pitching experience from 2018.

The two-time defending Pacific League champions have also signed 31-year-old former Chunichi Dragons and Hanshin Tigers infielder Yuto Morikoshi.

Mejia (33), who lost his first base job due to the ascension of 2018 PL MVP Hotaka Yamakawa, will be entering his seventh NPB season, all with the Lions. In 2014, he joined Seibu shortly after the start of the season and tied for the league home run lead, the first time a player had done that in Japan.

His NPB player page is HERE.

NPB games of Sept. 23, 2019

It was not the best of pitches or the best of swings, but Ernesto Mejia was able to launch an inside fastball from Alan Busenitz where the Eagles outfielders weren’t, his two-out, bases-loaded fly landing just out of reach for a game-breaking three-run double on Monday.

On Japan’s national holiday celebrating the autumnal equinox, the Seibu Lions’ pennant push was in danger of achieving a dangerous equilibrium. With three games left to finish, they were tied 2-2 in the eighth inning with a one-game lead over the SoftBank Hawks, who were approaching the end of their game an 8-0 whipping of the Orix Buffaloes.

Mejia’s double, his second game breaker against the Eagles in four days following his walk-off home run on Friday, lifted the Lions to a 5-3 win after two-straight losses in Sendai.

For the Lions, whose starting pitchers entered the game with a 4.65 ERA, Keisuke Honda gave them their fourth strong start in five games, cruising through six innings before surrendering a two-run Jabari Blash homer in the seventh that tied it.

Three two-out walks by Busenitz (4-3) brought Mejia to the plate, and the big Venezuelan made contact. Here’s his hero interview.

Hideto Asamura, who singled and scored on Blash’s 33rd home run, hit his 32nd in the ninth off Tatsushi Masuda, who recorded his career-high 30th game.

Middle relief ace Katsunori Hirai, pitching in his PL-record 80th game, worked a 1-2-3 eighth two days after blowing up Saturday’s game after seven scoreless innings from Starter Tatsuya Imai. Hirai’s 80 games ties him for second all-time with Kyuji Fujikawa, who pitched in 80 games for the Hanshin Tigers in 2005. The NPB record is 90, set by the Tigers’ Tomoyuki Kubota in 2007.

“Last time, I was the one who cost us and let them come from behind,” Hirai said. “It’s inexcusable to make the same mistake twice. They beat me, so I wanted to get return the favor.”

Game highlights are HERE.

Hawks 8, Buffaloes 0

At Kyocera Dome, Keizo Kawashima tripled to open the game, scoried on a Kenta Imamiya single, and Alfredo Despaigne capped the inning with a two-run homer as SoftBank overran Orix.

Andrew Albers (2-6) allowed five runs over two innings to take the loss. Rei Takahashi (12-5) started and went seven innings for the Hawks. Despaigne’s homer was his 35th, while Cuban compatriot Yurisbel Gracial hit his 28th.

Game highlights are HERE.

Marines 6, Fighters 1

At Zozo Marine Stadium, a must-win game for Lotte’s pennant hopes was used as Kazuya Fukuura’s retirement game, and the 42-year-old went out in style. Although he went hitless, he took over first base for the final inning and dove to spear a low line drive for the final out.

It was the last game in Chiba for retiring Fighters infielder Kensuke Tanaka, who was given quite a send off by the opposing fans.

“I’m so grateful to the Lotte fans for singing my cheer song during each of my at-bats,” said Tanaka, who received bouquets of flowers Lotte’s Brandon Laird and Hiromi Oka, both former Fighters teammates.

“Oka was just balling his head off, and that put me on the verge of tears.”

Game highlights are HERE.

Central League

Carp 4, Dragons 3, 10 innings

At Mazda Stadium, Dayan Viciedo tied the game 3-3 with a two-run, ninth-inning home run off Geronimo Franzua, but Hiroshima’s Tsubasa Aizawa sealed a painful loss for Chunichi with a 10th-inning sayonara single.

The Dragons fell 2-1/2 games back of the Carp, who occupy the CL’s final playoff spot in third place. Chunichi still has five games left to play.

Giants 9, Swallows 5

At Jingu Stadium, Yomiuri beat Yakult in a meaningles game in which Shinnosuke Abe hit his 405th career home run, moving him past Norihiro Nakamura into sole possession of the 18th spot on NPB’s all-time career list.


Lions open MetLife Dome for public viewing

The Seibu Lions announced they will open MetLife Dome on Tuesday to fans wishing to watch the Lions’ game against the Marines at Zozo Marine Stadium. There will be no admission to the public viewing.

If the Lions fail to clinch the pennant on Tuesday, another public viewing event will be held on Thursday for Seibu’s regular season finale in Sendai against the Eagles.