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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:02 pm 
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SPRING TRAINING REVIEW:

April 4, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan The offseason was an interesting one for Neo-Tokyo. Owner Tim Foster has GM Ron Hiscock on a short leash following 6 consecutive losing seasons since joining the PEBA. Three years into his 4 year master plan has seen little progress on the field. Expectations were made clear: play .500 ball or else. There was one other demand made by Foster: Sign aging star Yoritomo Masuda to a long term deal. However, an injury-plagued 2026 campaign and the 37 year old outfielder's contract demands made that a complicated issue. Should the front office acquiesce to Foster's order or risk unemployment? The decision was made to forgo signing Masuda, saving millions that could be used in free agency. With talented OF prospects nearing the horizon there were more pressing areas that needed to be addressed. That savings was used to lure 27 year old SP Luigi Bright into the fold. Bright had 7 consecutive winning seasons with the Arlington Bureaucrats and has been virtually injury free. Coming into the prime of his career made a long term deal a risk worth taking. Bright indeed.

The second major acquisition was 28 year old 3B Guillermo Justavo. Acquired from Duluth for OF prospect Garry Charron, Justavo's All-Leather glove and right handed power filled a major hole in Akira's lineup. He is fresh off winning a PEBA Championship with Duluth where he was a Divisional and Soveriegn League Championship MVP.

The major questions entering Spring Training: would highly touted prospects José Fernández, Alfonso Ramos, Tomás Martínez or Chuck Glass make the roster or continue their development in the minors? A 12-12 record in Cactus League play was good enough for first place in the Rising Sun Division, not mind blowing but an accomplishment for Neo-Tokyo. The decision was made to send all four prospects to AAA Niigata to start the season. There is high expectations that some or all will be promoted at some point this season, depending on their performance in AAA.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:32 pm 
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April 11, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 1: Opening Day at Neo-Tokyo Grounds. 49,700 fans are present as the Akira face Okinawa. There is optimism in the air tempered by the realization that NeTo has never had a wining season in the PEBA. Júlio Díaz faces the Shisa's recent free agent signee Victor Carillo. Both pitch well but Neo-Tokyo ekes out a 2-1 opening day victory thanks to 3 innings of shutout relief work. Luigi Bright's debut in game 2 starts out less than spectacular as he gives up 3 first inning runs before settling down and getting through 6 IP. The Akira could only muster 2 runs though as they suffer their first loss of the season. A 5-2 week gives the team some confidence out of the gate. Luigi Bright is tagged with both losses.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:16 am 
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April 18, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 2: NeTo goes 4-2, winning 2 out of 3 at Aurora and home against Crystal Lake. That's 4 series wins to open the season.

Guillermo Justavo wins Player of the Week honors by batting .400 with 4 HRs, 13 RBI and 5 RS. The starting pitching continues to be solid with the exception of Bright. His only start this week results in another loss, although he pitches better and gets a no decision despite giving up 3 HR. Júlio Díaz and Cleve Douglas are given contract extensions through next year.

The Akira finish the week at 9-4. Next week: 2 playoff teams from last year, including long time nemesis Shin Seiki. This will be an early test of whether Neo-Tokyo can truly be competitive. Shin Seiki's all left handed starting rotation could be a problem for NeTo's lefty heavy line up.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:58 pm 
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April 25, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 3: NeTo faced their divisional rival and perennial playoff contender Shin Seiki in a 4 game series at home. Two tight knit games began the series but the Akira lost both by a score of 2-1. Eva ace Yakamochi 'Zoom Zoom' Suitani dominated game 3, falling one out short of a complete game shutout, with reliever Jim Ratzlaff finishing the job. It was the first 3 game losing streak of the season. Luigi Bright salvaged game 4, hurling 7 shut out innings in a 6-0 victory. Starter Rob Holmes was lost for the season with a shoulder injury in game 1.

Up next were the Bakersfield Bears at home. A pair 6-2 victories helped Neo-Tokyo cap a 3-4 week and keep them above .500 at 12-8 for the season. All in all, manager Shinichi Seki felt his team competed well against top notch teams.

"We're trying to instill a winning attitude with this club. We performed well against some good clubs so their confidence is growing."

Next up are Canton and Fargo on the road.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:37 pm 
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May 2, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 4: Two shutout wins sandwiched another poor outing from Luigi Bright vs Canton. Júlio Díaz is making a case as a dominate number one starter with another 5.1 IP of shut out ball, improving to 3-1. SP Maxime Labrie has been a pleasant surprise, notching his third win of the season against no losses and a 1.82 ERA. That offset Brights 3.2 IP/ 7 RA performance. He has given up 9 HR already this year, falling to 1-3/5.02 ERA on the season. Manager Shinichi Seki came to his defense: "Luigi's going to be here for a long time. He'll make the adjustments he needs to get on track. He's proven he can do that."

NeTo opens their series against the Fargo Dinosaurs with a 6-3 extra inning win. Yasuhiro Nagai blasted a 3 run HR with two out in the 10th to clinch the victory, raising his BA to .330 on the season.

The Akira finish April 15-9 and in first place in the division.

They open May with another victory over the Dinosaurs, with 6 pitchers scattering 9 hits. Two late inning solo Hrs by B.J. Gassaway and Pedro Pérez seal the 3-1 win despite being held to 3 hits. The series concluded with a 4-1 loss on Sunday and they finish the week 4-2, winning both series. They currently stand at 16-10 overall.

The road trip continues with four more against Shin Seiki and then it's back home to host the Canton Longshoremen.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:39 pm 
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May 9, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 5: Neo-Tokyo began a 4 games set at Shin Seiki's Genesis Park holding a one game lead in the division. Shin Seiki pitcher Bryan Bedell did his part in helping his team beat the Neo-Tokyo Akira, 5-0. The left-hander kept opposing batters in check, picking up the win for the Evas in going 6 innings. He gave up no runs on 6 hits. He now sports a record of 3-2. Andrés Hernández, who leads the SL in home runs with 8, aided the Shin Seiki cause with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. Luigi Bright continued his inauspicious start by giving up 3 more homeruns in his six innings of work. He has now given up 12 HR already this season in 34 IP, and fell to 1-4.

NT eked out a win in game 2, a 14 inning affair that had MR Cleve Douglas throw 4 shutout innings for the win and helping reclaim sole possession of first place. Game 3 saw SS put a drubbing on the Akira by a score of 9-1. First baseman Andrés Hernández played a big role, slugging 2 home runs. He drove in 4 runs and scored twice for the Evas in the win.

The Akira returned the favor in game 4. Benefiting from an exceptional performance from Guillermo Justavo, the Neo-Tokyo Akira defeated the Shin Seiki Evas, 9-3. Justavo slugged 3 home runs,which ties the SL regular season game record for home runs. He drove in 6 runs and scored three times for the Akira. Starter Young-keun 'Junior' Im picked up his 3rd win.

"We'll relax tonight and enjoy this win," said Justavo. Neo-Tokyo split the series and retained sole possesion of first place in the Rising Sun division.

The club took 2 of 3 from Canton, with Justavo swatting 2 more HRs and 4 RBIs. He now leads the PEBA in HRs and RBIs. Diaz and Maxime Labrie both pick up their 4th wins. The week concluded with NT still clinging to a 1 game edge over SS in the division.

Next up: 6 home games vs Toyoma and Kalamazoo.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:58 pm 
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May 16, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 6: Division rival Toyoma came to the Neo-Tokyo Grounds in last place, having lost 7 out of their last 9 and in desperate need of wins. In game 1 Ramiro Salinas left his imprint on the 6-3 Toyama win against the Akira. Salinas, who leads the SL in stolen bases with 13, was 3 for 3 with 2 doubles and 2 walks. With Toyama leading 2-0 in the top of the fourth, Salinas hit a cutter from Eric Massey for a 2-run double. It was his 6th double of the season and put the Wind Dancers ahead, 4-0.

"I was able to barrel up some pitches," said Salinas.

Eric Massey was called up to replace Robby Holmes who was lost for the season with a shoulder injury.

Game 2 was an 18 inning endurance contest. 8 runs in the top of the 18th inning sealed the win for the Wind Dancers. Iván Juárez derailed the Neo-Tokyo Akira in the 10-2 victory. The Toyama third baseman had a standout game with 5 hits in 9 at-bats. Nine pitchers were used by the Akira in the contest.

NeTo bounced back in game 3 with a 4-3 11 inning victory. The Akira got a big at-bat from third baseman Guillermo Justavo. In the bottom of the 11th, with a runner on 1st, he stroked a game-winning double, his 10th double of the season. Closer Pat Miller had his first blown save. He started the season by hurling 19+ scoreless innings and picking up 9 saves before giving up 2 runs to Toyoma. Tsuginori Yamamoto picked up his 3rd win and has yet to give up a run in 14+ innings.

The Akira then swept the Badgers over the weekend. Luigi Bright had an impressive win, Pat Miller continued his dominance with 2 more saves and Guillermo Justavo had 2 more HRs, improving his league leading total to 14.

After a rough start NT finished the week 4-2 and 24-15 overall. Shin Seiki had a 5-1 week to finish in a tie with the Akira for first place.

Next up: 7 road games against Okinawa (20-19) and Reno (17-22).

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:38 am 
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May 23, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 7: The week began with Neo-Tokyo Akira knocking off divisional foe Okinawa, 8-4, at Shisa Stadium II. Pedro Pérez, who captured player of the game honors, was a big reason Neo-Tokyo won. The designated hitter went 2-4 with a home run and a walk. He scored 2 times and drove in 2. The Akira, at 25-15, have now won 5 straight.

Héctor Rodríguez, who is rated as the 24th best prospect by BNN, aided the Neo-Tokyo cause with a 3-run home run in the top of the third. For the game, the catcher was 1-4 with a home run. He drove in 3 runs and scored once.

Rodríguez expressed little emotion after the game. "Every game we win now," he said, "is one less win we'll need to get in the end."

Starting pitcher Young-keun 'Junior' Im continued his surprising season by picking up his 4th consecutive win and currently has a 2,59 ERA.

The bullpen faltered in games 2 and 4 with MR P Adrik Glindzich suffering both losses by giving up 3 runs in each outing. A shutout loss in game 3 handed Luigi Bright his 5th loss of the season as NT dropped 3 of 4 to the Shisa.

A 3 game series vs Reno opened with an 8-5 victory. Javier Ferreira, recently promoted to the starting rotation, picked up his first win. SS Brian Coleman went 2 for 5 with a home run and a double. He drove in 4 runs and scored once for the Akira.

A 4-3 win in game 2 followed, with Im posting another outstanding performance, 6.1 shutout innings for his 5th victory of the season. Guillermo Justavo, who leads the SL with a .635 slugging percentage, aided the Neo-Tokyo cause with a 2-run double in the top of the seventh. For the game, the third baseman went 2-5 with 2 doubles. He drove in 2 runs and scored once.

"I like the grit of this ballclub," he said.

Despite 13 hits, a chance to end the week on a winning note failed as Júlio Díaz dropped his third loss of the year. 4 more hits by Brian Coleman raised his average to .293.

A 3-4 week left Neo-Tokyo at 27-19 for the year, 2 games behind Shin Seiki.

Next week: 6 home games against Yuma (24-28) and Reno (20-26)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:44 am 
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May 30, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 8: The first match up of the season between the Akira and Yuma Bulldozers began the week. Neo-Tokyo beat Yuma in game 1 in a rain-soaked ballgame.

Martín González had a hand in Neo-Tokyo defeating Yuma by the score of 7-2. González went 3 for 3 at the plate, scoring 1 times and driving in 3 runs. The up-and-down Luigi Bright improved to 3-5. He held Yuma to 2 earned runs on 3 hits over 5 innings, while racking up 6 strikeouts. Fellow countryman Cain Bright took the loss for the Bulldozers. Tsuginori Yamamoto locked down his 1st save. Brian Coleman added 3 hits, raising his BA to .303 on the year.

Game 2 was a missed opportunity for NeTo. Pat Miller's second blown save of the year resulted in a 5-3 extra inning loss.

Game 3 had lefty Javier Ferreira turn in another fine performance (1 ER in 8 IP ) resulting in his second win in as many starts. Last year had him split time as a starter and reliever (6-12/4.11). Pat Miller rebounded with his 14th save. Clutch hitting by Koshiro Nakashima in the bottom of the fifth gave his team the lead, 2-0, when he came through with his 9th HR of the young season. NeTo takes the 3 game series 2-1.

The Akira got off to a good start in the rematch series vs Reno, jumping out to a 9 run lead by the second inning and coasting to a 9-1 victory. Young-keun Im threw 4 scoreless innings but was removed due to injury and failed to qualify for the win. The injury is not deemed serious. Yasuhiro Nagai continued his torrid month with 3 more hits bringing his BA to .341.

Game 2 featured a match up of aces. Ánge Valdéz silenced Júlio Díaz and Neo-Tokyo, 2-0. The left-handed Valdéz (3-4/3.65) gave up no runs in his start, permitted 8 hits and had 6 strikeouts in the complete game shut out. Díaz fell to 4-4 in the hard luck loss.

Neo-Tokyo seemed to have game 3 under control in the 9th inning with a 6-2 lead and closer Pat Miller on the mound but an adominal strain sidelined Miller and Cleve Douglas failed to hold the lead, contributing to a 6 run comeback victory for the Zephyrs.

"Those type of losses are going to happen over the course of a season.", stated manager Shinichi Seki. "The key is to keep them to a minimum. My job is to get them to focus on tomorrow and forget about today."

The meltdown turned a winning week into a average 3-3 week, leaving NT 30-22 on the season and falling 3 GB of the Evas. The Akira have cooled to 5-7 in their last 12 games.

Up next: 4 at home against World Champs Duluth (27-25) and 3 on the road against division opponent Toyoma (25-27).

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:10 pm 
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June 6, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 9: Duluth visited Tokyo for a 4 game set to begin the week. Game 1 was a back and forth nail biter that went extra innings. Alas, 3 unearned runs allowed by NT cost them the game. Yasuhiro Nagai did all he could to help his team win. In the end, though, it wasn't enough to keep the Neo-Tokyo Akira from losing, 10-9. Nagai was 3 for 6 with a triple and a double. He scored 3 runs and drove in 2. Justavo added his 16th HR and 3 RBI against his former team. It was the man he was traded for that won the game for the Warriors, Garry Charron, who hit his first HR of the year, a 2-run shot in the 10th.

The Akira finish 15-14 for the month of May but lose the last 3.

In Game 2 Javier Ferreira continued his surprising run since joining the starting rotation by scattering 10 hits but no walks in a much needed complete game effort, improving to 3-0. The score was 6-3.

Despite scoring 7 runs early, Game 3 proved to be a landslide as Duluth pounded out 22 hits in the 15-8 drubbing. 6 runs in the 6th proved to be the downfall.

It was the offense that failed in Game 4, managing only 3 hits in falling 5-0. The top 6 hitters in the lineup go 0 for 21. Julián 'Rainmaker' Thomas, the Duluth left-hander, went 7.2 innings, allowing no earned runs on 3 hits. He collected 7 strikeouts and improved to 6-4 on the season. Im lost for the first time this season. NeTo drops 3 of 4 to Duluth.

Neo-Tokyo hit the road to face Toyoma for a 3 game set. The offense again sputters and NT is shut out for the 2nd game in a row. Paul Norris delivered a quality start for Toyama. The 5' 11" right-hander allowed no runs on 5 hits over 8 innings of work.

"Win or lose, we pick each other up in this clubhouse," Norris told the Toyama Observer. Julio Diaz is the hard luck loser, falling to 4-5 despite giving up only 1 ER.

On Saturday, behind a solid performance from third baseman Iván Juárez, the Toyama Wind Dancers defeated the Neo-Tokyo, 5-4. Juárez went 3-4 with a triple and a double for the Wind Dancers. Neo-Tokyo has now lost 4 straight.

In game 3, behind a solid performance from second baseman Skip Jordan, the Toyama Wind Dancers defeated the Akira, 8-4. They score 7 runs in their final 2 ABs to seal the win. Jordan went 2 for 4 with a home run and a double. He scored 2 times and drove in 3 for the Wind Dancers. The losing streak for Neo-Tokyo has now reached 5 games.

The Akira finish a disastrous week at 1-6 and are 31-28 overall, falling to 3rd place 4 GB of SS. They are now closer to last place than first.

The road trip continues with 3 at Duluth (31-28) and back home for 3 with Fargo (29-30)

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Last edited by Akira on Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:32 pm 
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June 13, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 10: The landslide continues. Duluth sweeps the reeling Akira, taking all 3 games at Doyle Buhl Stadium. The losing streak reaches 8 games and include 2 more shutouts against the suddenly impotent offense. The series drops Neo-Tokyo to .500 on the year, wiping out all the progress of the first 8 weeks. The fans and press are quickly turning on the team, wondering what will be done to pull the ball club out of their tailspin.

The Fargo Dinosaurs come to town and NT regains some composure. Luigi Bright wins his 4th of the year and Maxime Labrie improves to 5-0 the next night. They fail to sweep though, dropping game 3 by a score of 5-4.

Another near disastrous week is salvaged, finishing 2-4 and 33-32 overall, in 3rd place 6 GB.

Aurora (43-22) and Yuma (27-38) are next.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:01 pm 
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June 20, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 11: The Aurora Borealis come to Tokyo for three. The Akira are trying to find a way out of their funk but face an uphill battle against the team with the best record in the Sovereign League.

In game 1, Aurora Borealis starter Clark Snow was locked in a rhythm all game. Theron Boswell's 3-run HR in the fourth provided Aurora all the offense they needed, enroute to a 4-2 victory. The Borealis bumped their record to 44-22 with this latest triumph. Boswell called the win the result of "everyone being in sync." Im drops his 3rd in a row as the Akira muster only 3 hits.

The bats awaken in Game 2 as NeTo pounds out 15 hits, with 6 players having multi-hit games. An early 6 run lead is squandered though as Júlio Díaz leaves the game with a strained back and the bullpen crumbles. A 10-9 loss adds to the team's frustration and an ominous air hovers over the clubhouse as their ace's status is uncertain.

Despite the set back Neo-Tokyo bounces back with a 1-0 win in game 3. Luigi Bright outduals 2026 SL Golden Arm winner Micheal Provost for his 5th win and Pat Miller picks up his 16th save.

They head to John Deere Stadium in Yuma to face the team with the second worst record in the SL. They fail to capitalize on the opportunity and drop 2 of 3 to the Bulldozers and fall a game below .500 to finish the week.

A 2-4 week leave them at 35-36 on the season and in 3rd place, 9 GB of Shin Seiki.

Next up: They face Duluth (37-34) for the 3rd time this month for 4 games at home and head to Bakersfield (33-38) for three.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:51 pm 
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June 27, 2027 Neo-Tokyo, Japan Week 12: The Akira have already lost 5 of 6 to Duluth in the month of June and are facing ace Julián 'Rainmaker' Thomas in the first of 4 at the Neo-Tokyo Grounds. Thomas is hurt and is pulled after just 3 IP while Júlio Díaz fights through a back injury to go 5 innings. The Warriors jump out to an early 2 run advantage but NT claws back. The lead changes hands 5 times until the Akira get a big at-bat from pinch hitter Bob Blanchard in the bottom of the eighth. With the bases loaded, he strokes a run-scoring single, His 53rd hit of the season, to give Neo-Tokyo a 7-6 victory.

"It was a solid team effort," said Blanchard after the game.

In game 2 Yasuhiro Nagai was the hero as Neo-Tokyo defeat the Warriors, 5-4. Nagai had a game-changing home run in the bottom of the eighth. On a 2-2 fastball from José Campos, he hammered a 2-run home run to right, giving the Akira a 5-4 lead. It was the 7th home run of the year for Nagai.

"We squandered some opportunities," said Duluth manager Mark Kierstead. The Warriors, at 37-36, have lost 4 straight games.

Duluth awakens in game 3, striking early and often enroute to an 11-0 trouncing. Maxime Labrie takes his first loss of the year.

The final game of the series was a close one. The Warriors head to the bottom of the 9th with a 2 run lead when closer José 'Bullfrog' Hernández has 2 HBP with the bases loaded to send the game into extra frames. Don Mercer wins it in the 11th to bail out his closer and the series is split.

They hit the road to face Bakersfield and Young-Kuen Im (6-4) returns to his winning ways in game one and Pat Miller picks up save #20 in the 3-0 victory.

A 5 run 3rd helps the Akira coast to a 5-1 win in game 2 as Júlio Díaz picks up his 5th win in a gritty 6 inning performance despite his ongoing back tightness. Rule 5 draft pick Katsuhito Hayashi picks up his 4th save.

Neo-Tokyo fail to sweep in game 3 as they drop a close extra inning game 3-2 on Sunday.

The first winning week in 6 weeks (4-3) even their record to 39-39 on the year, 8 GB of Shin Seiki and the blazing hot Okinawa Shisa who are tied for first place in the Rising Sun Division.

Up next: 3 at Crystal Lake (42-36) and vs Palm Springs (36-42).

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