2003 JAPAN SERIES: Fukuoka Daiei Hawks vs Hanshin Tigers

Champion: Fukuoka Daiei Hawks
4 games to 3
Most Valuable Player:Toshiya Sugiuchi

October 27 at Fukuoka Dome (audience 36,341)
It's the first time in 10 years that the Japan Series has gone into game 7. The Hawks Nobuhiko Matsunaka hit in an RBI in the first inning from the Tigers starter Trey Moore. In the 3rd inning, Tadahito Iguchi blasted a 2 run homer to take the Hawks further ahead. Kenji Jojima singled. In the 5th, the Tigers' Kentaro Sekimoto homered a solo, but the Tigers did not follow to score. Jojima blasted another home run. In the 9th, pinch hitter Katsumi Hirosawa homered, and that was it. The Hawks clinched the game and the Japan seried with a 6 to 2 win. It's the 2nd Japan Series victory.

October 26 at Fukuoka Dome (audience 36,619)
For the Tigers, Hideki Irabu started. And in the first inning, he gave up a 2 run homer to Tadahito Iguchi. In the 3rd inning, Irabu lost a run and was taken off the mound. In the 4th inning, the Tigers Shinjiro Hiyama homered a single. But the Tigers could not score thereafter. Meanwhile, in the 8th the Hawks Pedro Valdez blasted and the Hawks won 5 to 1.

October 24 at Koshien Stadium (audience 47,775 )
The Tigers Tomoaki Kanemoto slammed his 4th homer of the series of Kazumi Saito in the first inning. But in the 4th inning, the Hawks Pedro Valdez with a 2 run clinched the lead. Then in the 6th, the Tigers attacked. And Shinjiro Hiyama hit in 2 runs to retake the lead. Jeff Williams smoothly closed the game. The Tigers won 3 to 2, for its 3rd straight win at Koshien.

October 23 at Koshien Stadium (audience 47,746 )
The Tigers' Kei Igawa started for the 2nd time in this series. For the Hawks it's Brandon Knight formally with the NY Yankees. It was bad luck for the Hawks in the first inning. Norihiro Akahoshi was ruled to have successfully stolen to 2nd. But slow motion video showed that he was out. Thereafter, Knight was in trouble, and lost 3 runs. In the 2nd, Nobuhiko Matsunaka homered. In the 7th, the Hawks caught up. And in the 8th, went ahead by a run. But in the 8th, George Arias hit to tie. The game in the 10th inning was finished with Tomoaki Kanemoto's 2nd home run of the day. The Tigers won 6 to 5.

October 22 at Koshien Stadium (audience 47,700 )
After a one day delay the first game for this series at Koshien kicked off. Starting for the home team, Trey Moore. For the Hawks, Tsuyoshi Wada. The Hawks scored first, but in the 4th inning, the Tigers caught up with Tomoaki Kanemoto's homer. The Hawks in an attempt to take over the lead, sent a pinch hitter on behalf of pitcher Wada who was not doing bad. That may have chanced the mood of the game. In the 10th inning, George Arias was walked, and the bases were eventually loaded. Atsushi Fujimoto swung a sacrifice fly to give the team a "sayonara" win of 2 to 1.

October 19 at Fukuoka Dome (audience 36,794 )
Hideki Irabu started for the Tigers. In the 2nd inning already, he faced trouble. In the 4th inning, he got the bases loaded. The Hawks Yusuke Torigoe cleaned the bases. The following inning, Kenji Jojima homered off Irabu for his 2nd homer this series. The first game hero, Julio Zuleta blasted a 3 run homer in the 7th inning. Pedro Valdes did to the next inning. Toshiya Sugiuchi who started shut out the Tigers' during the 8 innings he pitched. He was relieved by Nagisa Arakaki. The Hawks won 13 to 0.

October 18 at Fukuoka Dome (audience 36,643)
2 days after a surprise leak that Tigers' skipper Senichi Hoshino is resigning after this championship series the Tigers played in Fukuoka. It's starter, of course Kei Igawa. And for the Hawks also a 20 game winner, Kazumi Saito. Igawa was first to give up a run. It was to Akihito Muramatsu. But, Akihiro Yano tripled, and hit in 2 runs. In the bottom of the 4th, the opposing catcher, Kenji Jojima homered to catch up. The game was tense.In the 9th inning, the game was a tie. In the bottom, the Hawks got 2 runner on base, and Julio Zuleta finished the game with a hit. The Hawks clinched the first game 5 to 4.