Rumble Under the Dome

“Balentien and Coach Yano have been ejected from the game.” What??? How do a big Dutchman and a little Japanese middle-aged man get tangled up, when it was lanky Shintaro Fujinami who threw one a little too close to Kazuhiro Hatakeyama’s head?

It was the top of the fifth inning, no outs and a man on first base. Up to this point, Fujinami had already given the Swallows 8 free passes, and was well over 100 pitches on the night. (Somehow, the score was just 2-0.) His 2-0 offering was tight and in, grazing off Hatakeyama’s shoulder and hitting him in the face. He stayed on the ground for awhile, and upon getting up, took steps towards the mound, yelling at Fujinami.

The benches cleared and a mild scuffle ensued. Somehow, Coach Akihiro Yano, coming to make sure his pitcher was not attacked, got pushed out of the scrum by Swallows left fielder Wladmir Balentien. Yano got up and charged Balentien, attempting to drop kick him, but instead got hit with a left jab and hit the turf yet again. The scrum continued for some time, and even saw Rafael Dolis and Marcos Mateo running onto the field just as the fire was being extinguished.

In the end, Fujinami was not ejected, as the pitch was not a direct hit to the head, and was not deemed intentional. However, both teams were given a warning that any hint of retaliation would result in an immediate ejection from the game.

From my angle and distance, it was hard to see exactly what was going on, but I did manage to snap a picture (from afar) that captures Yano falling to the ground (far left).

Hanshin lost 3-1, by the way. I will save the actual game summary for another day, though. Better pictures can be found here. And until YouTube takes it down, the video can be seen here.

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.