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[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] World Series Hero Adolis Garcia Had a Forgettable Stint with NPB's Giants

Appearing in just four games for Yomiuri in 2016, Adolis Garcia, a Cuban-born outfielder, resumed his career the next season in North America.

Cuban outfielder Adolis Garcia left his homeland in 2016, pursuing an opportunity to play for NPB's Yomiuri Giants.

Seven years later, Garcia is in the midst of a remarkable home-run hitting tear for the Texas Rangers during the MLB playoffs. Garcia has homered in five consecutive games, and his walk-off solo blast off Miguel Castro in the 11th inning lifted the Rangers to a 6-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the 2023 World Series on October 27.

The two-time American League All-Star became the 16th player in MLB history to hit a walk-off homer in a World Series game. (Check out details of the previous 15 game-ending clouts in the World Series, which was first held in 1903, on the CBS Sports website.)

"I'm very happy and grateful," Garcia told reporters after Game 1 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. "It's just something where God has given me the opportunity to have a little piece of history in the MLB postseason. I think it's great. I'm very excited."

Elaborating on his batting approach in a pressure-packed moment in the World Series, Garcia said, "When I'm in the batter's box I'm just focused and I tune out everything, every other noise, and I'm just focused on the situation."

Adolis Garcia
Former Yomiuri Giants player Adolis Garcia bats in a June 2016 game. (ⒸSANKEI)

Garcia only appeared in four games (zero hits in seven at-bats) for the Giants in 2016. Then, after a demotion, he played in 28 games for Yomiuri's Eastern League farm team. He was then released that August.

Adolis Garcia Founds His Niche in MLB

In 2017, he joined the St Louis Cardinals organization, splitting the season with the Redbirds' Double-A and Triple-A clubs. He reached the majors in 2018.

Traded to the Rangers in December 2019, Garcia became an established star in Texas. He belted 31, 27 and 39 homers in the past three seasons. And he was named MVP of the American League Championship Series after slugging five homers and driving in 15 runs in seven game against the Houston Astros.

"Adolis has shown that he is an excellent all-around athlete," Rangers reliever Aroldis Chapman, who was also born in Cuba, was quoted as saying by The Dallas Morning News. "I hope he continues to enjoy and do many more incredible things."

Nasa Hataoka hits a tee shot in the third round of the Maybank Championship on October 28 in Kuala Lumpur. (KYODO)

Golf 

It's just a shoe!

Hataoka in Contention Entering Final Round at Maybank Championship

LPGA Tour golfer Nasa Hataoka carded an 8-under 64 in the third round of the Maybank Championship in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, October 28.

That bogey-free performance put Hataoka four shots off the lead at 14-under 202 heading into the final round at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club. She had eight birdies in the third round. 

American Rose Zhang was the overnight leader at 18-under 198, including a 7-under 65 on Saturday in the Malaysian capital.

"I finally got my putting right today, and I made a lot of birdies by making the most of my shots," Hataoka told Japanese broadcaster WOWOW in an interview.

Hataoka shot a 69 in the opening round and a 68 in the second round. In her best tournament finish this season, the 24-year-old tied for third at the Evian Championship in July.

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Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura shoots a layup against the Phoenix Suns in the second half at Crypto.com Arena on October 26. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Basketball

Hachimura's Lakers Beat Watanabe's Suns in First Meeting of the 2023-24 Season

In the teams' second game of the 2023-24 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers edged the visiting Phoenix Suns 100-95 on Thursday, October 26.

Lakers forward Rui Hachimura came off the bench and scored seven points in 12-plus minutes. He added a steal and a blocked shot. Anthony Davis paced Los Angeles, which outscored the visitors 28-11 in the fourth quarter, with 30 points.

Phoenix Suns player Yuta Watanabe reacts to a foul called against him during the second half. (Gary A Vasquez/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Suns guard/forward Yuta Watanabe played just under 15 minutes and finished with three points and one rebound. He also entered the game as a backup.

The Lakers improved to 1-1, while the Suns dropped to 1-1.

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Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka
The Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka pose for a photo after beating the Bambitious Nara 74-72 on October 28 in Fukuoka. (B.LEAGUE)

Fukuoka Improves to 8-1 in B.League's Second Division

With seven straight victories, the Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka (8-1) own the best record among the B.League second division's 14 teams.

Fukuoka coach Ramon "Moncho" Lopez's squad recorded a series sweep of the visiting Bambitious Nara on Friday and Saturday, October 27 and 28, winning 74-68 and 74-72.

In the series finale, American big man Bryce Washington had 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Rizing Zephyr. Teammate Hiroki Taniguchi added 13 points, including a buzzer-beating layup to lift Fukuoka to victory. Pablo Aguilar and Takayuki Kodama scored 10 apiece. Shunto Murakami had a game-high six assists.

Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka
Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka swingman Hiroki Taniguchi shoots a layup on the final play of the game against the Bambitious Nara on October 28 in Fukuoka. Taniguchi made the shot. (B.LEAGUE)

"Today was another really difficult game," Lopez told reporters "But we felt that today was the best game we could have played against Nara. We struggled, especially in the one-on-one portion of the game, as they attacked us quite aggressively. 

"Our defense was also not working very well, and in the middle of the first quarter we looked tired a lot."

Nagoya Diamond Dolphins small forward Eita Wakano shoots a 3-pointer against the visiting Utsunomiya Brex on October 28. (B.LEAGUE)

Wakano Makes B.League Debut at Age 16

Nagoya Diamond Dolphins small forward Eita Wakano became the youngest player to appear in a B.League game on Saturday, October 28.

Making his B.League debut at 16 years, 4 months and 5 days old, Wakano played for 49 seconds in the Diamond Dolphins' 90-68 home loss to the Utsunomiya Brex.

The 185-cm Wakano attempted one shot (a 3-pointer) and nailed it. 

He is a member of the Diamond Dolphins' Under-18 team.


Yuta Higuchi
Kashima Antlers midfielder Yuta Higuchi controls the ball against the Yokohama F. Marinos on September 24 in Kashima, Ibaraki Prefecture. (KYODO)

Soccer

Antlers' Higuchi Leads J.League in Assists

It's been said that everybody wants to score goals. Of course, to make it happen, teams need to generate scoring opportunities.

Which is why Yuta Higuchi is such a key player for the Kashima Antlers. The talented midfielder, who turns 27 on Monday, October 30, leads the J.League in assists (12).

Kashima currently sits in seventh place in the J.League with 48 points (13 wins, nine draws, nine losses).

Vissel Kobe, with an offense keyed by pinpoint passing from Yoshinori Muto (10 assists), lead the league with 62 points (18 wins, eight draws, five defeats).

In the 2022 J.League season, Higuchi was tied for second with eight assists, one behind a trio of co-leaders.

Tokito Oda competes in the Asian Para Games men's wheelchair singles final on October 27 in Hangzhou, China. (KYODO)

Asian Para Games

Teenager Oda Captures Wheelchair Tennis Title 

Tokito Oda accomplished his goal of qualifying for the 2024 Paris Paralympics by winning the men's wheelchair tennis singles final in the Asian Para Games. He beat Takashi Sanada 6-3, 7-5 in the event final on Friday, October 27, in Hangzhou, China.

For the second consecutive week, an Oda-Sanada showdown determined the winner at a tournament. On October 20, world No 1 Oda, 17, vanquished Sanada 6-3, 6-3 to win the Japan Open singles crown in Tokyo.

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American Football

Ex-Sumo Wrestler Hanada Appears in First Game for Colorado State

Former Japanese amateur sumo champion Hidetora Hanada, a redshirt junior defensive lineman wearing jersey No 93, played in his first game for Colorado State on Saturday, October 28. He had three assisted tackles against Air Force in the Rams' 30-13 loss in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was CSU's eighth game of the season.

The Wakayama native was the sumo heavyweight division champion at The World Games in 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama.

"I teach [my teammates] sumo techniques and sumo stretches," Hanada told Denver's ABC TV affiliate in August. "On the other hand, they teach me a lot of football skills. I improve my football skills every day."

Hanada attended a Canadian Football League scouting combine in 2022 and garnered attention from the Colorado State coaching staff for his blend of skills and potential.

Hidetora Hanada in an August 2023 file photo. (KYODO)


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven.

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