The second annual PRCL World Series title has been won by the Pyongyang Stellar University Continentals, in a 3-1 series win. The final game in the North Korean capital was a close fought battle that saw the Continentals defeat the Manila University Aztecs 3-2.
In the final nail-biter, the Aztecs looked as if they would earn a series tie for the second time, taking a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning. But the powerful young team from Pyongyang, on home turf at “Dear Leader Park”, managed to battle back, first scoring a run in the 3rd, then two more in the 6th to take the lead.
Japanese third baseman Teruhito Yoshikawa hit what turned out to be the game-winning home run in the 6th, driving in countryman Eizan Nishida. “Yoshi” will be draft-eligible this season, and will attract many Bull League scouts with his .366 average over two seasons in the PRCL, along with his 28 home runs and 1.097 OPS.
Pyongyang was a storybook team this season, having fired their American manager, Michel Sullivan, back in December. He was replaced with the more politically-aligned Venezuelan, Conrado De Frietas, an easy going smallballer who was a relative nobody in the baseball world.
With De Frietas at the helm, and big swingers like Yoshikawa and center fielder Wei-qiang Koo, who led the Japan-Korea Conference in hits and RBIs, the team from North Korea’s only diplomatic university was an unstoppable steamroller for much of the season.
In 2017, the PRCL World Series champions were the JKC’s Tokyo College Veterans, who ended this season tied for last with Yokohama U.