The Sapporo College Avengers catapulted to the top of the PRCL power rankings in the penultimate week after going 6-1, and pushing their season record up to 32-18 to lead the Pacific Rim College League.
For most of the season, the Japanese teams have been blocked out of the top of the rankings, as none could even break the .500 mark until after the All-Star Break. But Sapporo has been on a tear since then, with a PRCL best 19-5 post-All-Star record.
A huge factor has been their pitching, which has been phenomenal. A rotation led by knuckleballer Nobushi Kobayashi (9-1, 1.55 ERA) has consistently shut down both Japan Division teams, and Korea Division teams.
UNO, HILLIER NAMED PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Cletus Hillier, a 19-year-old Canadian playing for Brisbane College Rockets, was named the Australasian-Oceanic Conference (AOC) Player of the Week after going 12-for-23 for a .522 average, homering 4 times and driving in 9 runs. His 4 homers nearly doubled his season total, and the first baseman now sits at 9, with 32 RBIs and 23 runs.
Sapporo’s Takehiko Uno, a disciplined 19-year-old third baseman for the surging Avengers, similarly had a successful week. He hit 13-for-31 for a .419 average, also homers four times, and had 14 RBIs.