The contribution of the Cuban players was vital for the team to retain the title
The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks won 2-0 over the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in the sixth game of the final (Japan Series) of the Japanese Professional Baseball League (NPB) and were crowned champions of the season.
The roster of the Hawks included three players hired to the Cuban Baseball Federation who won the title in the final playoff that ended up 4-1, plus a 2-2 draw in the first game.
Utility Yurisbel Gracial, debutant in NPB, was the only Cuban involved in the final match of the Japan Series when playing in third base and batting third in the line-up and he performed well by hitting 1 for 4, including a solo homer in the 2-0 win of his side, which only batted 3 hits.
Slugger Alfredo Despaigne and lefty setup reliever Livan Moinelo did not play in the last match but both repeat as champions for the second consecutive year.
Despaigne was not used in the two final games due to an injury on his left knee, but he blasted two home runs and drove in six runs in the previous five games of the final.
The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks got their fifth crown since 2011, and the fourth in the last five years. The contribution of the three players hired from the Cuban Baseball Federation was vital for the team to retain the title.