As you probably know it was Opening Weekend in NPB this weekend and there were a number of events that I thought of highlighting this week. Carlos Peguero of the Eagles beat the Orix Buffaloes with a tremendous two run home run in the center field upper deck at Osaka Dome on Friday and then did it again today. Dennis Sarfate of the Hawks notched his 178th NPB save today which put him past Marc Kroon for most ever by a foreigner in Japan. Shinnosuke Abe of the Giants hit two runs in the first two games, including a three run sayonara blast yesterday, helping Yomiuri sweep the three game series from the Dragons. But I decided to highlight this unlikely moment from today's Swallows-Baystars game:
Atsushi Ugumori of the Swallows hit a pinch hit grand slam in the bottom of the tenth to beat DeNA 8-4. It was only the second walk off grand slam in Swallows history - the only other one was by Masaaki Iwashita on April 6, 1982 (regular season only - Toru Sugiura had one in Game One of the 1992 Nippon Series). Ugumori's been in the league since 2006 (he was an eighth round pick of the Fighters in the fall 2004 draft) and signed with Yakult before last season after being released by the Fighters. He had only hit 10 home runs in just of 400 plate appearances in his entire NPB career prior to today. Even more unlikely - the Swallows had loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth as well with one out and Tetsuto Yamada and Wladimir Balentien due up and failed to score.
As you might expect from someone with only 400 plate appearances in 11-ish years, there aren't a whole lot of cards of Ugumori around. He's only had one appearance in a BBM flagship set - his rookie card from the 2005 1st Version set. Most of his cards are from BBM's team sets for the Fighters or the Swallows starting in 2016. But I did come across this one of him from the Fighter's team issued "Victory" set from 2011:
This card highlights the Fighter's 5-2 victory over Softbank on August 14th, 2011. Ugumori hit his second career home run in that game to account for the Fighter's fifth and final run.
I got the link to the video of the home run from a post by user BalvinoGalvez at NPB Reddit.