It's been 22 years since the Hiroshima Carp have played this deep into a season. A long enough period that most of the team is experiencing postseason baseball for the very first time.

While a new generation of red-helmeted stars has led the long-suffering franchise within a few wins of a long-awaited return to the Japan Series, they'll have to find a way past the always-powerful defending champion Yomiuri Giants in order to complete the revival.

The Carp got ready to take the first step on Tuesday, practicing for about two hours inside Tokyo Dome, safely tucked away from the wind and the rain, in preparation for their maiden voyage into the Central League Climax Series Final Stage, which begins Wednesday.