After the final out of the Japan Series, as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks celebrated while glittering, golden confetti rained down from the Yafuoku Dome ceiling and jet balloons were set loose from the stands, Yokohama BayStars pitcher Shota Imanaga soaked it all in from the losing dugout.

The scene was at once disappointing and motivating.

"I tried to get a vivid image of the Hawks celebrating," Imanaga said later. "Because I was so disappointed and I hoped we'd be back next year and be the ones in that position."