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If the sight of Yuki Yanagita holding up his bat while taking a few steps toward first base didn’t tell the story, the sound that filled the stadium surely did.

The crack of Yanagita’s bat meeting the ball gave way to the immediate roar of the crowd to form a thunderous symphony of inevitability. No one, not the other Pacific League teams or the best the Central League could muster, was going to deny the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks this year.

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