American manager takes team to Japan Series

10/12/2006 - MLB

SAPPORO, Japan -- An American manager has his team in the Japan Series for the second straight year.

Trey Hillman, who managed the New York Yankees' Triple-A affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, during the 2000 and 2001 seasons, is in his fourth year with the Nippon Ham Fighters.

Bobby Valentine, the former New York Mets and Texas Rangers manager, led the Chiba Lotte Marines to the Japan Series championship last year.

Nippon defeated the Softbank Hawks 1-0 on Thursday to reach the Japan Series. The Pacific League champion Fighters won their first pennant since 1981 and will face the Chunichi Dragons in the Oct. 21-29 Japan Series.

The Hawks were playing without manager Sadaharu Oh. The 66-year-old Japanese home run king had surgery July 17 after he was diagnosed with stomach cancer.