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.
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.