Japanese outstanding pitcher in NPB, Roki Sasaki, gained his fifth win(5-0) to tie the top. Sasaki started the game against the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks as a starting pitcher at Pay Pay Dome on May 20. The righty gave up four hits, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, and a run, with nine strikeouts with 97 pitches over six frames.
Sasaki retired hitters rationally to get rid of two times scoring positions. He said, "I could pitch as forcefully as possible, given me four scores in the early innings. It was hard to command well, so I couldn't pitch in longer innings. I will try to fix it by the next game. "
The 20-year-old annoyed the Hawks' hitters, mixing nasty split-fingered fastballs with 93 mph, breaking balls, and cutters. 45 of 97 pitches were fastballs, and 41 were over 100 mph. In the game, his average velocity was 100 mph as well.
Sasaki graduated from the Ofunato high school in Iwate prefecture. The Chiba Lotte Marines selected him in the first round of the 2019 NPB draft. On May 16, 2021, he made his NPB debut against the Seibu Lions as a starting pitcher. His professional record is now 8-2 in his 19 appearances. Sasaki has left a vivid impression of throwing a perfect game to the world of baseball this season.
(NPB No.57 KAISPO No.1186)
The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks' right-hander, Nao Higashihama, achieved it in NPB. He threw a no-hitter in the game against the Seibu Lions to lead his team to a 2-0 win at Pay Pay dome on May 11.
The 31-year-old pitcher allowed just two walks with 97 pitches and retired just 27 batters with two double plays and six strikeouts, using his fastball around 93 mph, cutter, and sinker. After the game, he said, "I didn't think I could do it. Incredible." The victory brought him his 4th win (4-1) of the season.
Higashihama became the third pitcher to have a no-hitter in the Hawks history and the second player this season since Roki Sasaki of the Chiba Lotte Marines threw a perfect game against the Orix Buffaloes on April 10.
Nao Higashihama from Okinawa was a pitcher leading his high school baseball team to a champion in the National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament in 2008.
(NPB No.56 KAISPO No.1184)