Ohtani’s 3 runs exploded… Japan, 8-1 win over Hanshin in the evaluation match
The Japanese baseball team, led by coach Hideki Kuriyama, won an 8-1 victory over the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Hanshin Tigers in the first round of the 2023 WBC official evaluation match held at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan on the afternoon of the 6th.
Japan: Lars Nutba (center fielder), Kensuke Kondo (right fielder), Shohei Otani (designated hitter), Munetaka Murakami (3 baseman), Masataka Yoshida (left fielder), Kazuma Okamoto (1st baseman), Tetsuto Yamada (2nd baseman) – Genda Sosuke (shortstop) – Nakamura Yuhei (catcher) formed the starting lineup. Unlike the unofficial evaluation match, overseas players were allowed to participate, so the best members were all out.
In the early stages of the game, Yamamoto Yoshinobu’s good pitching, who took the mound as a starting pitcher, shone. He won the pitcher’s triple crown for two consecutive years (most wins, strikeouts, and average ERA), and also won the Pacific League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. He is a pitcher who is highly likely to play a part in the Japanese starting lineup in this tournament as well.
Yamamoto pitched 3 innings in the game that day, giving up 4 hits (1 home run), 4 strikeouts and 1 run. He boasted a powerful pitch to the extent that his fastball velocity was recorded in the mid to late 150km range. The mid-to-late 140km break was also a difficult ball for hitters to capture.
The batting line also responded to Yamamoto’s good pitch. In the top of the 3rd inning, Lars Nuthba, 2nd out and 3rd baseman, gave Hanshin starter Saiki Hiroto an RBI and a timely hit, giving the national team a lead. Here, he did not stop and created a scoring opportunity with Kensuke Kondo’s walk.
Shohei Ohtani, who entered the at-bat with 2 out, 1st and 2nd base, kicked up a low ball with a ball count of 1-2 and fired a large 3-pointer over the middle fence. As soon as the center fielder gave up chasing the ball early, he could intuit that it was a home run. Even when he hit while kneeling on his left knee, he got a great distance. 오락실 토토
This was not the end of Ohtani’s ‘Showtime’. In the top of the 5th inning, with 2 outs, 1st and 2nd base ball count 3-2, Hanshin left-handed pitcher Tomiya Ren’s 7th fastball was attacked and once again crossed the middle fence. The gap between the two teams widened to 7 points thanks to Ohtani’s 3 consecutive hits, which did not miss a mismatch. Fans who filled Kyocera Dome cheered at Ohtani’s two home runs.
Another big leaguer, Yoshida Masataka, also added one more point by hitting a timely double with two outs and one RBI from second base. Japan, which ran 8-1, was confident of victory early on. In addition, third baseman Murakami maintained his concentration on defense, handling a difficult ball at the end of the 7th inning.