The secret that Shohei Otani could throw the fastest ball in Japan

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The final stage game of the climax series was held in October 16. The game was playing between 2nd place and 1st place of the Pacific league, the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and the Hokkaido Nipponham Fighters has played in the Sapporo Dome. The Fighters got already 3 wins, so if they won in this day, they could proceed to the game of the Japan series.

The starting pitcher was Tadashi Settsu of the Hawks and Takayuki Kato of the Fighters. Shohei Otani of  the Fighters played of the Designated Hitter in this game. In the top of 1st inning, Yuya Hasegawa of the Hawks got a RBI, the Hawks was the first to score. And Nobuhiro Matsuda made three-run home run from Kato, the Hawks took the lead of 4 point. In the bottom of 2nd inning, Sho Nakata made a home run from Settsu, the Fighters reversed 1 point.

The fighters also took one point in the bottom of 3rd inning, the score was 4 t0 2. Then in the next inning, Hiromi Oka made a RBI double so the Fighters equalized with the Hawks. After that, Takuya Nakashima tried a squeeze, the Fighters took the lead of 1 point. The Fighters also took 2 point, the score was 7 to 4. The game proceeded as same score and went to the top of 9th inning.

Then Hideki Kuriyama of the fighters’s manager did a rare strategy. He changed the position of Shohei Otani, Otani’s position changed from the Designated Hitter to the pitcher. This was the first time for the Japan proffecional baseball. Otani got outretire Matsuda and threw a fastball to the next batter, Yuki Yoshimura. The fastball recorded 102.5 mph(165 km), it was the fastest ball in Japan. The audience was surprised, but Otani threw the fastball of same speed 2 times again. Finally he hold scoreless in 1 innings, the Fighters beat the Hawks 7 to 4. So the Fighters proceed to the game of the Japan series from October 22, they played with the Hiroshima Carp. The MVP of the final stage game was Nakata, His stats was 2 home runs and 5 RBI.

Why could Shohei Otani throw the fastball of 102.5 mph? Beside he was the reliever, there may be the secret in the ballpark. Let’s check it out of the ballpark that Otani threw the fastest ball in the past.(The ballpark is a updating the fastest record)

・100.6 mph(162 km)At the Stadium of Koshien in July 2014
・101.2 mph(163 km)At the Tokyo Dome in June 2016
・101.9 mph(164 km)At the Sapporo Dome in September 2016
・102.5 mph(165 km)At the Sapporo Dome in October 2016

He has been updated twice a record in the Sapporo Dome. There are two reasons for it. First, the radar of the Sapporo Dome is easy to recording the fast speed. The rader is different by the ballpark in Japan. Second, the mound of the Sapporo Dome is firm that like the mound of the Major League Baseball. In Japanese ballpark, Almost mound is soft so the pitcher can not hold on. Thanks to these two elements, Otani might has threw the fastest ball in Japan.

This youtube’s video is the pitching of Otani in this game. The fans hope that he throws a more faster ball.