At the 29th World Youth Baseball Championships under the age of 18 (U-18) held in Korea in September 2019, the fastball of right-handed pitcher Roki Sasaki (22, Chiba Lotte), which Japan boasts, was a hot topic.
Sasaki is famous for throwing a fast ball close to 160 km/h since high school. It was through this competition during his third year of Ofuna Togo that he debuted on the international stage. The highlight at the time was the Korea-Japan match. In order to see the super high school level fastball, which had only been passed on through rumors, domestic baseball officials as well as Japanese professional baseball (NPB) and major league scouts gathered at the baseball field in Busan.
However, the main character of this match was not Sasaki. Sasaki went down the mound after pitching only one inning due to the aftermath of the injury. On the other hand, right-handed pitcher So-Jun Sohn (22, KT Wiz), a junior in Shin Shin Yu Yu who came out as Korea’s spearhead, pitched well with 7 hits, 8 strikeouts and 2 runs in 6 2/3 innings, paving the way for Korea to win 5-4. .
The two young guns from Korea and Japan, who had their first confrontation as high school students, will meet again at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) next month. On the 14th, So Joon Sohn, whom we met at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, USA, smiled shyly, saying, “That was already four years ago,” and said, “I haven’t seen Sasaki since that tournament, but I watched his pitching through a video. It will be great to see you again at the WBC.”
Born in 2001, the two of the same age entered the professional stage side by side in 2020, the year after the World Youth Baseball Championship. Joon Sohn took home the Rookie of the Year title as he picked up 13 wins with his 2020 debut. In addition, in 2021, he kept the starting mound and led KT’s integrated victory.
Sasaki debuted in the first team a little later than So-Jun Sohn. His physical condition did not make it, so he stepped on the mound of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the first time only in 2021. Then, on April 10 last year, against the Orix Buffaloes, he played a perfect game, not giving up a single hit and four walks for 9 innings. He set the NPB record for youngest perfect game by striking out a whopping 19 and pitching back with no runs. 바카라
Joon Sohn said he still couldn’t forget Sasaki. Joon Sohn said, “I often look for Sasaki’s videos. I wonder how he throws the ball so fast. He helps as well as the same pitcher, of course. Sasaki is a really great pitcher,” he said.
He is set for a rematch with Sasaki. Joon Sohn, who joined the Arizona national team camp on the 15th, said, “Now I can feel it. Rather than thinking of defeating Sasaki, I will play hard with the mindset of helping to achieve good results at the WBC.”