Sendai’s Sato on fire

NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Pref. (Kyodo) Yoshinori Sato threw a record-tying fastball and struck out 17 batters as Sendai Ikuei beat Chiben Wakayama 4-2 in the first round of the National High School Baseball Championship on Thursday.

Sato’s pitch in the eighth inning reached 154 kph, tying the tournament record set six years ago by former Nichinan Gakuen right-hander Hayato Terahara, now with the Yokohama BayStars.

The right-hander yielded a game-tying two-run homer to cleanup hitter Masato Sakaguchi in the sixth among the five hits he allowed in a 154-pitch complete game. Itaru Hashimoto broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth with a two-run triple for the Miyagi Prefecture school.

In other first-round action at Koshien Stadium, Imabari Nishi ace Masato Kumashiro pitched eight innings of one-run ball and helped his own cause by going 3-for-4 with two RBIs as the Ehime Prefecture school routed Kumamoto’s Yatsushiro Higashi 12-1.

Omi center fielder Yuki Yamada had four hits and drove in three runs in the Shiga Prefecture school’s 9-3 victory over Matsusho Gakuen of Nagano.

Chiben Gakuen left fielder Tomoya Sekimoto hit a pair of three-run homers, leading the Nara school to a 12-2 rout of Kagawa’s Jinsei Gakuen.