Roki Sasaki's first pitch to Yuki Yanagita was a forkball. So was the second. The third was a fastball that registered 162 kph (100.6 mph) on the radar gun on a sunny afternoon at Sun Marine Stadium Miyazaki.
That was followed by another at 161 kph. With the count 2-2, Sasaki tried to entice Yanagita into swinging over his fifth pitch, another forkball, to end the inning, but Yanagita wasn't biting at a ball in the dirt. Sasaki got the strikeout he wanted, though, with his next offering, another fastball pumped in at 162.
Sasaki vs. Yanagita was probably the most anticipated matchup of Samurai Japan's game against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on Saturday afternoon, and it was a good one.