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NPB Roundup: Daichi Ohsera Throws No-Hitter For Hiroshima Toyo Carp

 Conor Liguori  |    Jun 11th, 2024 3:30pm EDT

Daichi Ohsera, shown here pitching for Japan, threw a no-hitter for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Nippon Professional Baseball this week. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

As the Nippon Professional Baseball season progresses, here is a look at the top news and notes from the past week in Japan’s highest level of professional baseball.

Hiroshima’s Ohsera No-Hits Chiba Lotte – On Friday, Hiroshima Toyo Carp right-handed pitcher Daichi Ohsera threw a no-hitter in a 4-0 win against the Chiba Lotte Marines. Ohsera’s masterpiece was the second no-hitter of the 2024 NPB season. Shosei Togo threw the first for the Yomiuri Giants on May 24 against the Hanshin Tigers.

Ohsera threw 129 pitches and allowed five baserunners in the game, all on walks. He is the first Carp pitcher to throw a no-hitter since current Detroit Tiger Kenta Maeda accomplished the feat on April 6, 2012, against the Yokohama DeNA BayStars.

“It feels unreal,” Ohsera told reporters after the game. “I never thought I could achieve something like this.”

Japanese Slugger Rintaro Sasaki to Make MLB Draft League Debut – First baseman Rintaro Sasaki hit 140 home runs in high school in Japan, setting the record. He made significant headlines in the country when he opted out of the 2024 NPB Draft to attend Stanford University this fall.

Before playing his first game for the Stanford Cardinals, Sasaki will suit up for his first MLB Draft League game with the Trenton Thunder on Tuesday. The league was established in 2021, and the first half of the 80-game season operated as an amateur collegiate summer baseball league in preparation for the MLB Draft.

Sasaki attended Hanamaki Higashi High School in Hanamaki, Japan. Coincidentally, global superstar Shohei Ohtani and Toronto Blue Jays lefty Yusei Kikuchi attended the same high school. Stream MLB Draft League games for free on MLBDraftLeague.com to catch the Japanese slugger in action.

Impressive Performance from Rookie – Orix Buffaloes rookie relief pitcher Seiryu Kotajima has not given up an earned run in the first 20 appearances of his NPB career.

The 24-year-old righty threw another scoreless inning on Tuesday for Orix, helping secure a 4-0 win over the Hanshin Tigers. Kotajima, Nobuyoshi Yamada, and Hitomi Honda were lights out for Orix out of the bullpen.

Expecting Kotajima to maintain this pace is not sustainable, but his performance thus far may have already earned him a roster spot in the NPB All-Star Series.

This Day in Japanese Baseball History – On June 11, 2004, Japanese pitcher Hideki Irabu made the final appearance of his NPB career for the Hanshin Tigers. Irabu played six years in MLB with the New York Yankees, Montreal Expos, and Texas Rangers.

Irabu won two World Series championships with the New York Yankees in 1998 and 1999 and played 11 seasons in NPB with the Lotte Orions, Chiba Lotte Marines, and Tigers. In 2003, he helped Hanshin win the Central League pennant for the first time since 1985.

Irabu died by suicide on July 27, 2011, aged 42.

NPB Standings as of Tuesday, June 11

Central League
1. Hiroshima Toyo Carp (28-23-4)
2. Hanshin Tigers (29-26-4)
3. Yomiuri Giants (29-27-4)
4. Chunichi Dragons (25-29-5)
5. Yokohama DeNA BayStars (26-31-1)
6. Tokyo Yakult Swallows (24-30-4)

Pacific League
1. Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (37-17-2)
2. Chiba Lotte Giants (29-23-5)
3. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (30-24-2)
4. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (27-29-1)
5. Orix Buffaloes (26-30-2)
6. Saitama Seibu Lions (18-39-0)

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Conor Liguori