TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese schoolboy has put worldwide baseball scouts on alert after throwing a pitch clocked at 160kph (100 mph) in a regional high school tournament.
Shohei Otani, 18, has attracted national media attention since his rocket pitch for Hanamaki East high school on Thursday and dominated the build-up to Wednesday’s final in quake-hit northern Japan.
“It felt good to throw my favorite fastball like that,” Otani told Japanese media, referring to the televised 9-1 Iwate prefecture semi-final win over rivals Ichinoseki.
“That was the speed I promised the coach I would throw so I‘m glad to have clocked that figure.”
Otani, whose throwing arm has not yet fully developed, and Hanamaki East face Morioka Daifu in the Iwate final.
By comparison, the hardest throwers in Major League Baseball pitch as fast as 170kph.
Reporting by Alastair Himmer, editing by Mark Meadows