The Orix Buffaloes suffered a shocking 0-8 loss to the Hanshin Tigers in Game 1 of the 2023 Japan Series on April 28, as top pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who won the Sawamura Award for the third consecutive year, gave up five runs on 10 hits and one walk while striking out seven in 5⅔ innings.
However, they rebounded with an 8-0, identical score in game two on the 29th to even the series at 1-1.
At the center of the Oryx’s comeback in Game 2 was fourth-year left-hander Hiroya Miyagi (22).
Starting the game, Miyagi threw 104 pitches through the sixth inning, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out five.
His fastball topped out at 148 mph and sits at 85 mph, with a sharp slider and forkball at his disposal.
As much as he pitched brilliantly, he also drew attention for his caring behavior.
On the 30th, Japanese baseball publication Full Count highlighted Miyagi’s caring behavior on the big stage and the courtesy he learned in Korea by picking up an opposing batter’s bat and handing it to the ball boy after getting the last out of the inning. 카지노사이트
This was a common gesture during the season, but Miyagi’s behavior remained the same in the big game of the Japan Series.
“Miyagi was 18 when he learned this kind of sportsmanship,” says Full Count.
Miyagi, who was selected for Japan’s high school national team, competed in the 2019 U-18 Baseball World Cup in South Korea and vividly remembers the first pitch he threw against South Korea in the second game of the Super Round.
“I threw a good pitch, but it hit the batter in the head.
I immediately took off my hat and apologized, and the other player bowed.
“The moment I hit the ball, the atmosphere in the ballpark changed, and I remember feeling relieved when the other player smiled and the crowd gave me a warm round of applause,” he recalls.
The day that stands out in Miyagi’s memory is September 6, 2019, the U-18 Baseball World Cup Super Round game between Korea and Japan in Gijang-gun, Busan.
Miyagi, who was pitching for Japan, hit a Korean batter in the head in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The ball slipped out of his hand and hit the batter’s helmet.
The batter walked to first base, seemingly unaffected, and Miyagi took off his hat to apologize.
The batter then took off his helmet and bent down to accept the apology.
The batter was Lee Ju-hyung (22), an outfielder who is now the future of the Kiwoom Heroes.
At the time, tensions were high due to the deterioration of relations between Japan and South Korea, but the mature sportsmanship of Miyagi and Lee Ju-hyung, two Korean youth players, resonated deeply.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) also shared the video on social media with the word “Respect” in the caption.
Miyagi recalls, “The ball went completely out of my hand. As I walked to first base, I apologized several times, and when the other player made eye contact, he said, ‘It’s okay.’
I was surprised that he took off his helmet (to accept my apology) even though he was in the middle of a game.”
“The courtesy I learned at the international level is something I carry with me into every game,” he told Full Count.
Miyagi, a diminutive 5-foot-11 left-handed three-quarter with a knack for double-kicking and adjusting his delivery to take away timing, joined the Oryx as the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft. In his first full season in 2021, he went 13-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 23 games (147 innings) and was named Pacific League Rookie of the Year.
Last year, he went 11-8 with a 3.16 ERA in 24 games (148⅓ innings), earning a spot on the Japanese National Team for the World Baseball Classic (WBC).
He pitched one game in relief against the Czech Republic in the first round (five innings of one-run ball), but was part of Japan’s WBC championship team.
Riding the momentum, he had his best season this year, going 10-4 with a 2.27 ERA in 22 games (146⅔ innings).
After being hit by Miyagi’s ball, Lee was drafted by the LG Twins in the second round, 13th overall, in 2020 for his hitting talent.
Although he completed his military service early, he didn’t get a first-team opportunity in LG’s deep roster.
He spent most of his time on the second team, but his potential exploded when he was traded to Kiwoom in late July and given a full-fledged first-team opportunity.
In 51 games with the Kiwoom, he batted .333 (66-for-200) with six home runs, 34 RBIs, and a .911 OPS, raising expectations for his sophomore campaign.
It was unfortunate that a season-ending left thigh muscle injury prevented him from joining the national team for next month’s Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) in Tokyo, Japan.