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Ryuki Watarai, a rookie for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Japan’s baseball organization, broke a 64-year-old home run record in the opening game.

Yokohama won its 2024 opener 4-3 against the Hiroshima Toyokafe at Yokohama Stadium in Japan on Monday. Rookie Watarai’s tiebreaking three-run homer was the highlight.

Yokohama started Katsuki Azuma on the mound. It was his second Opening Day start in two years. In 2022, he started the opening game against Hiroshima and took the loss after giving up four runs in six innings. On this day, he threw 100 pitches in seven innings, giving up eight hits and three earned runs in a quality start.

Azuma gave up a leadoff single to Hiroshima’s top hitter, Ryosuke Kikuchi, in the first inning and a single to Kaito Gozono a batter later to put runners on first and third. 스포츠토토 He got out of the jam with a straight hit to third and a fly ball to left field.

In the bottom of the third, Azuma allowed five consecutive batters to reach base, from Kikuchi at first to Sakakura at fifth. He gave up back-to-back singles to score two runs and a sacrifice fly to score a third.

Yokohama fought back in the bottom of the third.

Leadoff hitter Yamamoto singled up the middle and Ishigami followed with an infield single to put runners on first and second with no outs. After pitcher Azuma retired the No. 9 hitter on a strikeout, Watarai stepped to the plate.

Watarai, who had grounded out to second base in the first inning, hit a 129-kilometer slider from Guri Aren for a tiebreaking three-run home run over the right-field wall. The pitch was high and in the middle of the plate. Watarai’s home run was the first Opening Day home run by a Yokohama rookie in 64 years.

The rookie’s home run tied the game at 3-3, and Yokohama scored the winning run in the eighth inning when pinch-hitter Yamato hit a sacrifice fly to right field. It was Yokohama’s first opening day win in five years.

Watarai said after the game, “I went into the at-bat with the belief that I could do it in my chances. It was good to be able to make the swing I thought I would make.”

Watarai comes from a baseball family.

After going undrafted in his senior year at Yokohama High School, he joined the ENEOS, a social baseball organization, where he played for three years.

“If you go to college, you can be drafted again after four years, but in social baseball, you have a chance to be drafted after playing three years. I wanted to go pro even one year earlier, so I tried social baseball,” he said.

Watarai was the No. 1 pick of three teams, including Yokohama, 사설 토토사이트 in last year’s draft, and was selected first overall by Yokohama.

Watarai was quickly recognized as a top hitter, leading the team in batting average and RBI in exhibition games. In 16 games, he went 4-for-33 with 23 RBIs (53 at-bats) and a .955 OPS. He came up big from the opening day.

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