Japanese pitcher who lost his loved ones in 2011 disaster makes debut at WBC

A Japanese pitcher made his World Baseball Classic debut on Saturday. It was also the 12th anniversary an earthquake and tsunami that took the lives of many people in his hometown, including his father and grandparents.

Sasaki Roki was only 9 years old when the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami hit the Tohoku region.

Sasaki is from Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture. The city was devastated by the tsunami that the earthquake set off.

He always said that he has been able to dedicate himself to baseball thanks to the support of many people.
He has also said that he can only give back to those people by playing baseball and delivering courage and hope.

It was with these thoughts that he took the mound in the game against the Czech Republic at Tokyo Dome.

He looked tense at the beginning of the game, with his first pitch turning out to be a ball. But after that, he threw consecutive fast balls clocking above 160 kilometers per hour, combined with breaking balls clocking over 140 kilometers per hour.

Manager Kuriyama Hideki said Sasaki seemed to be sending his thoughts to people, rather than pitching a ball.

He left the mound during the fourth inning, after 66 pitches and leading to Japan's win.

People at the stadium, as well as those gathered for public viewing in his hometown, gave him a warm round of applause as he left the mound.

During an interview after the game, Sasaki said he was thankful for being able to take the mound on this important day.

When Sasaki was about to leave the stadium, he told the media that he had been preparing to pitch well during the World Baseball Classic, and that he would be happy if people feel something from his pitching.