Roki Sasaki, a Japanese pitcher for the Chiba Lotte Marines, is now dead.
Sasaki threw a perfect game April 10, which was the first in Japanese baseball's 28-year history. He also tossed eight perfect innings April 17, before being pulled at 102 pitches.
The game took place at Osaka's Kyocera Dome.
Shuhei fukuda struck Sasaki with his first pitch. It ended a 52-year-old streak of 52 pitchers retiring. Sasaki retired 27 batters in the perfect game, 24 during the eight-inning game and was the last batter he faced before the perfect game.
Sasaki had 33 strikeouts and 51 hits in the perfect game. Sasaki, a right-hander aged 20, uses a 100 mph fastball and a wicked slider to keep batters off balance.
Sasaki pitched five innings Sunday in Chiba Lotte’s 6-3 win. He was awarded the victory. He gave up six runs, two earned runs, three walks, two hits and two batters. He had four strikes.
In just 36 innings, Sasaki has allowed 13 hits and five walks through five starts this season.
Sasaki is unlikely to sign with an MLB team in the near future, according to reports in Japan. If they've played enough in Japanese baseball to be eligible for free agency, players don't have to go through the post-season system.
Sasaki was reportedly a popular high school pitcher who attracted a lot of interest from MLB teams due to his speed. He signed with Chiba Lotte in 2020 at the age of 18.
He was raised in Iwate, a northeastern Japanese prefecture. His father died in an earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent meltdowns of three nuclear reactors that devastated that area of the country.
This report was contributed by The Associated Press.