Centennial Colts newcomer Shoya Hase faced a challenging scenario Saturday few others in college baseball have experienced, even before the Colts got steamrolled 31-4 by the Humber Hawks.
The Japanese pitcher arrived in Canada the night before his scheduled start, his first ever visit to the country, before going up against the two-time OCAA defending champion and first-place Hawks.
“Ideally I would have liked to give him more rest,” said Colts head coach Ben Anderson. “Being short on bodies, he was the guy to go to today.”
Playing on four-hours of sleep and a 30-minute warm-up, Hase only lasted 1.1 innings against the high-powered Humber offence.
Hase brings with him a stellar reputation, having won a championship with the Shinkō Gakuen High School, a notable baseball school in Kobe, Japan.
His performance did not worry Anderson, who expects the newcomer to eat up a lot of innings in the future.
Having a four-pitch mix, communication is a priority for the team to utilize his strengths at the highest level.
“He’s got a good fastball, spots up well in the corners, his changeup has a little dip to it,” said Anderson, to the Observer. “And he has a good mix of slider and curveball, so just kind of changing eye-levels.”
There will be an adjustment period for both Hase and the team, as he tries to build chemistry with his teammates and settle into a new environment.
“There is a big gap between Japanese and English,” said Hase, through his interpreter. “They (teammates) tried to help me using body language, so I could understand a little bit.”
Despite Humber’s offensive showing, Hase was not fazed by the situation and kept it professional on his first day pitching outside of his native country.
“(As of now) I just want to get with other teammates,” said Hase. “And I just want to win for the team.”
Hase had originally planned to come to Canada last year but was unable to, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the Colts were able to get some much-needed rest due to the cancellation of the second game of the doubleheader versus the Hawks, Centennial will be tested with another tough schedule coming up next weekend.
They will travel to Windsor for a doubleheader Friday night against St. Clair College, who are tied for first with Humber, before travelling to Sarnia on a following day for a pair of afternoon games against the Lambton College Lions.