Kento Itohara playing for the Hanshin Tigers
|Hanshin Tigers – No. 33|
|Born:November 11, 1992|
|April 1, 2017, for the Hanshin Tigers|
|NPB statistics |
|Career highlights and awards|
Born and raised in Unnan City, Kento started playing ball in 2nd grade. In his 1st year in Shimane Kaisei High, he recorded hits in 9 consecutive at bats in the Chuugoku regional tournaments. His school made it to the Koshien national tournaments in his 2nd and 3rd year. In their 1st round match against Sendai Ikuei High, despite hitting what would've been a winning 2-base hit in the 9th inning when they were just a point behind, the opposing defense caught Kento's hit and ended the game. He hit a total of 29 home runs in high school.
He entered Meiji University and was a regular starter in the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League. He was awarded Best Nine as a 3rd baseman in his 3rd year. He helped his team finish as runners-up in the Meiji Jingu Baseball Tournament in his 3rd and 4th year. In 71 league games, he recorded a batting average of 0.229, 33 RBIs and 1 home run. He was one year ahead of soon-to-be Hanshin teammates Shun Takayama and Seishirō Sakamoto.
When he went undrafted after graduation, he joined the Industrial Leagues under JX-ENEOS for two years. He debuted with a walk off hit, and finished his first season with .330 BA, and got to participate in the intercity tournaments. While his team didn't make it the following year, he joined Toshiba's team as a loaned player, and still got to play in the tournament, but didn't make it all the way to the championships.
In 2017, he joined the main roster during spring training, and competed with Hiroki Uemoto for the 2nd base post during the pre-season games. He debuted on as a pinch hitter in the 6th inning during the April 1 game against the Carps in Mazda Stadium. He continued as a shortstop from then on, but Hanshin lost the game 9–8 due to a fielding error he committed in the 10th inning. On the next day, he recorded his 1st hit on his 3rd at-bat from Carp pitcher Ryan Brasier.
He made it to the starting line up as shortstop/7th batter on April 14, and from then on, alternated between being a pinch hitter and starter. His starts gradually increased in May, and in May 19, he became the first rookie in Central League history to reach base in ten consecutive trips to the plate. On July 9, he went 5 for 4 against the Giants, and batted in 3 runs, including his first pro career homerun off Shun Yamaguchi in the 5th inning. His last RBI on that game was a two-base center field hit that won the game in the 9th inning.
Kento is a 175 cm infielder who has experience fielding as 2nd baseman, shortstop and third baseman. His right arm boasts a 110-meter throwing distance, while his 50-meter dash was clocked at 6.1 seconds.
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