The Nippon Professional Baseball League draft conference (selection of new players) was held in Tokyo on October 25th. Pitcher Yohei Kagiya (4th year student in the Faculty of Law; born in Hokkaido, attended Hokkaido High School) of the Chuo University Baseball Team was selected in the 3rd round by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, who this year's champion of the Pacific League. Negotiations for joining the team will be held at the end of October, after which Yohei will officially be a pitcher for Nippon Ham.
A press conference center had been set up at C-Square on the Tama Campus of Chuo University. Dressed in a navy-blue blazer of the Chuo University Baseball Team, Yohei sat in the front row with Coach Hideyuki Akita and Toshitaka Matsubara, Assistant Director of the Baseball Team, waiting for his name to be called. The draft conference started at 5pm. After the 1st round and 2nd round had ended, the following message was displayed at 6:17pm on a newspaper homepage which was projected on a special large screen: "3rd-round pick by Nippon Ham: Kagiya." The message was greeted by loud cheers and thunderous applause. Yohei was finally able to smile. Although the 1st round had been broadcasted live on television, the screen had change to the normal news program for the 2nd round and later.
[Nervous until having his name called]
"I was really nervous waiting for my name to be called," said Yohei into a microphone, speaking steadily with a hint of joy in his expression. "I feel relieved now. It's a great honor to be selected by Nippon Ham. I am grateful to my parents for giving me the freedom to pursue my dreams."
Yohei led Chuo's pitching rotation as the ace pitcher during the autumn season of the Tohto University Baseball League. He guided Chuo University to a 2nd-place finish in the league. Yohei pitched in 6 games, posting 2 wins and 2 loses. His ERA of 0.97 was 2nd lowest in the entire league. Yohei stands 180 centimeters and weighs 80 kilograms. His best pitch is a 152-kph fastball which he throws with all the strength of his well-trained physique. Yohei can pitch as both a starter and a relief pitcher. Nippon Ham is a team located in his birthplace of Hokkaido. "I hope that the people of Hokkaido will remember my face and name as soon as possible," he says. "Ever since he was a child, Yohei has dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player," said Coach Akita with great emotion. "His dream has come true. His effort has been rewarded." Coach Akita was eager to shake hands and congratulate Yohei.
The press conference center was packed with Chuo students, ordinary citizens and reporter from 13 media companies. After the press conference, Yohei's teammates tossed him into the air several times to celebrate his achievement.