Fighters’ Ponce tosses season’s 5th no-hitter

The Hochi Shimbun
The Fighters’ Cody Ponce celebrates his no-hitter against the Hawks on Saturday in Sapporo.

SAPPORO — Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters right-hander Cody Ponce tossed the record fifth no-hitter in Japan pro baseball this season, blanking the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 2-0 on Saturday at Sapporo Dome.

Ponce (3-4) threw 113 pitches in striking out six and allowing just two baserunners, hitting a batter in the first inning and walking another in the ninth. The latter was wiped out by a double play that ended the game before the crowd of 23,136.

Ponce, 28, who joined the Fighters this year from the Pittsburgh Pirates, became the 87th pitcher to keep his opponent hitless in Japan pro baseball history. There have been 98 no-hitters overall.

The five no-hitters this season, including a perfect game by the Chiba Lotte Marines’ Roki Sasaki on April 10, is the most-ever since the adoption of the two-league system.

Fumikazu Kimura had an RBI single in the first inning and Chusei Mannami led off the second with a home run to stake Ponce to an early 2-0 lead.