Syndey Blue Sox pitcher David Welch threw the first no-hitter in the history of the new Australian Baseball League, five years ago today.
On Feb. 4, 2011, in Game 1 of a best-of-three playoff series, Welch no-hit the Adelaide Bite for an 8-0 win in front of 1,162 fans at Blacktown Olympic Park. The 27-year-old southpaw walked three batters while striking out 10.
This year’s ABL Championship is set to begin Friday with the Brisbane Bandits hosting the Adelaide Bite in a best-of-three series. The Bite advanced to face first-place Brisbane after topping the Canberra Cavalry with a 9-2 victory in the deciding game of the preliminary round.
Welch’s 2011 playoff performance was actually the third time he had been a part of a no-hitter during his pro career. On Friday, Aug. 5, 2005, Welch threw two innings of a four-pitcher no-hitter for the Helena Brewers during the Pioneer League squad’s 11-0 win over the Billings Mustangs.
Welch followed that with a AA seven-inning no-hitter on June 2, 2008 — his 25th birthday — leading his Huntsville Stars to victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts.
But the Aussie right-hander never was able to take his no-no prowess to the show, and Welch returned to his home country after playing four games of the 2010 season in the Mexican League. He retired from the game in July 2011, five months after his ABL playoff no-no.
You can view our list of Australian no-hitters, and also check out some of our other international no-hitters lists we’ve recently added to the site.
The date was Aug. 30, 1973, and Hanshin Tigers pitcher Yutaka Enatsu dug into the Hanshin Koshien Stadium batter’s box in the 11th inning with hopes of breaking a scoreless tie.
Enatsu was Hanshin’s 25-year-old strikeout ace, and the southpaw had been holding the Chunichi Dragons hitless over 11 innings of work. Unfortunately, his Tigers couldn’t score him a run, and the .150 lifetime batter was on the verge of having to return to the mound for a 12th inning. (Shades of Harvey Haddix there, huh?)
But Enatsu had enough. He knocked a home run over the fence, rounded the bases and touched home plate to complete his 1-0, 11-inning no-hitter.
In the U.S. it’s known as a “walk-off homer,” and no major league pitcher has ever capped his own no-no with such a feat. In Japan, it’s called a “sayonara home run,” and Enatsu’s 1973 blast remains in a class of its own.
Enatsu’s gem was the 59th of 89 single-pitcher Japan Baseball League/Nippon Professional Baseball no-hitters dating back to 1936, and we’re now hosting a list of Japanese no-hitters on NoNoHitters.com. The list also includes the leagues’ four combined no-hitters, including one in Game 5 of the 2007 Japan Series, and two All-Star no-nos.
Two Japanese pitchers appear on our major-league no-nos list. Hideo Nomo tossed no-hitters for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1996 and for the Boston Red Sox in 2001. The Seattle Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma added one in 2015.