Pitcher Is First Woman to Play in Japan Pro League

17-year-old faces 2 batters, strikes out 1
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2009 2:21 PM CDT
Eri Yoshida.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Eri Yoshida became the first woman to play professional baseball against men in Japan today, where the pitcher had a strikeout in her debut, the AP reports. The 17-year-old, whose signing was widely viewed as a publicity stunt, faced just two batters, walking the first and allowing a stolen base. “I wasn’t thinking about anything other than just going out there and giving it my all,” she said.

“I think this was a bad result but … the fans were really cheering me on,” the high-schooler added. “I want to be able to pitch more innings and become a pitcher who can be relied upon.” The knuckleballer, whose hero is Boston’s Tim Wakefield, plays for the Kobe squad in the minor Kansai Independent League; the Kobe 9 Cruise beat the Osaka Gold Villicanes 5-0. (Read more Japan stories.)