Wednesday, 1st April 2009
Japanese schoolgirl makes professional baseball debut
A 17-year-old schoolgirl has become the first female to play professional baseball in Japan alongside men.
More than 11,000 spectators turned out to see pitcher Eri Yoshida's debut with Kobe 9 Cruise, reports the AFP.
She commented: "I want to increase the number of women playing baseball.
"I will make the grade in Kobe first of all."
Team owner Kazuyo Hirota insisted that Yoshida had not been picked just because of her gender.
"We want people to see her play for themselves," he remarked.
During the game against Osaka Gold Villicanes, Yoshida was summoned at the end of the ninth inning, walking her first batter and striking out the second.
A native of Yokohama, she began playing the sport at the age of eight.
Recently, another Japanese teenage sensation, 17-year-old golfer Ryo Ishikawa, became the fifth youngest player to make the cut at the US PGA Tour.
Written by Mike Cotgreave