On Saturday, 18-year-old Eri Yoshida of Japan became the first woman to pitch professionally in the United States in a decade, making her American debut with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League: Japan's 'Knuckle Princess' makes US debut. It was apparently "Girl Power Night":
The "Knuckle Princess" was unfazed when a former major leaguer opened the game by bunting for a hit. She had a few knucklers that danced almost as much as those of her idol, Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox. She pitched a scoreless first inning in her debut for the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League, before struggling a bit by allowing four runs in her final two frames.Yoshida is the first woman since Ila Borders in 2000 to play professionally in the United States. She'ss also the first woman to play professionally in two countries, having pitched last year in an independent league in Japan.
She gave herself a tough grade of 20 out of 100, but the adoring fans who cheered her name throughout her news conference felt differently.
"I realize how hard it is to throw a good knuckleball," she said through an interpreter.
Girl power, indeed. Yoshida allowed five hits, four runs and one walk in three innings, throwing 47 pitches on the night. More here: Japan's 'Knuckle Princess' Arrives in U.S.