Original Sports
Published: Nov 19, 2008
Knuckleball Hurler & Japanese Schoolgirl (Photo, Video) Eri Yoshida Drafted
by Mitch Marconi

16-year-old schoolgirl Eri Yoshida has made an unusual pitch to become the first woman to play professional baseball in Japan.

Yoshida, a high school student, was drafted by the professional team Kobe 9 Cruise in a new independent Japanese league that will begin its first season in April.

"I always dreamed of becoming a professional," Yoshida, who is 5-feet tall and weighs 114 pounds, said in a news conference Monday. "I have only just been picked by the team and haven't achieved anything yet."

According to AP reports, Yoshida throws a side-arm knuckleball and would like to emulate Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, who built a successful major league career throwing the knuckleball.

Yoshida was able to participate in a tryout held earlier in the month and the right-hander held male batters hitless for one inning in the tryout. For that effort, she became one of the 33 players picked in the draft.

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