Sports Outside the Beltway

16-year-old girl taken in amateur baseball draft.

Not in the United States, but Japan.

OSAKA (Kyodo) High school student Eri Yoshida was drafted by an independent league team Sunday, opening the way for her to become the first woman to play professional baseball alongside male players in Japan.

The 16-year-old Yoshida, who attends Kawasaki Kita High School in Kanagawa Prefecture, was picked by the Kobe 9 Cruise in the seventh round of the amateur draft held by the teams joining the Kansai Independent League to be inaugurated next April.

With a side-armed knuckleball in her arsenal, Yoshida took part in a tryout held earlier this month and passed with flying colors.The right-hander held male batters hitless for one inning in the final tryout and her successful outing helped her become one of the 33 players picked in the draft.

I always thought if a woman made professional baseball it would be as a Knuckleball pitcher. That was my specialty pitch when playing as a youth. A well thrown can drive batters crazy and doesn’t require a great deal of velocity. The only disadvantage- Scouts and Baseball managers look for a good fastball. Lacking one, a baseball pitcher has a tougher climb to make it to the big leagues

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