Remember Eri Yoshida? In November, the then-16-year-old knuckleball pitcher was drafted by (and later signed with) the Kobe 9 Cruise, one of four teams in Japan's newly formed Kansai Independent League.
Today, at 17, she became Japan's first female professional pitcher. In front of a Opening Day crowd of 11,592 at the Osaka Dome, Yoshida faced two batters in the ninth inning. She walked the first batter on four pitches and gave up a stolen base, but struck out the next hitter swinging.
Kobe 9 Cruise beat the Osaka Gold Villicanes 5-0.
According to wire service reports, no woman had ever played against men in Japan until today.
Yoshida threw out the first pitch at an Orix-Yokohama game two weeks ago: