I believe ever since women and men started competing in the same sports there has always been talk about how women would fare against male opponents. This led to such strange suggestions that women football players such as German international Birgit Prinz should sign a contract with a male football team. While that will be impossible because of the deficits women have when they play against male competition, a young japanese girl is competing against men in an independent league in the south of Japan. I first heard about 17-years old Yoshida Eri (吉田えり)when some American newspapers picked up her story. Apperantly she is throwing a sidearm knuckleball which seems to be a very rare thing nowadays. She idolizes Boston knuckler Tim Wakefield, so a lot of the Boston media had this story.
But today I came across an article in Asahi Shimbun (Japanese), one of the bigger newspapers in Japan, saying that she appeared in a game for her new club Kobe 9 Cruise and struck out her first batter in her professional career. The lead was laready at 5-0 to her team’s favour when she entered the game. The crowd of over 15.000 went “Ah…!” when she struck out her opponent with a 97 km/h fastball, the article says. Yoshida is quoted saying after the game that she was
“happy to recieve so much support from so many fans in such a great stadium. I want to throw more in an inning the next time”.
Here’s a video of her throwing, from 0:31 it’s the pitch in slowmotion. I believe this was when she was introduced at a fanfest of her club.