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"Knuckle Princess" Delivers; Makes History

May 30, 2010 - Golden Baseball League (GBL) News Release

(Chico, CA) Eri Yoshida made baseball history Saturday.

And then about 20 minutes later, she did it again.

Yoshida, heralded the "Knuckle Princess" by the media in her native Japan, made histor the first time on Saturday when she became the first female to play professional baseball in two countries when she threw her first pitch for the Chico Outlaws against the Tijuana Cimarrones in a Golden Baseball League game.

Coming to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the first, Yoshida singled in a run, making her what's believed to be the first female to get a hit in professional baseball.

Throw in an 8-6 Outlaws win in front of a 30 plus international and national media contingent and a packed Nettleton Stadium crowd on a beautiful, sunny 80 degree early evening in Northern California, and there is no doubt the night was everything and more for the 18-year old phenom.

Tijuana shortstop Ivan Ochoa led off the game with a bunt up the third base line that went for a base hit after third baseman Rich Janeway and catcher Mike Rose had to helplessly watch roll up the line and stay fair. The next batter, centerfielder Erold Andrus, popped up to catcher Mike Rose as Yoshida recorded her first out in the United States. Janeway then made a great defensive turn at third after Yoshida induced Jackson Melian to hit a ground ball into a 6-4-3 double play to end the top of the first inning.

In the home half of the first, Blake Gailen led off with a four-pitch walk from Cimarrones starter David Rivas. After a Bobby Hill walk, JJ Sherrill came up and drilled his third homerun of the season over the right field wall, making it 3-0 Outlaws. Mikael Jova then singled and Mike Rose walked before two outs were recorded. Alex Prieto then walked, loaded the bases for Yoshida, the ninth batter of the inning. Facing a 1-1 count, Yoshida hit a ground ball between first and second base into right field, scoring Jova and increasing the lead to 4-0.

The second inning started well as Yoshida recorded the first two outs via the fly out. Carlos Lopez then got hit by a Yoshida knuckleball, bringing up left fielder Juan Velasquez, who smacked a two-run homer to left field to put the Cimarrones on the board with two runs, making it 4-2 Outlaws at that point.

With two outs in the third inning, Erold Andrus singled off Yoshida and then was was awarded second base when home plate umpire Dan Perugini called Yoshida for a balk. Melian then laced a single, scoring Andrus for the Cimarrones first run, making it 4-3. Kit Pellow then delivered an RBI single, driving in Melian and the score was 4-4.

Javier Ortiz, signed by the Outlaws earlier this week and activated for the game, ended Yoshida's historic night when he relieved her after three innings.

Yoshida's final line was three innings pitched, four runs (all earned) on four hits with a walk with no strikeouts and did not factor in the decision.

Ortiz pitched brilliantly, going four innings, surrendering only two hits and not allowing a run, while striking out two.

Carlos Artiles relieved Tijuana starter in the second inning, not allowing a run in his four and a third innings of work.

The game was tied until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Rich Janteway delivered a two RBI single to put the Outlaws up 6-4.

Tijuana tied it up 6-6 in the top of the eighth after a walk to Andrus by Outlaws reliever Josh Dew and an error by Cimarrones third baseman Kit Pellow led to a two RBI double by Carlos Lopez.

That set the stage for Janeway to be clutch one more time in the bottom of the eighth, sending another two RBI single into center field of Cimarrones reliever Elio Serrano (0-1), putting the Outlaws back into the lead at 8-6.

Matt Perisho came in for Chico and pitched a one-two-three top of the ninth to shut the door on the Cimarrones and earn his first save of the year. Josh Dew (2-0) picked up his second win of the year for the Outlaws after pitching the eighth.

The Outlaws improve to 6-1 on the year and 1-1 at the Nett, while Tijuana dropped to 1-6.

Game three of the four game set is tomorrow night, starting at 6:35 pm. Kris Honel starts for Chico against Tijuana's Yoffri Martinez. Honel is making his home debut for the Outlaws after pitching a seven inning no-hitter in Tijuana on May 23rd in his first start of the year.

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