16-year-old girl drafted by Japanese pro team

From The Associated Press

TOKYO — The knuckleball — the fluttering, hard-to-hit pitch that’s rare in the major leagues — is propelling a 16-year-old girl to the pros in Japan.

Eri Yoshida was inspired to learn how to throw the knuckler after seeing a video of Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield. On Monday, she broke the gender barrier by being drafted for an independent league team as Japan’s first female professional baseball player.

“Hope I can see her pitch one day,” Wakefield said in a message he texted to the Red Sox that was relayed to The Associated Press. “I’m honored that someone wants to become me. I wish her the best of luck. Maybe I can learn something from her.”

Eri Yoshida wore her high school uniform at the news conference, but the next uniform she gets to put on will be that of a pro baseball player.

The high schooler was chosen by the Kobe 9 Cruise in the Japanese League, which starts its inaugural season in April.

The Cruise are a far cry from Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants. Making the squad is more like earning a tentative slot on a farm team than warming up in the bullpen for the Red Sox.

Even so, the 5-foot, 114-pound Yoshida has smashed the glass ceiling with her unorthodox, sidearm pitch in baseball-crazy Japan, where women normally are relegated to amateur, company-sponsored teams or to the sport of softball.

“I’m really happy I stuck with baseball,” Yoshida said in a news conference after she was chosen with 32 other players in the new league’s draft. “I want to pitch against men.”
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Pasadena’s next coach should be ….

Here’s a list of former head coaches who could spice up a starving football program at Pasadena High School. Time for you bloggers to have a field day.

STEVE GARRISON — The former Wildcats football coach is currently a teacher at Monrovia High School. Talk about someone who would bring instant discipline and credibility to the Bulldogs program.

MIKE MOONEY — The former Temple City coach and current San Marino assistant principal/assistant coach would do the same for Pasadena, though it’s unclear if Pasadena would offer anywhere near the same deal Mooney probably has at San Marino High School.

TIP SANDERS — The former Blair coach and current JV assistant knows the area well and has proven with the right help and tools can take a program into the direction it desperately wants to go.

TOM MAHER — The former PCC football coach and current assistant at Fullerton knows the area well and has a lot of ties with Pasadena. This consideration could be entertaining at the very least.

JIM ROME — No, not the radio/TV dude. Rome used to coach at Muir and Citrus College. Having previously coached the Mustangs, Rome probably could draw interest from players who are unsure which school to attend (though it seems Muir is running a monopoly when it comes to football).

Anyone else have suggestions?

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55th Turkey Tussle to be televised Friday and Saturday

The 55th Turkey Tussle was recorded last Friday by the Pasadena Community network Public Access station, channel 56.

The entire football game includes play-by play coverage, color commentary, and instant replay segments, and will be replayed Friday at 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. and again on Saturday at 1:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

For cable customers without cable-boxes, the game can be seen on channel 5, and can also be viewed in real time by going on line to www.PasadenaCommunityNetwork.com and clicking on the channel “56” icon.

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Football: Star-News’ final rankings shape out

Send all your complaints, fits, frustrations and/or compliments to miguel.melendez@sgvn.com or leave a comment.

STAR-NEWS FINAL RANKINGS

1. MUIR (9-1, Prev. No. 1)
Ready for (D)Ranch dressing? The Mustangs beat who they were supposed to beat regardless of how big or small a margin. Muir is the best team in the San Gabriel Valley, err, West San Gabriel Valley, period. Mustangs are hoping Reuben Thomas is 100 percent by Friday’s game against Diamond Ranch. Beating any team twice in one year is never easy. This game is Friday’s game of the week. Roll out the blue carpet for yours truly.

2. ROSEMEAD (8-2, Prev. No. 2)
Panthers dealt with tough cards after the CIF pollsters committed a crime by not seeding them. But as Coach Matt Koffler said, it’s not time to cry about it. Go out and win and prove you truly deserved at LEAST the No. 2 seed.

3. MONROVIA (8-2, Prev. No. 4)
Wildcats headed to promise land? That depends if Monrovia can take advantage of the No. 1 seed. That Rosemead wasn’t the No. 1 seed has nothing to do with Monrovia. Regardless, the Wildcats will take whatever is given to them and use it to their advantage. Could the true No. 1 seed could be decided when Rosemead and Monrovia meet in the semifinals? Hmmm… (So, really, no thoughts from anybody on Maddox as coach of the year? Sheesh!)

4. ST. FRANCIS (6-4, Prev. No. 3)
Golden Knights start clean slate after losing the last two games of the season. St. Francis won the coin flip. Quartz Hill won’t be an easy trip.

5. TEMPLE CITY (5-4-1, Prev. No. 5)
Rams need to pound the ground with Max Ruckle. There’s no time to get cute with the passing game especially if Ruckle is racking up the yardage.

6. SAN MARINO (8-2, Prev. 6)
Fading at wrong time of the year? That depends on who you ask. D.R. Moreland will argue that but losing two of your last three games of the season because of the same reason (bad defense) can be troubling. Moreland said he plans on expanding QB Joe Forgatch’s role with the offense in an effort to have a more balanced attack.

7. SAN GABRIEL (5-5, Prev. unranked)
Peaking at right time of the year? Such could be the case. Coach Keith Jones said the Matadors played a complete game last Friday in a rout over Montebello to close out the Almont League. If there’s a time for a team to peak, now is obviously the best time. Isaac Valdez, Marcos Villalobos and Fabian Amaro played superb vs. the Oilers. San Gabriel will need that kind of effort if it is to make a good run in the Southeast Division.

8. DUARTE (5-5, Prev. No. 8)
Falcons make season successful after a shaky start. Jordan Canada got in his groove but much of that had to do with the fact the Falcons returned two important linemen (Staff and Lopez) after injuries earlier this season. A story on the fellas will run in Thursday’s sports pages of the Star-News and Tribune.

9. MARANATHA (9-1, Prev. No. 7)
Couldn’t win the game that counted. Sounds harsh but it’s true. The feeling here is the Minutemen will face St. Margaret’s in the final and meet Brentwood for the division title. Or not.

10. RIO HONDO PREP (6-3, Prev. No. 10)
Kares handled business in the Prep League and as a result could be looking at a quarterfinals appearance. Esguerra and Alaniz need to continue that dominance in the backfield and transcend it into the playoffs.

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……Winter sports patiently waiting…..




Two of my favorite sports to cover, write and blog about: basketball and soccer (don’t get it twisted, I still enjoy football).

I don’t know how these sports were handled last year, but like a new coach I’m bringing in my own play book. My plan is to cover basketball and soccer during the winter. Soon, I will be putting together the top10 in each sport (boys and girls) so have your say and tell me who are the best teams to keep an eye on.

Whether it’s boys or girls basketball, soccer or wrestling, start listing your top ten’s for each, players to watch for, etc, etc. We start making our calls to work on previews next week.

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