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"Knuckle Princess" is on, warming up

August 9, 2011 - Robert Collias
For anyone who had questions about whether Eri Yoshida would actually pitch tonight for Na Koa Ikaika Maui at Maehara Stadium — and several of y'all asked me personally — she is.

Yoshida will become the third female to play professionally on Maui tonight, joining first baseman Julie Croteau and pitcher Lee Anne Ketchum of the 1994 Maui Stingrays.

A few minutes ago, I saw Yoshida picking out music with sound man Jay Boyer in full uniform. I asked her how her foot felt — a non-baseball injury has kept her off the mound since being acquired by Maui on July 28 — and she nodded when I gave the thumbs-up sign.

She has since been warming up in the outfield asnd bullpen area since then.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and I expect a fairly large crowd.

UPDATE (6:32 p.m.): Home-plate umpire Stephen Cramer said prior to the game he was told by his umpire assignor in a phone call from the Mainland that Lake County had not gotten on a plane and that Tuesday night’s game was the final home game of the season for Maui. Final home series opponent Lake County has had questions about the rest of its season for a while now, with the Chicago Tribune reporting on Saturday that the team was possibly days away from disbanding.

Na Koa officials have said all week that they did not know if the Fielders would make their trip for the final home series set for Wednesday through Saturday. The pregame ceremony featuring a first pitch thrown by veteran Maui scorekeeper, groundskeeper and Maehara Stadium guru Warren Shimabukuro had the feeling of a final night.

UPDATE II (6:43) A Na Koa groundskeeper just told me that the rest of the week is on and that the Fielders are on their way, so I will try to get to the bottom of all of this as the night goes on.

We will update with anything more we hear.


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