Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Weekend

Now that you are getting over your sunburn, have put away the beach toys, and digested all that red meat, let’s look back at some of the highlights for women’s sports over the Memorial Day Weekend.

Baseball hats off to Eri Yoshida, for becoming the first woman to pitch professionally in the United States in over a decade this Memorial Day Weekend. Ah, if you thought I was going to say “first women to pitch in men’s pro ball ever”, than you obviously forgot about Ila Borders.

Borders was the first woman pitcher to start a men's NCAA or NAIA college baseball game, and became one of the first female pitcher in integrated men's professional baseball (female players such as Toni Stone had performed in the Negro Leagues).

Back to Yoshida, she emulates her hero Tim Wakefield and has a sidearm knuckler that got her to the pros. The 5-foot-1, 115-pound Yoshida is also the first woman to play professionally in two countries, having pitched last year in an independent league in Japan. She even got a hit in her debut!

Also this weekend was the Indy 500 car race, and we got to hear the starters say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!” Yes, you probably guessed correctly that Danica Patrick was in the field, but it was a record setting day with four, count them four, women starting the race. And, two drove faster than our beloved Danica in the qualifying laps. And oh, they were rookies, Ana Beatriz and Simona De Silvestro! Sarah Fisher rounded out the quartet, qualifying behind Patrick.

So how did the women do? Danica got 5th place, no make that 6th. She finished fifth, than an hour later got bounced to sixth because she just a little tiny bit illegally passed under a caution flag. Well, so did two other cars, so there! De Silvestro finished 14th, Beatriz 21st and Fisher finished 26th after hitting the wall on lap 125.

On to basketball news: Before the weekend stated, Stanford recruits Chiney Ogwumike and Sara James were invited to the Women’s U18 National Team Trials. We wish them luck and are happy they are getting what amounts to high quality off-season coaching and training. Hee. Hee, we are already a leg or four up on (Cal) our competition.

Rounding out our weekend, well, June 1st, C’s favorite Stanford player of all time, Candice Wiggins, played her first WNBA game of the season after knee surgery. Candice had eight points, two steals and made two threes in the 15 1/2 minutes that she played.

Oh, remember when C and R mentioned that Jayne Appel played in her first WNBA games this weekend? Several fans pointed out that C and R forgot to mention she got 5 rebounds in her second game, an important statistic and contribution she made to her team. C and R have always maintained that while Jayne may not be a great scorer day in and day out in the WNBA, she can contribute in other ways, most notable assists and rebounds. You go Jayne, and thanks to eagle-eyed fans.

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