TAIPEI(Taiwan News)- Three Taiwanese women have successfully joined the Japan Women's Professional Baseball League(日本女子プロ野球リーグ) after the tryouts held on Sunday, Feb. 4.
The three players will join two teams in the league. Pitcher-infielder Hsieh Yu-ying (謝鈺瀅) and outfielder Shen Chia-wen (沈嘉文) will play for the Kyoto Flora, while pitcher-outfielder Tseng Chi (曾琪) will join the Aichi Dione.
They will represent their teams in the Japan Women's Baseball League (JWBL). The JWBL is the highest professional level of women's baseball in Japan.
Hsieh hopes they will be able to make it to the starting lineup for their teams in the JWBL. At a press conference, she also encouraged more women baseball players from Taiwan to join them. Tseng hopes that they can all adjust to their new team's life in the JWBL as soon as possible.
JWBL representative Aya Sugiura said the players were recruited not only on the strength of their baseball skills but also because of their desire to help other female players in Taiwan. According to Sugiura, all three of them said that they wanted to play professional baseball in Japan because they strive to become baseball coaches and promote women’s baseball in Taiwan.
Hsieh, Shen, and Tseng are all graduates of the Department of Ball Sports at the University of Taipei. The department head, Lin Chi-chuan (林啟川) said that most female baseball players in college either give up the sport after graduation or chose softball instead, as Taiwan does not offer a professional baseball platform for them.
Taiwanese baseball commentator Tseng Wen-cheng (曾文誠) said that the three Taiwanese women are "trailblazers" who are making way for fellow baseball players in Taiwan to follow their footsteps.
Other notable Taiwanese baseball players who have joined professional leagues include; Chen Chin-feng (陳金鋒) who enter the Major League with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002; and Tseng's younger brother, Tseng Jen-ho, who made his Major League debut last September with the Chicago Cubs.
The three women are scheduled to join their respective teams next month in preparation for the start of the 2018 JWBL in April.