Kissimmee, FL- The USSSA Pride signed Japanese infielder Haruna Sakamoto last week. She joins the Akron Racers and Chicago Bandits as the third NPF Franchise to add talent from the Japanese Pro League. Earlier this month, the Akron Racers signed Ayumi Karino and the Chicago Bandits signed Eri Yamada and Kazuki Watanabe.
In February, USSSA Pride General Manager Don DeDonatis got a first hand look at Sakamoto in two exhbition games against the Pride in Palm Springs, CA and came away extremely impressed. In the two games against Team Toyota of the Japanese Pro League, Sakamoto batted clean up and homered in both contests. Shortly thereafter, the decision was made after the two parties met that there was mutual interest in making Haruna part of the USSSA Pride. Sakamoto brings a different international dimension to the Pride and a power bat to go along with another solid infield glove. Sakamoto joins Danielle Lawrie and Jenn Salling (Both from Canada) on the Pride as three athletes with international ties.
Sakamoto has competed with the Japanese National Team since 2008, and also plays in the Japanese Softball League. She joins an already loaded Pride roster for the 2013 season and will be competing for a starting job come spring training. Sakamoto will continue wearing her #6 jersey with the Pride, just as she wore playing for Japanese National Team.
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.
The United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer and more! For more information on USSSA and to register your team visit USSSA.com. Also be sure to visit USSSAToday.com for the latest USSSA News!