Eri Yoshida has decided to leave the Kobe 9 Cruise once the season officially ends.
The change in the manager mid-season, along with the financial difficulties the team (and league) is facing and the other minor scuffles that took place towards the latter part of the season are likely reasons for her decision to leave the club.
Since Yoshida still wants to pitch she will likely look for a new independent league team to sign with next season.
The last official regular season game is today (10/1).
=== Updated 10/1/2009 @ 4:08pm JST
Eri Yoshida has updated her blog with her decision to quit the Kobe 9 Cruise. I've taken some of the key points and translated them down below.
Some of you may know based on some reports in the media...
That I've been thinking about leaving Kobe 9 Cruise at the end of the year.
I've come this far, I won't give up on my dreams, I won't give up on baseball.
Instead, my feelings of wanting to become a real knuckleball pitcher just continue to get strong...
I want to get better.
I will find a place that will allow me to grow and will take the challenge of pitching again next year.
I might be leaving the Kobe 9 Cruise at the end of the year...
But this team is really great, and the people that support this team are really warm and caring, I really love this team.
=== Updated 10/1/2009 @ 10:42pm JST
Most people connected to the team were surprised to hear that Yoshida wasn't going to return to the team next season. Even Kazuyo Hirota didn't hear anything until the night before.
I didn't know anything about it until I got a call [from her] on the night of the 30th.
Still, she was apparently happy that Yoshida is looking for better opportunities to help her growth:
This league is made to help support players that are looking to be challenged, so I think it's great she's so determined. ... It might end up hurting us from the business-side of things though.
=== Updated 10/2/2009 @ 8:24am JST
A couple of quick points I forgot to mention in my prior updates:
Yoshida is officially under contract with the team until the end of the month.
College could be another option of Yoshida.
She could jump over to the Baseball Challenge League (they don't have any rules against women on the roster).