Far East fearless forecasting
Mirroring what the old WGBB 1240-AM radio DJ Dave "Fearless Forecaster" Vieser used to do when I was growing up in Merrick, N.Y., time for me to put on my thinking cap, break out the Ouija board, crystal ball and tea leaves and take a crack at who’s going to win what tournaments this week to cap the Far East high school spring sports season:
-- Track and field, Monday-Tuesday, Yokota: No fewer than 19 Far East meet records and as many as six Pacific records are possible (see previous Pacific Sports Blog posts for specifics on what records may fall). The winning Division I team will come from a pack including what I call the K Klub members, Nile C. Kinnick, Kadena and Kubasaki, which sport the best balance. In Division II, expect a pitched battle between Zama American and Zion Christian Academy.
-- Boys Division I soccer, Monday-Thursday, Kadena: Christian Academy Japan is the champion until somebody knocks them off, but they’ll have their hands full dealing with Korea champion Seoul American, Kinnick and especially host Kadena, which has improved by leaps and bounds this year. Could be a Knights vs. Panthers final.
-- Girls Division I soccer, Monday-Thursday, Yokosuka: This isn’t your older sister’s Kubasaki team, not the one loaded with veterans that won the whole shooting match last year. On paper, American School In Japan has the unbeaten record and the pedigreed players, but they’ll get a battle from host Nile C. Kinnick and Yokota. Three of the final four teams could be from Kanto.
-- Boys Division II soccer, Monday-Thursday, Iwakuni: The tournament returns here after a two-year run in Korea. Host Matthew C. Perry isn’t as strong as it was a season ago (not when you graduate 100 goals), but will be in the mix along with Yongsan International-Seoul and Zama; the latter is in position to capture as many as five team banners this spring, which would bring the school’s haul for the year to 10! By far and away a record.
-- Girls Division II soccer, Monday-Thursday, Misawa: Defending champion M.C. Perry is also shorter on firepower than it was a season ago, which could mean that Osan American could rise back to the top. But watch out for International School of the Sacred Heart, which played very strongly this spring.
-- Division I baseball, Thursday-Saturday, Yokota: American School In Japan remains a prohibitive favorite despite that loss Saturday to St. Mary’s International. Still, Kubasaki stayed within a run of the Mustangs when they played in March and there is the matter of that 4-3 win by Yokota over the Mustangs.
-- Division II baseball, Thursday-Saturday, Atsugi: Another tournament that the host Zama Trojans could win, but they’ll get a battle from pitching-heavy Osan and defending champion Robert D. Edgren.
-- Division I softball, Monday-Wednesday, Atsugi: It’s that K Klub thing again. Co-host Kinnick has the arms and the unbeaten record against Japan opponents, but how well will that translate against reigning champion Kadena and runner-up Kubasaki? Don’t count out 2011 champion Seoul American, either.
-- Division II softball, Monday-Wednesday, Atsugi: Yet another tournament that co-host Zama is in excellent position to win; they can pitch and they can hit. Their strongest opposition will come from a rejuvenated Daegu High squad from Korea and always-tough E.J. King of Japan.
Is Ornauer spot on or is he full of hooey? Think your picks are better? Sound off! Be true to your school, but remember: You’ve entered THE “No-Hate Zone.”