Things learned, observed in Pacific high school spring sports Week 6.1

Every last star seemed to be aligning for a Yokota triumph in last weekend’s DODDS Japan baseball tournament. And things could not possibly have looked any more grim for Nile C. Kinnick entering the three-day event at Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Bandy Field.

The Panthers had routed the Red Devils 16-0 and 11-3 in a doubleheader at Kinnick two days before the tournament. Kinnick brought just 11 players to Bandy, and one got hurt almost immediately, leaving coach Charles Stark with but one replacement.

And worse, Kinnick dropped its first game of the tournament 11-1 to Robert D. Edgren. Compounding things, Yokota transfer pitcher Nate Sax tossed a no-hitter at Zama American, allowing just two walks and striking out eight in a 14-0 victory.

All the while, though, Stark was biding his time. He had an ace up his sleeve, an ace who hit a home run in the 11-3 loss to Yokota and was primed and ready for payback.

Daniel Ross, a junior right-hander, didn’t pitch in Tuesday’s twin bill. Stark was saving him, he said, for the DODDS Japan tournament. “We were waiting for Yokota and Daniel was outstanding,” Stark said after Ross scattered three hits, allowed one walk and struck out eight as the Red Devils beat the Panthers 5-1 on Friday.

“Yokota is a really good team,” Stark said of an outfit, with a stable of arms featuring Leo Austin and Kei DePontbriand in addition to Sax. “They have three really good pitchers. … Somehow, we pulled it together. I don’t know if we can beat them again. It was just our night.”

And their tournament, it turned out, as Kinnick went on to win the next three games. The Red Devils and Panthers each finished 4-1, but Kinnick won out via the head-to-head tie-breaker.
That said, me thinks we can expect the Panthers to respond in kind when the teams meet again on May 18 at Yokota in the regular-season finale.
For the moment, Kinnick softball can take a rightful place atop the Pacific’s heap. The Red Devils outscored opponents 68-21 in rolling to a 5-0 record and taking their second straight DODDS Japan tournament at Yokota’s Headley Field.  It would have been great had Kinnick been able to attend the inter-area games March 15-16, when they could have shared the same stage as Kadena and Kubasaki, Yokota and Zama American and had a chance to seriously gauge their chances in the Far East Division I Tournament next month.
Easter break is over for international schools in Japan and Korea, and now Seoul American, Osan American and Daegu High get back to the business of facing their non-DODDS opponents. Their matches between each other over the last two weekends kind of served as the first five episodes of an unofficial six-match DODDS Korea tournament (Seoul American visits Osan on April 17).
So, just what would an unofficial DODDS Korea tournament have looked?
Boys, March 22, Seoul 2, Daegu 0; March 23, Osan 0, Daegu 0; March 27, Seoul 6, Osan 1; March 29, Osan 2, Daegu 0; March 30, Seoul 6, Daegu 0. Seoul 3-0-0, 9 points, 14 goals for, 1 goal against. Osan 1-1-1, 4 points, 3 goals for, 6 goals against. Daegu 0-2-1, 1 point, 0 goals for, 10 goals against.
Girls, March 22, Daegu 3, Seoul 2; March 23,  Osan 2, Daegu 1; March 27, Osan 1, Seoul 0; March 29, Osan 4, Daegu 0; March 30, Seoul 3, Daegu 1. Osan 3-0-0, 9 points, 7 goals for, 1 goal against. Seoul 1-2-0, 3 points, 5 goals for, 5 goals against. Daegu 1-2-0, 3 points, 4 goals for, 9 goals against.
Call Matthew C. Perry Samurai softball coach Kevin Peterson the “King of the Start-ups.” He’s in his second year of coaching the team, which is in its first year back as a varsity program in eight years – and the Samurai have two victories to boot, including their 18-8 win over Yokota in the DODDS Japan tournament. Peterson in the winter took over the Samurai wrestling team, also in its second year.
Anybody remember March 8-9 when Zama’s baseball team rallied from 10- and nine-run deficits to beat Edgren 14-13 and 14-13? And the 14-0 rout sandwiched between the two? Talk about change. Right-handers Tristan Jefferson of the Eagles and the Trojans’ Keiyl Sasano hooked up in a solid pitchers’ duel, with the Trojans coming out on top 2-1 on Friday.
Strongly recommend to opponents of Kinnick’s softball team: Do NOT test catcher Sierra Lee’s arm. E.J. King found that out the hard way; Lee picked off a runner at third base and threw out two would-be base stealers.
DODDS Japan softball featured one game fewer than DODDS Japan baseball because E.J. King needed to catch a flight home Saturday evening. With conditions deteriorating Saturday (it was rainy, cold and miserable), the Cobras’ game with host Yokota was canceled. It had no effect on the final standings.
Remember this name for future reference: Daniel Galvin. Freshman. Yokota High School. Track and field. Handed reigning DODDS Japan/Kanto Plain distance king Robert Beard, the Kinnick senior, a rare defeat. Galvin clocked the 1,600 in 4:37.47, three seconds ahead of Beard. Galvin is the son of a DODDS educator, who, when asked, said he plans on being a Yokota lifer. And talk about a proud papa; he was all over Facebook Saturday and Sunday touting his son’s feat. Should be the first of many to come.
Galvin has a few seconds to go to catch up to the Pacific’s premier distance runner, Erik Armes, who clocked the 1,600 in 4:31.93, coming within striking distance of the 13-year-old Pacific record set by Kyle Carrick of Christian Academy Japan.
Also laying assault to the Pacific record book is sophomore Jessica Ircink. A soccer player a year ago, she was talked into running track by transfer Jessica Freedman. She does admit to missing soccer, but gets more and more into track at every outing, as her 5:29.87 clocking in the 1,600 demonstrated. She's five seconds shy of the Pacific record set in 2010 by Seoul American's Siarria Ingram.
As good as those three are distance-wise, Kadena is proving equally strong in the sprints, relays and hurdles events. Derrick Taylor is the Panthers’ boys hurdling specialist and is unbeaten against high school competition thus far this season. Janika Caines and Pashence Turner are Kadena’s premier girls sprinter and hurdler. All have qualified for the Far East meet May 20-21 at Yokota, and will undoubtedly give Kubasaki, Kinnick and American School In Japan fits at that event.
Speaking of track, here’s the updated list of Far East qualifiers. Full times and distances and Far East qualifying standards are available at Athletic.net:

100Boys, Rahman Farnell, Kubasaki; Stanley Speed, Yokota; Jarrett Mitchell, Kubasaki. Girls, Janika Caines, Kadena; Val James, Kinnick; Jade Cummings, Zion.
200Boys, Farnell. Girls, Cummings; Caines; James.
400Boys, Keishi Nambara, OCSI; Justin Clemenson, Kubasaki; Quinton Holden, Kinnick. Girls, Josie Daffin, Kubasaki; James; Carydaliz Fontanez, Kinnick.
800 Boys, Ryan Bugler, OCSI; Robert Beard, Kinnick. Girls, Fontanez; Allie Reichenberg, Kubasaki; Sam Arnold, Yokota; Jessica Ircink, Kubasaki; Ana Hernandez, Kadena.
1,600Boys, Daniel Galvin, Yokota; Erik Armes, Kubasaki; Beard. Girls, Ircink; Reichenberg; Hernandez; Fontanez; Abigail Wall, Yokota.
3,200Boys, Armes; Beard; James Kennedy, Yokota; Galvin; Jarrell Hibler, Zama. Girls, Hernandez; Rachel Burchill, Kadena; Fontanez; Wall; Kate Greathouse, Kinnick; Jessica Freedman, Kubasaki; Wren Renquist, Kadena; Cassandra Burger, Kinnick.
100 hurdles (girls) – Danielle Balfour, Kubasaki; Josie Mitchell, Kubasaki; Jayla Bradley, Kinnick; Pashence Turner, Kadena.
110 hurdles (boys) – Derrick Taylor, Kadena; Mitchell Harrison, Zama.
300 hurdles – Boys, Harrison; Taylor. Girls, Turner; June Garrett, Zion; Mitchell.
400 relayBoys, Kubasaki A (Justin Willis, Brandon Floyd, Daniel Mora, Rahman); Kadena A (Simeyon Gillespi, De’Corrio Moore, Diante Lora, Taylor); Yokota A (Donavan Ball, Tyler Parson, Cody Trask, Speed); Kinnick A (Marcus Boatwright, Akisch Davis, Latendre Paylor, Tarrick Mitchell). Girls, Kadena A (Turner, Caines, Jasmine Rhodes, Apryl-Len Cabase); Kinnick A (De’Asia Brown, Shakita Samuels, Aya Stewart, Rhyssa Hizon).
1,600 relay – Boys, Kubasaki A (Bugler, James McKeithan, Paris Scott, Justin Clemenson). Girls, Kinnick A (Brown, James, Fontanez, Hizon);  Kadena A (Caines, Jasmine Rhodes, Briana Easton, Turner).
3,200 relayBoys, Kadena A (Hunter Ficence, Andrew Kilkenny, Carlos Gutierrez, Leslie Williams, Joshua Ward); Zion A (Daril Anthes, Christian Rabenitas, Rejay Maruo, Shion Wakita); Yokota A (Bryan Riley, Kennedy, Galvin, George Wiest); Kinnick A (Beard, Bryer Palmer, Joshua Burger, Marcel Holden).Girls, Kadena A (Burchill, Samantha Taylor, Angelita Main, Sylvia Vause); Zion A (Mauro Coco, Danielle Guerra, Garrett, Alexus Johnson); Kubasaki A (Micaela Amaya, Sarah O’Neill, Miranda Gail Anderson, Sam Fugate); Kinnick A (Angela Holloman, Lisa Williford, Fontanez, Shannon McAllister); Christian Academy Japan A (Runa Suzuki, Naomi Nethercott, Hannah Nanri, Misaki Nakagawa).
High jumpBoys, Ian Pope, Zama. Girls, Keila Welky, Kubasaki; Rhodes; James; Christianna Dale, International School of the Sacred Heart; Danielle Guerra, Zion; Shakita Samuels, Kinnick.
Long jumpBoys, Ian Rosete, Zama; Quinton Holden. Girls, Brown; Hizon; Erika Bongo, Kadena.
Shot putBoys, Clemenson; Daniel Costello, Kinnick. Girls, Brea Garrett, Kadena; Jazmyn Sharper, Kadena.
DiscusBoys, Clemenson; Kane Wilton, Kubasaki; Jesse Hogan, Yokota; Anthony Sherman, Kadena; Josiah Allen, Kubasaki. Girls, Kiah Horton, Kinnick.

We’ll keep this updated throughout the season.
I suppose it is possible that the Pacific’s single-season soccer goal-scoring record of 64 set by M.C. Perry’s Tyelor Apple just one season ago could be on life support here quite soon. And courtesy of his old Samurai teammate Gaku Lange, who leads the region with 30 goals and also has nine assists.

Here’s the Pacific goal-scoring leader board through Monday. Only players with 10 or more:
Boys – Gaku Lange, M.C. Perry, 30; Jacob Son, Gyeonggi Suwon International, 18; David Voelker, Seoul American, 14; Paul Bin, Taejon Christian International, 13; Derek Stevenson, Zama, 11; Steven Ball, E.J. King, 11; Zach Yoder, Kinnick, 10.
Girls – Kaile Johnson, Kinnick, 21 (led Pacific with 35 last season); Courtney Beall, M.C. Perry, 18; Sam Herritt, M.C. Perry, 10.
Angela McNatt must be thanking her stars that the people who invented the “beautiful game” made goals with crossbars on top. Late in Kadena’s match against Itoman on Saturday, the Panthers senior goalkeeper collided with a player and got knocked to the ground as a Raging Billows (yes, that is Itoman’s mascot; cool, huh?) striker launched a shot at the net. It clanged off the crossbar, preserving a 0-0 draw.

New Panthers coach Ed Thompson recalled a similar play during a Daegu High boys match in the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference, where they award a “player of the game” jersey to the player deemed the man of the match. “I don’t know if they make T-shirts in the shape of a crossbar,” Warriors boys coach Larry Knierim said.
On the Korea diamonds, folks better keep a sharp watch on Osan American and its stable of pitchers. The Cougars swept their two DODDS Korea games at Camp Walker. Ryan King got the win in relief of Kenny Mack Stewart as Osan beat Seoul American 12-7 in eight innings in the opener. Then Tyler Harding struck out 13 Warriors as the Cougars beat Daegu 9-4 in the nightcap. Been about seven years since Osan’s gotten out of the blocks that way.

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Ornauer on AFN


Stars and Stripes reporter Dave Ornauer talks about the Pacific sports scene on AFN Radio. (Click on right arrow to play file.)


Sept 28:Dave Ornauer is back with the latest on the Pacific sports scene.

May 22:Yokota has dominated in first year at D-II spring championsihps.

May 8: Dave Ornauer highlights a few athletes who are participating in the Kanto Plains track and field finals Saturday.