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Things learned, observed in Firecracker Shootout softball tournament through Day 3.0

Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer doffs his Brooklyn Dodgers cap to the end of rainy season and the trappings of July 4th week:

Anybody remember that highlight of former major league pitching icon Randy Johnson smacking a poor, unsuspecting bird with one of his fireballing deliveries?

Okinawa Marine spiker Bozeman named All-Armed Forces

While the Marine Corps men didn’t distinguish themselves in the All-Armed Forces volleyball tournament last week at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., finishing last at 0-6, a Camp Kinser lance corporal did get named to the All-Armed Forces team.

Bradley Bozeman, a lance corporal, joins 11 other servicemembers on the All-Armed Forces team, which will compete in the International Military Sports Council (CISM) world championship July 9-17 at Amsterdam.

Military sports 2012: Too much and too little = too much frustration

Too little of one thing and too much of another appear to be taking their toll on Pacificwide interservice sports tournaments and the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League, and the Korea Traveling League’s inaugural jamboree season structure.

With the USFJ-AFL headed into its home stretch, players now more than ever are facing increasing demands from work and on the home front, given the continuing high operations tempo, both spouses working or deployed, working swing and graveyard shifts. All of which rob teams of needed practice time, especially on offense to ensure plays are properly executed.

Rest in peace, Todd McGovern

He quarterbacked one of the best football teams in Zama American High School history. A team perhaps best known for its hard-hitting, stingy defense and diversity in the backfield, where one might find Lou Lewis running an outside sweep as easily as finding coach Jay Gilbo's "big backfield" plowing the road with Jason Sugg, Lee Spires and Hux Jones. Just call 24 Lead or 23 Lead. And watch the Trojans go.

It was a Zama team that won a rare road victory at Yokota when Lewis intercepted an option pitchout in the backfield and returned it for a touchdown. And it was a Trojans team that played two spine-tingling battles with Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools co-champion American School In Japan.

Kubasaki wrestling Wall of Fame open for business

It took plenty of research and elbow grease on the part of Kubasaki High School’s wrestling coaching staff, but the new Wall of Fame is complete and is open for business in the Dragons’ wrestling room.

Head coach Ron Geist, athletics director Fred Bales and the Dragons wrestling coaching staff helped do months of research recovering the names of every Kubasaki Far East individual gold medalist since 1976, and created name plates and mounts that are screwed into a portable wooden wall.

Kadena’s Youngs to try her hand as softball Cannoneer

Lauren Youngs’ last memory of high school softball will be how she pitched her Kadena Panthers to a 3-2 victory over Kubasaki in the Far East Division I Tournament title game. But her career is far from over; she will enjoy a new beginning next spring, close to her upstate New York roots.

The right-hander has been offered a roster spot with Jefferson County Community College, a two-year State University of New York school in Watertown, near Fort Drum, where Youngs spent her formative years before transferring to Kadena as a sophomore (and if you like skiing, look no further; that’s right in the heart of New York’s snow belt).

Hail Mitchell, Henderson, Pacific Stripes high school Athletes of the Year

Put up against football defenses, an opposing basketball team’s star player or the Pacific’s finest track-and-field sprinters, few stood much of a chance against Jarrett Mitchell. Put up against the Far East’s best cross-country and track distance runners, nobody stood a chance against Amanda Henderson.

Kubasaki’s multitalented sophomore and Seoul American’s relentless senior distance specialist each helped bring home a Far East Division I title banner to their respective school, and came away with Stars and Stripes Pacific high school year 2011-12 Athlete of the Year honors, as selected by Stripes’ staff.

Mendoza returns to Kadena football

For the second time in as many years, Sergio Mendoza has returned as coach of three-time Far East Division I football champion Kadena after stepping down from the position.

Word out of Panthers summer football workout sessions is that he is back working with the team -- and he should have a wealth of experience, if not a lack of physical size, with which to work and perhaps cobble together a four-time champion team.

Mendoza could not be immediately reached for comment. No word, also, about whether his right-hand man, offensive coordinator Steve Schrock, will also return, though he's said several time, he'd made up his mind to step down months ago.

More word when available.

Hail Lorentz, Henderson, Stripes’ Pacific high school spring Athletes of the Quarter

Nathan Lorentz and his American School In Japan baseball team have been called by observers one of the best Mustangs teams ever, perhaps one of the finest Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools teams ever. Amanda Henderson of Seoul American enjoyed perhaps one of the finest seasons a track and field distance runner could ever have.

As a result of their feats, the two seniors share Stars and Stripes Pacific high school spring sports season Athletes of the Quarter.

New DODDS Pacific football plan explained

Put together a full inter-district Pacific high school football schedule, matching each Division I and Division II team against each other at least once, keeping local and DODDS leagues’ integrity intact and all the while try to cut costs – target $25 million – in the DODDS Pacific athletics budget as possible.

That was the challenge facing DODDS Pacific’s Far East athletics coordinator Don Hobbs and the 12 DODDS Pacific/DDESS Guam athletics directors at their meeting in April at Yokota Air Base. What resulted, Hobbs said, is a plan years in the making that he hopes will bear the fruit they’re seeking.

2012-13 Far East athletics calendar released: Spring deck gets liberal shuffle

Especially in the spring, when every event except two gets a new locale, quite a few changes in location to the 2012-13 DODDS Pacific Far East high school athletics events calendar. Here’s what’s being played when and where:

Nov. 5-6, Divisions I and II cross country, site to be determined (NEW).
Nov. 5-8, Divisions I and II tennis, Risner Tennis Complex, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.
Nov. 5-9, Division II girls volleyball, Camps George and Walker, South Korea.
Nov. 5-10, Division I girls volleyball, Guam High School and other sites (NEW).
Nov. 10, Division II football championship, site to be determined in Japan.
Nov. 17, Division I football championship, site to be determined.
Feb. 18-21, Divisions I and II wrestling, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.
Feb. 18-22, D-II boys basketball, Camp Zama, Japan.
Feb. 18-22, D-II girls basketball, Misawa Air Base, Japan.
Feb. 18-23, D-I boys basketball, Camp Foster, Okinawa (NEW).
Feb. 18-23, D-Ii girls basketball, Yokota Air Base, Japan.
May 20-23, D-II boys soccer, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan (NEW).
May 20-23, D-II girls soccer, Misawa Air Base, Japan (NEW).
May 20-23, D-I and II baseball, Camp Zama/Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan (NEW)
May 20-23, D-I and II softball, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan.
May 20-24, D-I boys soccer, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa (NEW).
May 20-24, D-I girls soccer, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan (NEW).
May 21-23, D-I and II track and field, Yokota Air Base, Japan.

Football schedule for 2012 season: Inter-area regular-season play a done deal

Yesterday, it was a dream. Today, it’s for real. Starting Aug. 24, Pacific high school football takes on a new edge, with full-fledged regular-season inter-area travel now a part of the mix. Here’s a look at who plays whom over the course of the season:

Aug. 24-25 – Osan American at Kadena, Seoul American at Daegu High, Yokota at Robert D. Edgren, Nile C. Kinnick at Zama American.
Aug. 31-Sept. 1 – Seoul American at Kadena, Daegu High at Kubasaki, Zama American at Yokota, Robert D. Edgren at Nile C. Kinniick.
Sept. 7-8 – Kubasaki at Seoul American, Osan American at Robert D. Edgren, Daegu High at Zama American, Yokota at American School In Japan, Nile C. Kinnick at Kadena.
Sept. 14-15 – Kadena at Daegu High, Yokota at Kubasaki, Zama American at Osan American, American School In Japan at Nile C. Kinnick.
Sept. 21-22 – Kubasaki at Guam High, Osan American at Daegu High, Yokota at Seoul American, Zama American at Nile C. Kinnick, Robert D. Edgren at American School In Japan.
Sept. 28-29 – Kadena at Kubasaki, Seoul American at Osan American, Yokota at Nile C. Kinnick, Robert D. Edgren at Daegu High, American School In Japan at Zama American.
Oct. 5-6 – Kubasaki at Osan American, Seoul American at Nile C. Kinnick, Zama American at Robert d. Edgren, American School In Japan at Yokota.
Oct. 12-13 – Nile C. Kinnick at Kubasaki, Kadena at Singapore, Daegu High at Osan American, Yokota at Zama American, American School In Japan at Robert D. Edgren.
Oct. 19-20 – Kadena at American School In Japan (tentative), Singapore at Osan American, Daegu High at Seoul American, Nile C. Kinnick at Yokota, Robert D. Edgren at Zama American.
Oct. 26-27 – Kubasaki at Kadena, Osan American at Seoul American, Singapore at Daegu High, Nile C. Kinnick at American School In Japan.
Nov. 2-3 – Kubasaki at Singapore American, Kadena at Yokota, Zama American at American School In Japan.

The Division II title game will be played Nov. 10 and the D-I championship on Nov. 17, each at a site to be determined.

Sports Blog Far East baseball tournament: Mustangs come out on top

Another gorgeous evening at the Fuchu Civic Stadium, where No. 1-seeded American School In Japan hosts No. 2 Kubasaki in the simulated Sports Blog Far East high school baseball tournament title game. Mustangs ace Nathan Lorentz takes the hill against Angelo Bourdony, who replaces Tommy Warren, a late pitching scratch; Warren will start at shortstop. Temperatures in the high 60s as the first pitch is thrown at 6:45 p.m.

Championship
Game 15 – No. 1 American School In Japan 9, No. 2 Kubasaki 1
– Lorentz not only pitched two-hit ball, walked just one and struck out eight in the complete-game victory, he helped himself by hitting a two-run home run in the second inning and a three-run blast in the sixth to seal it. Justin Novak went 2-for-3 with a two-run double and Bessie Noll had a pair of RBI singles. For Kubasaki, Bourdony was tagged for eight hits and four walks in five innings. Reliever Tyler Smith gave up Lorentz’s second home run. Lorentz was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

2013 Far East track meet qualifying standards released

Let’s get right to it; here are the qualifying standards for next year’s Far East High School Track and Field Meet May 22-24 at Yokota High School:

100 – Boys, 11.5 seconds; girls 13.1 (new).
200 – Boys, 23.2; girls, 27.4.
400 – Boys, 52.9 (new); girls 1 minute, 4 seconds.
800 – Boys, 2:05 (new); girls, 2:34.
1,600 (new event) – Boys, 4:45; girls, 5:50.
3,200 (new event) – Boys, 10:35; girls, 13:06.
100 hurdles – 18.6 (new).
110 hurdles – 17.5.
300 hurdles – Boys, 43.1 (new); girls, 52.6 (new).
400 relay – Boys, 46.4; girls, 53.4.
1,600 relay – Boys, 3:40 (new); girls, 4:23.
3,200 relay – Boys, 9:20 (new); girls, 11:45 (new)>
Shot put – Boys, 38 feet, 8 inches (new); girls, 28.
Discus – Boys, 112; girls, 79 (new).
Long jump – Boys, 19; girls, 15 (new).
High jump – Boys, 5-9 (new); girls, 4-7.

News from prep gridiron: Kadena coach Mendoza steps aside

There’ll be two new faces on the sideline when Kadena Panthers football takes the field come Aug. 25 when the 2012 season opens.

Sergio Mendoza, the team’s head coach the last six seasons, has stepped down from his post effective Monday. His offensive coordinator and right-hand man all those seasons, Steve Schrock, is also leaving but had made up his mind quite awhile ago to do so.

Sports Blog Far East baseball tournament: ASIJ, Kubasaki to play for title

After a slight interruption of a couple of weeks in which the real Far East tournament (Seoul American won it) and American School In Japan’s visit to China (the Mustangs went 2-3) took place, we get back to the business of settling the simulated Sports Blog tournament which began … wow … nearly a month ago? Where does the time go?

Anyway, here we go with the semifinals, pitting seeds 1 vs. 4 and seeds 2 vs. 3 at the top seed’s alternate home part, Fuchi Civic Stadium in Tokyo’s western suburbs. It’s a twi-night doubleheader, and the weather could not be better: Sunset obscured somewhat by clouds, harvest moon rising in the east around the start of Game 2 and temperatures in the high 60s:

Asia Division
Game 13 – No. 1 American School In Japan 12, No. 4 Nile C. Kinnick 2 (5, run rule)
– It looked like a close one at the start, as Bessie Noll and Donald Ross matched arms for the first three innings of a surprisingly scoreless game. A Grant Kawahara two-run, two-out bases-loaded single in the top of the fourth inning chased Noll, who suffered an uncharacteristic bout of wildness, walking the bases full. Hayden Jardine came in to relieve and the Mustangs answered with a 10-run bottom of the fourth, all the runs coming with two out, with Nathan Lorentz’s grand slam home run chasing Ross. Lorentz had another perfect day at the plate, 4-for-4 with six RBI.

 
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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.)

 

Nov. 7: Dave Ornauer talks about Far East championship week, stepping off with cross country.

Oct. 24: Dave Ornauer talks about cross country, football and other Pacific sporting events occurring this weekend.

Oct. 17: The Nile C. Kinnick football team can ensure its fans have good seats for the Far East Division I final with a win over Kadena on Saturday.