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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — With eight current or former All-Armed Forces players, Air Force Plus One stood out in the Pacificwide Open Softball Tournament.

But in the tournament’s first two days, the team went 2-2 and discovered it takes more than glowing resumes to advance to the playoffs in the 15-team field. Air Force Plus One had not played a game together, and had just two practices entering the tournament.

Those four early games served as a “wakeup call,” said coach Danny Acosta. From that point, Air Force Plus One won its last three round-robin games by a combined 62-11, and got into the double-elimination playoffs as the No. 3 seed out of the women’s Pool B.

“It takes three or four games to get into playing shape when you haven’t played together,” said Acosta, of Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

He’s played in this tournament 11 times and worked for the last nine months to cobble together the members of the squad, most of whom hadn’t played an inning of softball so far this spring in their various locales.

“We’re not like these other guys in the tournament, who’ve been playing together for awhile. I told them this was going to be tough. We got the wakeup call, and we realized that we can’t just show up.”

The notion that Air Force Plus One was in for a battle came in Saturday’s 10-0 loss to Okinawa’s Yard Busters, a game in which Air Force Plus One managed just four hits.

“Getting shut out sucked,” said Kazue “JoJo” Dancer, who played for Osan Air Base in Korea last year and traveled from Izmir Air Base in Turkey for the tournament. “That woke us up.”

From that point, “you could tell we jelled as time went by,” said Kischa Scott-McCloud of Osan.

“The defense was always there,” Acosta said. “The bats are coming around at the right time.”

Kadena women out of playoffsA bit of late-inning strategy backfired on coach Al Lozano, and Okinawa’s Kadena Falcons found themselves out of the Pacificwide tournament playoffs for the first time in six years.

Kadena led host Yongsan 10-5 in the seventh and final inning, but the Falcons needed to win and score 11 runs to get out of a Pool A tie. By winning, Kadena would create a three-way tie with Yongsan and Sang Ji University at 4-2.

The Falcons needed to score an 11th run to prevail in a tiebreaker — total runs scored by the three teams in games against each other — and had no apparent way of scoring one.

So in Yongsan’s half of the inning, Lozano ordered his charges to let batted balls skip by them and fly balls drop for hits. He even ordered two batters walked intentionally to plate the tying runs to force the game into extra innings and give Kadena one more turn at-bat.

But Kim Ji-eun grounded to second baseman Kathy Braun, whose throw to first baseman Misty Deremer was in the dirt, allowing the winning run to score. Unbeaten Kyongbuk (6-0), South Korea’s national team, took the top seed, Yongsan finished pool play at 5-1 and took the second seed into the playoffs, while Sang Ji took the third — and Kadena found itself headed home.

“You have to do what you have to do to win, but we didn’t hit the ball earlier when we needed to,” Lozano said. Kadena led 10-5 after four innings, but went scoreless the next three. “We hit the ball early, but Yongsan played great defense."

Yongsan’s 1st Signal Brigade surprisesFew are the company-level teams that make the Pacificwide tournament playoffs. Usually, a unit team is added to the field when a post- or open-level team drops out prior to the start, and opposing squads tend to view them as automatic wins during pool play.

Not in the case of 1st Signal Brigade of Yongsan Garrison, which surprised a pair of Korea Traveling League post-level teams, edging Kunsan Air Base 16-14 and nipping Wonju/Camp Long 15-14 on Sunday to finish 3-2 and earn men’s Pool D’s No. 3 playoff seed. Signal even won its opening playoff game, stunning Los Guzzleros, an open team, 14-9.

“Most outsiders would see us as an automatic ‘W.’ That’s how they feed on the unit-level teams,” said Signal’s Adolfo Garcia, adding that Signal fared well during a preseason company-level tournament in April and has enough talent that “half of us could play for a post team. They enabled us to come this far.”

Pacificwide Open tournament

Pacificwide Open tournament

At Yongsan Garrison, South Korea

Final round-robin standings

Men’s Pool A

International Guzzlers, South Korea 5-0

Club Red, Okinawa 4-1

Taegu, South Korea 3-2

Camp Red Cloud, South Korea 2-3

Aviation, Yongsan Garrison, South Korea 1-4

Suwon Air Base, South Korea 0-5

Sunday’s games

Guzzlers 17, Camp Red Cloud 1

Taegu 7, Aviation 0

Aviation 7, Suwon Air Base 0

Club Red 7, Suwon Air Base 0

Men’s Pool B

Heat 3N2 5-0

Los Guzzleros 4-1

Yokota Air Base, Japan 3-2

Camp Casey, South Korea 2-3

Geckos Glaciers, Seoul 1-4

8th Military Police Brigade, South Korea 0-5

Saturday’s late games

Heat 3N2 14, Camp Casey 11

Los Guzzleros 23, Military Police 14

Heat 3N2 27, Geckos Glaciers 4

Los Guzzleros 14, Camp Casey 13

Geckos Glaciers 20, Military Police 18

Yokota Air Base 16, Geckos Glaciers 0

Men’s Pool C

Osan Air Base, South Korea 5-0

Camp Humphreys, South Korea 3-2

American Legion, Okinawa 3-2

18th Medical Command, South Korea 2-3

Jeff’s Fitness Sumos, Tokyo 2-3

CSAS, Chinhae Naval Base, South Korea 0-5

Sunday’s games

Osan Air Base 25, Legion 20, 13 inn.

18th Medical 24, CSAS 4

Osan Air Base 12, CSAS 0

Jeff’s Fitness 15, Camp Humphreys 10

Men’s Pool D

Kadena Air Base, Okinawa 5-0

Yongsan Garrison, South Korea 4-1

1st Signal Brigade, South Korea 3-2

Wonju/Camp Long, South Korea 1-3

Kunsan Air Base, South Korea 1-4

2/2 Aviation, South Korea 0-4

Sunday’s games

Yongsan Garrison 22, Kunsan Air Base 12

1st Signal Brigade 12, Wonju/Camp Long 11

Kadena Air Base 17, Yongsan Garrison 11

1st Signal Brigade 16, Kunsan Air Base 14

Kadena Air Base 22, Wonju/Camp Long 8

Double-elimination playoffs

Sunday’s games

Yongsan Garrison 11, Yokota Air Base, 8

1st Signal Brigade 14, Los Guzzleros 9

Camp Humphreys 16, Taegu 1

American Legion 16, Club Red 4

Guzzlers vs. Yongsan, late

Monday's games

Game 6-1st Signal Brigade vs. Osan Air Base

Game 7-Heat 3N2 vs. Camp Humphreys

Game 8-American Legion vs. Kadena

Game 9-Taegu vs. Game 5 loser

Game 10-Club Red vs. Game 6 loser

Game 11-Yokota vs. Game 7 loser

Game 12-Los Guzzleros vs. Game 8 loser

Game 13-Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner

Game 14-Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner

Game 15-Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner

Game 16-Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner

Game 17-Game 14 loser vs. Game 15 winner

Game 18-Game 13 loser vs. Game 16 winner

Game 19-Game 13 winner vs. Game 14 winner

Game 20-Game 17 winner vs. Game 18 winner

Game 21-Game 19 loser vs. Game 20 winner

Game 22-Game 19 winner vs. Game 21 winner

Game 23-Game 19 winner vs. Game 21 winner, if Game 19 winner loses Game 22

Women’s Pool A

Kyongbuk National Team, South Korea 6-0

Yongsan Garrison, South Korea 5-1

Sang Ji University, Seoul 4-2

Kadena Air Base, Okinawa 3-3

Misawa Air Base, Japan 2-4

Kunsan Air Base, South Korea 1-5

Taegu, South Korea 0-6

Sunday’s games

Kyongbuk 24, Kunsan Air Base 12

Kadena Air Base 20, Misawa Air Base 2

Yongsan Garrison 7, Taegu 0

Sang Ji University 7, Taegu 0

Kyongbuk 10, Yongsan Garrison 0

Yongsan Garrison 30, Misawa Air Base, 0

Misawa Air Base 10, Kunsan Air Base 4

Sang Ji University 15, Misawa Air Base 6

Yongsan Garrison 11, Kadena Air Base 10

Women’s Pool B

Busan Red Fox, South Korea 7-0

Yard Busters, Okinawa 6-1

Air Force Plus One 5-2

Camp Humphreys, South Korea 4-3

Osan Air Base, South Korea 3-4

Vixens, Okinawa 2-5

Camp Casey, South Korea 1-6

Pyongtaek, South Korea 0-7

Sunday’s games

Vixens 7, Camp Casey 0

Camp Humphreys 25, Osan Air Base 7

Busan Red Fox 8, Yard Busters 4

Camp Humphreys 19, Vixens 9

Camp Casey 20, Pyongtaek 0

Air Force Plus One 16, Osan Air Base 1, completion of suspended game

Busan Red Fox 19, Vixens 1

Camp Humphreys 21, Camp Casey 16

Busan Red Fox 12, Osan Air Base 11

Camp Humphreys 22, Pyongtaek 8

Yard Busters 15, Vixens 2

Air Force Plus One 24, Camp Casey 9

Double-elimination playoffs

Monday’s games

Game 1-Yard Busters, Okinawa, vs. Sang Ji University, South Korea

Game 2-Yongsan Garrison, South Korea, vs. Air Force Plus One

Game 3-Kyongbuk National Team, South Korea, vs. Game 1 winner

Game 4-Busan Red Fox, South Korea, vs. Game 2 winner

Game 5-Game 2 loser vs. Game 3 loser

Game 6-Game 1 loser vs. Game 4 loser

Game 7-Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner

Game 8-Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner

Game 9-Game 7 loser vs. Game 8 winner

Game 10-Game 7 winner vs. Game 9 winner

Game 11-Game 7 winner vs. Game 9 winner, if Game 7 winner loses Game 10

author picture
Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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