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Different season. Same result.

Only this time, youngsters and transfers, rather than experienced veterans, carried Kubasaki baseball to its sixth straight Okinawa Activities Council best-of-three championship series title, and Kadena softball to its ninth straight island crown.

Justice Laysone’s three-run home run helped carry the Dragons past the Panthers, 15-5, in Saturday’s Game 3 of the best-of-three series. Kubasaki won the opener, 11-4, on Friday before dropping Game 2, 17-11, earlier Saturday.

Kadena’s softball team left little to chance, taking advantage of 23 walks and beating Kubasaki, 13-5, on Saturday to wrap up the series, after downing Kubasaki, 14-2, in Friday’s opener.

After losing a core of eight seniors, “we were a really young team,” Kubasaki baseball coach Randy Toor said of a Dragons squad that featured just one senior, one junior and the rest underclassmen. “They really came through today.”

In addition to Laysone’s batting heroics, fellow sophomore Matt Cottrell was pressed into catching duty when starter Tyler Smith was sidelined by a broken finger.

Saturday’s action was delayed three hours due to wet weather overnight Friday; the team worked the field to get it ready in addition to playing.

“Our boys are really tired” after having done that and played three games in less than 24 hours, Toor said. “I was tired myself.”

Exhaustion was less an issue for the Panthers softball team, which has yet to lose a championship series to Kubasaki and hasn’t lost a game to the Dragons since Game 1 of the 2008 OAC series.

Like Kubasaki baseball, Kadena softball was left with much umproven talent after eight seniors graduated.

“It was nerve-wracking,” coach Jesse Costa said of wondering what was moving up from the underclass ranks and off the PCS plane. “It was nice to see Panther tradition didn’t die.”

In her final season as coach – she transfers to Italy this summer – Costa got as PCS gifts junior right-hander Lauren Youngs from New York and shortstop Jessica Rucinski from California.

“It was nice to see those two come in,” Costa said. “They stepped nicely into Panther World.”

Youngs went the distance in Friday’s opener, while sophomore holdover Kelly Kaneshiro pitched a complete-game victory in Saturday’s clincher.

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