Kubasaki gets first victory in jamboree
In the score book, it went as a 13-7 victory Friday. But Kubasaki was celebrating as if it had just won the first Far East Girls Softball Tournament.
It could be regarded as the next-best thing: The Dragons got their first victory in five games this season, beating two-time DODEA Japan champion Nile C. Kinnick, one of three games Kubasaki won over the weekend in the four-team Zama Invitational.
"The girls came up big this weekend," said coach Stephanie Davis, whose Dragons edged host Zama American 13-10 on Friday and Kinnick again 11-5 on Saturday before falling 14-4 to Zama.
"The girls got to see two teams that they’ve not seen before, different pitching styles," Davis said. "They hit. They fielded. They did everything they needed to. . . . Now, they know they can do things. And that’s good for their confidence."
The jamboree, played Friday at Naval Air Facility Atsugi and Saturday at Camp Zama, Japan, featured something for everybody, including seven-time Okinawa Activities Council champion Kadena’s first loss in a year. Kadena had won its past eight against Kubasaki.
"I think a loss is going to be good for us," Panthers coach Jesse Costa said. "The girls know if they don’t bring their A game, they can be beat. It’s really hard, week after week, hitting up Kubasaki. The No. 1 challenge is to keep them motivated, from getting complacent."
Kubasaki, behind Vanessa Ellis (6-for-12, two homers, 10 RBIs), went 3-1 in the jamboree, as did Kadena, paced by right-handers Mary Schweers and Brittany Erickson.
Zama, which swept Kinnick in a doubleheader Wednesday, and the Red Devils each went 1-3. And for the Kanto Plain teams, the event served as a wake-up, one of the coaches said. "We’ve got a lot to do to be competitive" in Far East on May 17-20 at Kadena, said Kinnick coach Danel MacWhyte.
"But we have a long time to get there. I think we proved to ourselves that we can beat anybody, but it’s going to take a lot to beat everybody."
Seoul American express keeps rolling
One team that coaches of the Zama jamboree had wanted to play was Seoul American, which improved to 6-0 with a home sweep of Daegu and Osan American behind Katie Darby’s pitching and Maria Garcia’s hitting.
"We would have appreciated the competition," Falcons coach Julian Gudger said of going to the Zama jamboree.
Daegu came closest to topping the Falcons this season, falling 12-8 on Friday in a game in which Gudger pulled many of his starters to give his bench playing time.
"We appreciated the competition that Daegu gave us," Gudger said. "They’re definitely a different team than the one that played the first two weeks."
One Kanto track record falls, another tied
Nile C. Kinnick junior Shannon Jackson broke the 20-year-old Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools shot-put record on Saturday at Yokota High School, and Christian Academy Japan senior Shorai Ashida matched the 17-year-old high-jump mark.
Jackson tossed the shot 10.06 meters, or 33 feet, beating the mark of 10.05 set in 1990 by CAJ’s Lark Amos.
Ashida high-jumped 1.95 meters, or 6 feet, 4 ½ inches. That tied the mark set in 1993 by Ian Boudewijn of American School In Japan and matched by Jun Dambara of St. Mary’s International in 2004.