Shawn Novak’s dream season continued Tuesday as he pitched six hitless innings. He struck out 12 as the Yokota Panthers improved to 6-2 by splitting a Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools baseball doubleheader against St. Mary’s International.

Novak, a right-handed starter, shut down the Titans 10-2 in the opener; St. Mary’s salvaged the split with a 16-4 victory in the nightcap. Coupled with a split on Saturday against the American School In Japan, Yokota is 2-2 in Kanto and 4-0 in the DODDS-Japan League.

Novak credits a change in pitching philosophy and adjusting his mechanics over the past year for this season’s success. In 20 innings, he’s allowed four hits, two runs — both unearned — and just one walk, while striking out 40.

“Baseball’s a game of inches. Everything’s in mechanics and details. And if I want to get to the next level, I have to get as perfect as I can be,” said Novak, who hopes to play as a walk-on at the University of Hawaii next year.

So far this season, only ASIJ senior Hiroshi Mita seems to have solved the Novak puzzle.

Mita ended Novak’s streak of 7 2/3 perfect innings with a single last Saturday and has two of the four hits Novak has allowed this season, all by Mustangs batters.

“I’m just doing my thing, going out there and trying to get outs,” Novak said.

His statistics may indicate otherwise but Novak says he’s concentrating not on flinging the ball past every batter but on conserving his arm.

“I think I’ve matured more, mentally,” he said.

“Instead of trying to get people out on strikeouts, I change speeds and try to get the easy out.”

Novak also pitches off-base for Japanese club teams, which he says helped him adjust his mechanics “completely,” mainly keeping his body in control, moving toward home plate instead of “all over the place,” as in the past.

“It took awhile,” Novak said, adding that after his start Saturday against ASIJ, which Yokota won 7-1, he watched a videotape of the game and noticed “that my legs are opening up too early.”

And though his season has been as good as any Yokota pitcher since the team’s run of seven championships in the 1980s, Novak feels the best is yet to come, for him and the team.

“It’s been good so far,” he said, but “there are still some things I need to fix.”

Japan boys soccer

Zama American 3, St. Maur International 1

Tuesday at Camp Zama, Japan

Halftime:St. Maur 1-0. Goals: Zama, David Vest 2 (2), Ivan Gomez 1 (1). Assists: Zama, Thomas McGinn 1.

Yokota 4, Robert D. Edgren 0

Saturday at Yokota Air Base, Japan

Halftime:0-0. Goals: Yokota, Stefan Welch 2 (9), Bronson Bailey 1 (10), Tom Gass 1 (2). Assists-Yokota, Stefan Welch 2, Tom Gass 1.

Yokota 5, Robert D. Edgren 0

Friday at Yokota Air Base, Japan

Halftime:Yokota 4-0. Goals: Yokota, Stefan Welch 2 (7), Bronson Bailey 1 (9), Jamal McNeill 1 (5), Chad Evans 1 (2). Assists: Yokota, Stefan Welch 1, Tom Gass 1, Jamal McNeill 1, Andreas Cabral 1.

Japan girls soccer

Yokota 4, Zama American 1

Friday at Camp Zama, Japan

Halftime:Yokota 4-0. Goals: Yokota, Daniya Nixon 2 (2), Bridget Dean 1 (1), Gregoria Johnson 1 (1); Zama, Elli Legaspi 1 (2). Assists: Yokota, Brett Wagner 2; Zama, Kate Shicks 1.

Japan baseball

Yokota 10-4, St. Mary’s International 2-16

Tuesday at Yokota Air Base, Japan

Game 1:Shawn Novak improved to 3-0 this season, pitching six hitless innings, allowing one run on a balk plus a walk while striking out 12. Evan Gray finished with one inning of relief. Chris Shelton belted a grand slam in the first inning and Novak helped his cause with a two-run shot in the sixth. John Logue took the loss for the Titans, his first of the season.

Game 2:Sean Oakes went the distance for the Titans, striking out eight and walking seven. Ishii slammed a pair of home runs and Ken Oshima added three hits and a home run for St. Mary’s. Kenny Harris took the loss.

Note:A scheduled Kanto Plain doubleheader featuring American School In Japan at Zama American was postponed due to the threat of rain, and rescheduled for Thursday.

Okinawa track and field

Thursday, March 17, and Friday, March 18

Boys team standings:1, Kadena, 82; 2, Kubasaki, 50; 3, Zion Christian Academy, 10.

Boys individual winners:800 relay:Kadena, 1 minute, 40 seconds.110 hurdles:Darnell Womach, Kadena, 18.30 seconds.100:David McCowan, Kadena, 11.46.1,600:Arnold Tillman, Kadena, 5:37.400 relay:Kadena, 47.12.800:Grady Pennell, Kadena, 2:24.400:Stephen Thompson, Kubasaki, 54.46.200:Nicolas Berry, Kubasaki, 24.9.1,600 relay:Kubasaki, 4:02.3,200:Chris Chism, Zion, 12:10.Long jump:Brian Davis, Kubasaki, 18 feet, 10 inches.High jump:Stephen Thompson, Kubasaki, 5-11.Discus:Eric Robinson, Kadena, 116-11.Shot put:J. Scriven, Kadena, 35-8.7.

Girls team standings:1, Zion Christian Academy, 51; 2, Kubasaki, 48; 3, Kadena, 46.

Girls individual winners800 relay: Kadena, 2 minutes, 9 seconds.100 hurdles: Lakeisha Haynes, Zion, 19.1 seconds.100: Keisha Wilson, Zion, 13.8.1,600: Beth Nielsen, Kubasaki, 6:09.400 relay: Zion, 55.65.800: Lakeisha Haynes, Zion, 2:46.400: Regina Felton, Kadena, 1:09.39.200: Keisha Wilson, Zion, 28.44.1,600 relay: Zion, 4:43.3,200: Beth Nielsen, Kubasaki, 13:03.Long jump: Sherlissa Dukes, Kadena, 14 feet, 2 inches.High jump: Ashley Orr, Kadena, 4-5.Discus: C. Carlson, Kadena, 68-9.5.Shot put: Pinkey McBride, Kubasaki, 33-5.

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