Pacific athletes of the week for the April 1 edition
Last week: Hit a game-winning, walk-off, two-run home run on Saturday, sparking the Panthers to a sweep of Zama American in a DODEA Japan/Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools doubleheader at Yokota Park.
Niescier, a senior, went 5-for-9 with four runs and three RBIs against Zama as Yokota won 5-4 and 10-8. For the week, he was 8-for-12 including a 3-for-3, 2-run, RBI performance in a 17-5 home victory over Nile C. Kinnick.
He played soccer the last two springs but hadn’t played baseball since the eighth grade. But Niescier, who has already earned a scholarship to Division II Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, suffered a hip flexor injury in the winter and is playing baseball to stay in shape, coach Ernie Carrasco said. He’s batting .727 and leads the team in almost every category.
“It’s very impressive when the school’s best soccer player can pick up a bat and prove to be one of the school’s best baseball players as well,” Carrasco said.
Last week: Scored four goals, including the lone tally against the Panthers’ Okinawa Activities Council arch-rival Kubasaki, as five-time Far East Class AA Tournament champion Kadena opened its regular season with two victories in three matches.
Pressley, a junior, launched a shot from 35 yards out over Kubasaki keeper Rimika Ortiz’s head for the only goal in Friday’s 1-0 victory over Kubasaki. The next morning, Pressley notched a hat trick to rally Kadena past Naha Commercial 3-2. She was used at sweeper that afternoon and held powerful Urasoe’s girls team to just two goals in a 2-1 loss.
“She’s a great player. We would not be as strong without her,” coach Paul Chirichetti said. “She’s the fastest player on the team; she seems to have a good field sense; she knows where she is needed and seems to get there. She’s left-footed, which is a plus. And she can play any position on the field.”
Selected by Stars and Stripes staff