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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Standing in against tall Kubasaki left-hander Mike Goodman, John O’Hearne took a mighty swing.

Ping! The ball soared high into the sunny sky and over the center-field fence, giving Kadena a 1-0 first-inning lead.

O’Hearne’s blast also made history as the first hit, run, and home run in Okinawa’s new high school baseball and softball leagues which celebrated their opening games Saturday at Camp Foster’s sports complex.

“It feels great,” O’Hearne said.

His homer was a sign of things to come, as Kadena’s Panthers ruled opening day with a 10-3 varsity baseball victory, followed by the Kadena girls’ 38-0 rout of Kubasaki in softball.

The games were preceded by pomp and pageantry befitting a Pacificwide tournament opener. The opening ceremony was attended by about 200 parents and community members from Camp Foster and Kadena Air Base.

Marine Maj. Gen. John Goodman, Mike’s father, had a vested interest. He was the driving force to put the teams on the field under the high school banner for the first time, and serves as president of the teams’ umbrella organization.

The Kadena-Kubasaki Baseball-Softball Parents Committee “allows us to start this program this year,” said Goodman, who in October began lobbying Department of Defense Education Activity district officials and the Okinawa high schools to put teams on the field.

Until this year, if high school teams played baseball or softball it was as a club activity or intramural team under Foster’s Marine Corps Community Services or Kadena’s 18th Services banners.

Kadena fielded club baseball teams for four years in the mid-1990s, and last year under 18th Services. The Panthers girls softball team won the Kadena intramural league last spring and summer.

“This is real high school baseball, with real high school rules and real high school umpires,” said Goodman, who’s assigned to Foster as 1st Marine Aircraft Wing commander. “Real, no-kidding high school baseball.”

Goodman calls the committee a “partnership” with officials from Kubasaki and Kadena athletics, DODEA’s Okinawa district, MCCS and 18th Services, parents and volunteer coaches.

Tryouts last month brought 120 players from Kadena and Kubasaki to the diamond, with 90 players making the cut for the varsity and jayvee baseball teams and varsity softball squads.

“We’ve had typical starting fits and pains,” Goodman said. The biggest headache: uniforms ordered weeks ago didn’t arrive in time for the openers, so teams borrowed threads from MCCS and 18th Services.

Since DODEA Okinawa district didn’t have a baseball or softball program budgeted, it fell to the committee to raise the necessary $20,000 for uniforms, umpires, transportation and incidentals.

The American Women’s Welfare Association of Okinawa kicked in $5,000, with parents and profits from concession stands expected to fill the rest. “We’ve raised $10,000 already, and we expect to reach our goal” of $20,000, Goodman said, adding that MCCS and 18th Services has contributed baseballs and other equipment and use of its fields.

What has begun as a pilot program is expected to become a full-fledged DODEA program by the 2005 season. “Each year, we’ll sit down and figure out what has to be done,” to make it happen, Goodman said.

For now, the Dragons and Panthers will play each other five or six times, with games against Japanese clubs and high schools expected.

“It’s long overdue,” MCCS Semper Fit director Steve Rowland said. “It’s American ball, and American sport. Kids shouldn’t be deprived of that over here.”

Kadena baseball assistant coach Ken Norwood said he and his son Ryan were “stunned” when they arrived on Okinawa last year and found “there was no baseball on Okinawa.

“In Japan, baseball’s a national game. My son is so happy. He lives and breathes baseball.”

“It’s about time,” said Jenny Lozano, a Kadena senior who has played youth softball for five years.

“I’m disappointed they didn’t start this sooner,” she said. “All the sophomores and juniors, now they have something to look forward to.”

DODEA-Okinawa district superintendent Gayle Vaughn-Wiles expressed gratification for the efforts of those involved.

“This is great for the community. It’s not often you see this kind of collaboration and cooperation. MCCS, 18th Services, parents, students and schools all working together. That’s powerful,” she said.

Weekend results

Track and field

Alva W. “Mike” Petty Memorial Meet

At Camp Foster, Okinawa

Boys team scores

1, Kubasaki, Okinawa, 142; 2, Morrison Christian Academy, Taiwan, 88; 3, Kadena, Okinawa, 84; 4, American School In Japan, Tokyo, 58; 5, Christian Academy In Japan, Tokyo, 26; 6, Zion Christian Academy, Okinawa, 18.

Boys individual results

110 hurdles — 1, Jhobal Baranda, Kadena, 18.3 seconds; 2, Gino Bono, ASIJ, 18.44; 3, Marc Courchesne, Zion, 18.88; 100 — 1, Chris Robinson, Kubasaki, 11.56; 2, Charles Brass, 11.75; 3, Jeremiah Walker, Kadena, 11.97; 200 — 1, Chris Robinson, Kubasaki, 23.03; 2, Emmanuel Watkins, Kadena, 23.13; 3, Jeremiah Walker, Kadena, 23.8; 400 — 1, Emmanuel Watkins, 51.1; 2, T.J. Bostick, Kubasaki, 57.07; 3, Jerome Crawford, Kubasaki, 58.48; 800 — 1, Max Taffel, ASIJ, 2 minutes, 19 seconds; 2, Rupert Orchard, ASIJ, 2:20.13; 3, Grant Deering, Kadena, 2:24; 1,600 — 1, Max Taffel, ASIJ, 5:03.8; 2, Nathan McKinlay, Morrison, 5:14.93; 3, Caleb Eby, CAJ, 5:19.42; 3,200 — 1, Caleb Eby, CAJ, 11:02; 2, Max Taffel, ASIJ, 11:12; 3, Grant Deering, Kadena, 11:38; 400 relay — 1, Kubasaki, 46.45; 2, Morrison, 48.71; 3, ASIJ, 49.47; 800 relay — 1, Kubasaki, 1:37.7; 2, Morrison, 1:40.81; 3, ASIJ, 1:44.2; 1,600 relay — 1, Kubasaki, 3:51.72; 2, Kadena, 3:55.66; 3, ASIJ, 3:59.27; Shot put — 1, Jason Ballard, Kubasaki, 38 feet, 7 inches; 2, Yun-hsien Chang, Morrison, 36-4; 3, Graeme Buckler, ASIJ, 36-3; Discus — 1, Yun-hsien Chang, Morrison, 124-10; 2, Jamonti Lee, Kadena, 123-2 1/2; 3, Jason Ballard, Kubasaki, 122-9; Long jump — 1, Jerome Crawford, Kubasaki, 18-9 3/4; 2, Emmanuel Watkins, Kadena, 18-6; 3, Charles Brass, Kubasaki, 18-4; High jump — 1, Jeff McKay, Morrison, 5-10; 2, Katsuya Teruya, Zion, 5-7; 3, Jerome Crawford, Kubasaki, 5-4.

Girls team scores

1, American School In Japan, Tokyo, 118; 2, Kubasaki, Okinawa, 115; 3, Kadena, Okinawa, 61; 4, Morrison Christian Academy, Taiwan, 49; 5, Zion Christian Academy, Okinawa, 41; 6, Christian Academy In Japan, Tokyo, 29; 7, Matthew C. Perry, Japan, 18.

Girls individual results

100 hurdles — 1, Shenea McDaniel, Kubasaki, 17.34 seconds; 2, Jennifer Reed, CAJ, 17.8; 3, Eri Furukawa, ASIJ, 18.31; 100 — 1, Melinda Pickens, Kadena, 13.17; 2, Teeny Henry, Kadena, 13.42; 3, Lorianne Roxas, Kubasaki, 13.49; 200 — 1, Lorianne Roxas, Kubasaki, 23.03; 2, Teeny Henry, Kadena, 23.13; 3, Serafina Smith, 23.8; 400 — 1, Lindsay Rutter, ASIJ, 1 minute, 2.78 seconds; 2, Serafina Smith, Kubasaki, 1:03.42; 3, Kristi MacDonald, Morrison, 1:04.43; 800 — 1, Lindsay Rutter, ASIJ, 2:29.77; 2, Jenna Budge, ASIJ, 2:36.66; 3, Alana McKinlay, Morrison, 2:40.38; 1,600 — 1, Lindsay Rutter, ASIJ, 6:04.98; 2, Jenna Budge, ASIJ, 6:05.8; 3, Andrea Roxas, Kubasaki, 6:06.72; 3,200 — 1, Ellen Gogerty, ASIJ, 13:20.22; 2, Jenna Budge, ASIJ, 13:20.31; 3, Andrea Roxas, 13:21.37; 400 relay — 1, Kubasaki, 54.07; 2, Kadena, 55.22; 3, ASIJ, 56.71; 800 relay — 1, Kubasaki, 1:54.68; 2, Morrison, 1:58.2; 3, CAJ, 1:59.46; 1,600 relay — 1, ASIJ, 4:29.38; 2, Kubasaki, 4:32.98; 3, Zion, 4:43.41; Shot put — 1, LaNoya Foster, Zion, 32 feet, 11 1/2 inches; 2, Kaili Rowland, M.C. Perry, 31 1/4; 3, Connie Chang, Morrison, 26-3 3/4; Discus — 1, Kaili Rowland, M.C. Perry, 93-8 1/4; 2, LaNoya Foster, Zion, 76-8; 3, Jeanielyn Munalem, Kadena, 74-7; Long jump — 1, Lorianne Roxas, Kubasaki, 15-11 3/4; 2, Teeny Henry, Kadena, 15-4; 3, Alana McKinlay, Morrison, 14-11 1/2; High jump — 1, Alana McKinlay, Morrison, 4-9; 2, Serafina Smith, Kubasaki, 4-8; 3, Sarah Wadsworth, ASIJ, 4-6.

Baseball

Kadena 10, Kubasaki 3

Chris Nelson hit a three-run home run in the fourth, and the Panthers (1-0) scored five runs in the fifth to put away the first high school-sanctioned game between Kadena and Kubasaki. Eric Roush struck out eight, giving up a walk and four hits in four innings. John O’Hearne hit a solo homer and struck out four in the last three innings for the save. Kyle Leab retired six straight in the last two innings and homered, while Justin Daugherty and Orlando Bell each hit RBI doubles in a losing cause for the Dragons (0-1).

Zama American 6, Robert D. Edgren 3

Ben Walters threw a complete game, giving up nine hits and striking out three for the Trojans (11-2), who completed a two-game weekend sweep of the Eagles (5-3). Russ Casimire and William Badillo each had two RBIs and Scott Sakraida scored twice and drove in a run.

Zama American 8, Matthew C. Perry 7

Anthony Garcia knocked in the winning run and Russ Casimire pitched a scoreless sixth inning in relief in a game called after six innings because of darkness. Will Badillo’s three-run homer helped put Zama ahead 7-0, but the Samurai (1-5) rallied for seven in the fifth to tie it.

Zama American 10, Robert D. Edgren 8The Trojans scored five runs to tie it 8-8 in the top of the seventh, then scored two unearned runs in the eighth to win. Reid Smith got the win with a 1-2-3 eighth in relief. Greg Richardson drove in two runs for Zama.

Softball

Kadena 38, Kubasaki 0, 3 innings

Lauren Smith led off with an inside-the-park homer, opening the floodgates as the Panthers (1-0) scored 19 runs in the first inning of their first high school contest against the Dragons (0-1). Macey Flemming threw a two-hit shutout, striking out three batters. Smith and Allison Montes de Oca each went 5-for-5, Montes de Oca with a double and a triple, and Amy Ware and Jenny Lozano were each 4-for-4, Lozano with two doubles and Ware with two triples.

Zama American 6, Misawa 4

Misawa 16, Zama American 2

Zama American 11, Misawa 10

Misawa 11, Zama American 9

Taking the same path as the Robert D. Edgren baseball team, which began two years ago as a base club team before becoming a high school squad this year, the Misawa Diamonds debuted by splitting four games with the Trojans (4-6).

Boys soccer

Naha-nishi 3, Kubasaki 2

Naha-nishi, a Japanese team, scored in the 79th minute, then Josh Kiser, who scored one goal, barely missed another when he clanged a shot off the post during stoppage time. Chris Monroy also scored and Alex Meno and Nick Wallace picked up assists for the Dragons (4-5-1), losers of two straight.

Yokota 5, Matthew C. Perry 0

Jon Saffold scored in the 34th and 59th minutes and assisted on Mike Chamberlain's 10th goal of the season in the 49th for the Panthers (14-0). Karl Gerstner also scored twice, giving him nine for the season, and Jay Irwin picked up his ninth assist and Bronson Bailey his second. The Samurai fell to 3-7.

Yokota 5, Robert D. Edgren 0

On Friday, the Panthers (13-0) spoiled the home season debut of the Eagles (1-7) as Jay Irwin scored a natural hat trick, with goals in the 52nd, 57th and 75th minutes. Matt Irwin got his 22nd goal of the season, Kentaro Plude added a solo goal and Jay Irwin, Ian Kingery and Bronson Bailey had assists.

Christian Academy In Japan 3, Nile C. Kinnick 2

For the second straight game, the Red Devils (3-5) burst in front 2-0, only to have the opponent rally to victory, this time the Knights getting their first win of the season. They’re now 1-3. Kenny Cardwell and Go Yamada put Kinnick ahead, Yamada with his ninth goal of the season.

Girls soccer

Kubasaki 3, Naha-nishi 0

After a scoreless first half, Erin Foote got her 10th goal in the 48th minute, sparking a flurry of three scores by the Dragons (4-1) in an 11-minute span. Samantha Showns got her eighth goal on a breakaway and Kristina Wesche, playing her first game of the season, scored in the 59th.

Oroku 3, Kadena 2

Freshman Dianne Abel scored her team-leading fifth goal in the first half, assisted by Emily Raths, then Theresa Gittens, nursing a foot injury, came on to convert a penalty kick in the 72nd minute in a losing cause for the Panthers (4-2-1). Starters Katie LaGrave, Kim Lyle, Courtnie Paschall and Jennifer Mathews were out with injuries for Kadena.

Kinnick 4, Robert D. Edgren 1

The Red Devils (8-1) took 40 shots on the Eagles (2-5), who've lost five straight after opening with two victories. Robyn Hopp scored twice and Alexis Zukowski once, giving each nine on the season, and Lisa Murray also scored. Zukowski, Brenda Welding and Nikki Fulton each recorded assists.

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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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