Pacific softball: Osan teams sweep in tourney
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Osan Air Base’s men and women scored a sweep of the titles in the Koreawide Post- Level Interservice Softball Tournament over the weekend at Yongsan’s Lombardo Field FourPlex.
But it didn’t come without controversy, at least on the women’s side.
Trailing Taegu 16-1 in the third inning of Saturday’s winner’s bracket final in the double-elimination tournament, Osan lodged a protest, accusing Taegu of using an ineligible player: Erica Castillo, assigned to Suwon Air Base.
The protest was upheld by tournament director Bennie Jackson, who cited league and tournament rules stating a player must suit up for the team nearest her geographical area, and must stay with that team the entire season.
Jackson said Castillo should have been playing for Camp Humphreys.
The game was awarded to Osan 7-0 and Taegu was disqualified. Osan went on to beat host Yongsan Garrison 12-6 in a one-game final on Sunday.
Osan coach Harold Branch said Castillo “looked familiar” because he had seen her playing for the Area III women’s team a week earlier in the 8th Army women’s tournament, also at Yongsan.
Taegu coach Dennisse Cortez said Castillo played for Taegu the entire regular season and had been cleared by MWR staffs in Taegu and Humphreys to play for Taegu, making her an eligible, legal player.
“We were all under the impression that she was OK,” Cortez said. “She had played for us all season.”
Cortez said the ruling against Taegu left her team “devastated.”
“If she was not an eligible player, I would not have played her,” Cortez said. “If I want to win, I won’t want to sneak somebody in. I’m just so frustrated. We knew that tournament was ours.”
Given that Osan took three of four games from Taegu in a regular-season series two weeks earlier, Branch said he wasn’t concerned by Taegu’s large lead.
“We would have come back on them anyway,” he said. They had us down 13-2 and we came back and beat them 22-15; 16-1 is not a problem for us.”
The men’s tournament was less controversial, with Osan steamrolling four opponents by an average of 7½ runs per game. Osan downed Camp Stanley 7-1 in Sunday’s final.
It capped a season in which Osan went 20-0 in league play and 32-2 overall, and served as a send-off for Robert Waddle, who coached Osan on and off for seven seasons starting in 1992.
Waddle won the Pacificwide twice, the Korea Traveling League title six times and the Koreawide Post-Level Tournament four times.
“Not a bad record for having to build a new team every year,” he said.