Cobras’ Schinker, Panthers’ Choate sparkle on the mound
By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 25, 2021
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan – Leo Schinker pitched a no-hitter two years ago and just missed the second of his career earlier this month. He left nothing to chance on Saturday, hurling a perfect game in what was likely his final start.
The senior right-hander struck out 13 over five innings to pace his E.J. King baseball team to an 11-0 win over Matthew C. Perry at his home Nimitz Park.
“He was dialed in today,” said Schinker’s coach and father, Joe Schinker. “He was pretty sharp. He was getting ahead in the counts early and that made a difference for him. And the guys behind him made some good plays.”
Saturday saw two no-hitters of five or more innings thrown by a DODEA-Japan pitcher; Yokota sophomore right-hander Brody Choate held Robert D. Edgren hitless over five innings and also struck out 13, but gave up a run in an 11-1 victory at Yokota Air Base.
Earlier this season, Sebastian Hineman of Nile C. Kinnick struck out 11 but gave up a run as the Red Devils beat Yokota 6-1 on April 11 at Yokosuka Naval Base’s Berkey Field.
That same day, Schinker allowed just a fourth-inning single to Nickolas Elizondo in a 10-0 shutout of the Samurai at Iwakuni’s Atago Field. His first no-hitter came on March 22, 2019, in a 16-0 win by the Cobras over Zama.
On Saturday, Schinker also helped himself by batting 2-for-3 in his victory. He later homered and drove in three runs, and Kobe Coleman hit two round-trippers and Edrick Cummings also homered as the Cobras routed the Samurai 16-3.
“In the second game, the bats came alive,” the elder Schinker said. “It was a fun day.”
The Cobras and Samurai managed to play just two weekends against each other during an abbreviated DODEA-Japan spring sports slate that began on April 10; the games last weekend were canceled due to a forecast of bad weather.
Joe Schinker said he was hoping the teams could play this coming weekend, but the start of the Golden Week holiday period in Japan – and its accompanying heavy highway traffic – may preclude it.
Eagles surprise Yokota counterparts
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Limited to just one weekend of play thanks to a last-minute go-ahead given by DODEA-Pacific, Robert D. Edgren’s girls soccer and baseball teams could have been happy just to take the field.
But to them, just taking the field wasn’t enough. The Eagles strikers and baseball players wanted more – and got it.
Edgren got two goals from senior striker Isabelle Pummill in a 3-1 win over host Yokota. Eagles right-hander Dylan Tomas pitched a complete-game victory as Edgren edged the Panthers 6-5.
Yokota rebounded on the diamond behind Choate’s no-hitter, and the Panthers girls soccer team came back to beat Edgren 5-1.
But for the Eagles, just those two teams bringing a victory to Misawa Air Base ensured a happy 9-hour bus ride home, players said.
“These were our only games. This was our chance. And we did it. We worked so hard for this and we finally got to showcase it,” Tomas said.
Despite the uncertainty, all the girls soccer players came to practice every day, and they even scrimmaged four times against the boys team, coach Jennifer Smith said.
“I’m proud of these girls,” Smith said. “Especially the seniors, they have worked so hard, and that they could end the season this way (with one win), I love it.”
The scrimmages helped immensely, said senior midfielder Maya Smith, the coach’s daughter. “They made us work harder and every time we played them, we got better,” Maya Smith said.
Goalkeeper Nasia Edwards made 18 saves in the victory over Yokota. “She’s phenomenal,” the elder Smith said. “She’s a natural at it. She has the instinct for is. That’s her spot.”
The Eagles’ play in both the win and the loss made Yokota coach Matt Whipple take notice. “They were impressive,” he said.
The softball games were one-sided affairs, as the veteran-laden Yokota team routed the inexperienced Eagles 20-0 and 36-6.
Humphreys hoops teams end regular season
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea – Both of Humphreys boys basketball teams won their regular-season finales Saturday to finish 1-2 in the final standings and nail down spots in Friday’s DODEA-Korea title game.
Myles Johnson had 35 points and 18 rebounds to lift the black team 65-26 over Osan Blue. Donovan Okpolwasili had 20 points, nine rebounds and six steals to power Humphreys Gold past Osan Black 57-40.
It’s possible, coaches said, that Humphreys might pool its players into one team to play Osan’s combined team in the final; a decision on that could come early this week.