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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – Yokota athletics director Tim Pujol was reluctant to even pose the question to his opposite number at Robert D. Edgren, Andre Thibert.

The DODDS Japan softball and baseball tournaments had been canceled a couple of weeks ago due to billeting issues, but coaches were clamoring for them to be revived, particularly on social networks. Softball was slated for Yokota and baseball at Zama, each on April 16-18.

Enough space was found to billet all but one team. DODDS Japan district superintendent Lois Rapp approached Pujol and asked if the events could be revived at the 11th hour, he said.

But a key, Pujol said, would be whether Thibert and Edgren would be willing to forego one of just three scheduled home weekends of baseball and softball games and come to the Kanto Plain to play the tournaments.

“He said they would be happy to do it,” Pujol said.

That set the wheels in motion, with abbreviated two-day tournaments drawn up for Friday and Saturday.

Airline tickets and bus schedules were adjusted. Pujol and his counterpart at Zama, Scott Bolin, cobbled what Pujol termed “ambitious” schedules that will see Yokota, Zama, Edgren, E.J. King, Matthew C. Perry and Nile C. Kinnick play five games each in two days.

“That’s a lot of ball,” Pujol said. “But all the coaches are saying they’re happy to have the games. It took a bit of work (but) it’s turning out better than people anticipated.”

Play begins at noon Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday. All baseball games are scheduled for Zama’s Rambler Field. Softball will be played at Yokota High’s Headley Field on Friday, but because of a track meet at the high school, Saturday’s games are at Tachi Field on the base’s east side. The outfield corners on Headley are used as the shot put and discus pits. Twitter: @ornauer_stripes

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