Kadena, Kubasaki trade wins on diamond, soccer field
By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 5, 2017
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa – Kadena softball faced something it had never faced before Friday – the prospect of losing the regular-season series to Kubasaki.
And the Panthers trailed 8-0 to the Dragons in the first inning before Kadena had even gotten to bat.
But sisters Yasmine and Nadia Doss got their bats going and stoked a Panthers rally. They outscored the Dragons 22-1 the rest of the way to win the season-deciding game 22-9. The Panthers won the season series for the 15th straight year, taking three of five games.
“I thought that was it; I thought they had the game won,” Yasmine Doss said of falling behind in the first inning. She dropped a fly ball that opened the floodgates for the Dragons’ first-inning explosion.
“I was stressed,” Nadia Doss said. “I tried to keep my head up, keep encouraging everybody, but it looked like it was over, like we would get down on each other and wouldn’t come back.”
But the Doss sisters answered the call: Yasmine batted 4-for-5 with three RBIs, while Nadia added a double among her two hits and drove in four runs. Molly Symes also had four RBIs and Alex Dunham three.
It stayed close until Kadena poured on 10 runs in the fourth to seal the victory. “The momentum started to swing the other way. We started hitting the ball, we were all getting excited,” Yasmine Doss said.
Friday’s game was a microcosm of the season, which began with Kubasaki beating Kadena 16-10 on March 23 and again 17-14 on March 30 – the first time the Dragons had beaten the Panthers in consecutive games in the 15 seasons of softball on Okinawa.
But the series turned around when Kadena routed Kubasaki 15-6 on April 13, then the Panthers leveled the series 2-2 with a 13-10 edging of the Dragons on April 20.
Kadena hosts the first game of the best-of-three postseason district championship series Thursday at Ryukyu Middle School. Games 2 and 3 are Friday and Saturday.
On the pitch about 100 meters from the softball diamond, Kadena girls soccer was trying to win its first Okinawa regular-season series from Kubasaki in 10 years, but came up short when the Dragons got a second-half goal from Myca Ingram to win 1-0.
The Dragons, three-time defending Far East Division I champions, played with purpose Friday, junior defender Tasher Odom said. Kubasaki finished with a loss in last month’s American School In Japan Soccer Festival, while Kadena won all five of its matches at Mustang Valley.
“We showed we wanted to fight, we wanted to win, we’re here, we want the four-peat and we want the banner,” Odom said. “Now, we have to prove at Far East that we’re ready.” The D-I tournament starts May 15 at Yokosuka Naval Base.
All three matches in the Okinawa season series were decided by 1-0 counts, with the road team winning each one.
Kadena’s boys soccer team salvaged the third match of their season series, getting a late second-half goal from Kian Smith to edge the Dragons 2-1. Kubasaki won the opener 3-0 on March 22 and the second match 2-1 on April 12.
Kadena center fielder Yasmine Doss can't find the handle on a fly ball against Kubasaki that opened the floodgates for an 8-0 Dragon first inning. The Panthers outscored Kubasaki 22-1 from that point for a 22-9 win Friday, giving Kadena the season series against the Dragons 3-2 after trailing 2-0.
DAVE ORNAUER/STARS AND STRIPES