Seoul American baseball team wraps up ‘phenomenal’ experience on Okinawa
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — They raised $6,000 in 3½ weeks for a hastily arranged four-game series against their counterparts on Okinawa and dodged raindrops the whole weekend after they got here.
But the Seoul American Falcons, who went 1-2-1 against the Kadena Panthers and Kubasaki Dragons over a three-day span, said the ordeal was worth every ounce of energy and every penny spent.
“This experience has been phenomenal,” coach Jorge Rosa said as his Falcons completed the series Sunday by tying Kubasaki 9-9, in a game called after the 90-minute time limit expired.
“It’s the experience for the boys, trying to provide them that stateside experience while they’re overseas, playing for their school, the competition and sportsmanship.”
Seoul American is part of a three-team Department of Defense Dependents Schools circuit, now in its second year of play.
The Falcons play eight regular-season games each against Taegu American and Osan American, on Saturdays at Camp Market, just west of Seoul.
But they wanted more.
“As a team, we decided we were going to play somewhere” against American teams outside of Korea, Rosa said.
First, they checked whether they could enter the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools season-ending tournament May 14-15 at Camp Zama.
That was nixed by DODDS-Korea, district and team officials said, because it would have involved missing a day of school during the critical Advanced Placement testing period. Also, the Kanto tournament field already had its maximum of eight teams.
So Rosa and the Falcons turned to the high school baseball organization on Okinawa, comprising the schools themselves, Marine Corps Community Services and Kadena Air Base’s 18th Services Squadron.
DODDS-Korea assistant district superintendent Dennis Rozzi, who has a son on the team, worked with Okinawa league vice president Lt. Col. Daniel “Doc” Daugherty and cleared the way for the Falcons to travel to Okinawa just as the Easter break began.
Next came the fund-raising: bake sales, car washes and donations from private organizations on Yongsan Garrison.