Small-schools soccer teams wreak havoc on big schools
Small-school boys soccer teams enjoyed a successful weekend against their Class AA brethren in Tokyo.
Never in his seven years at Matthew C. Perry’s helm had Mark Lange swept all three Tokyo-area large schools until this weekend. Led by the scoring duo of Tyelor Apple (15 goals) and Andre Bugawan (16), the Samurai completed the three-match sweep with a 3-0 victory Saturday over Zama American.
“Sweet, very sweet,” said Lange, whose Samurai (10-3-1) have the best record in school history. “The kids were focused and played well.”
Chemistry, Lange said, has played the biggest part. Instead of having a handful of players returning, he has 14 this year. “Same kids as last year. They’re a year older, a year wiser,” Lange said.
Having Apple, who transferred from North Carolina, “didn’t hurt,” Lange said.
Perry also won 7-4 at Nile C. Kinnick on Thursday and 3-1 at Yokota on Friday.
Robert D. Edgren’s boys (6-3) weren’t quite as fortunate, but came away with two victories, the last 5-3 at Yokota on Saturday, with Matt Linder leading the way. He had eight goals over the weekend, giving him 15 this season. Edgren also won 5-4 at Zama and lost 7-5 at Kinnick.
“He was scoring hat tricks all over the place,” coach Benjamin Ayres said of Linder, who is being counted on to fill the shoes of Edgren’s career goals leader Brandon Massie, who transferred to Germany.
The one Class A school that came away empty was E.J. King, which fell 6-1 at Kinnick on Saturday. The Cobras also lost 3-2 at Yokota and 1-0 at Zama.
“Maybe this is playing hard now for the payoff later,” coach Steven Casner said.
Seoul American baseball team taking nothing for granted
They’re 4-0, but defending DODEA Korea baseball champion Seoul American is trying to keep things in perspective. Coach Bob Heckerl knows tough tests lie ahead in next month’s Spring Fling on Okinawa and the first Far East tournament in May in Japan.
“We can’t take our record here and assume it’s going to happen over there,” Heckerl said after the Falcons beat Daegu American 17-3 and Osan American 23-1 on Saturday at Camp Walker’s Kelly Field. “Our defense is untested. We make plays, but they don’t come up very often.”
Despite their dominance, “we have a lot of respect for Daegu and Osan,” Heckerl said. Osan won the league two straight years late last decade.
Casey Donovan and Zach Briggs, Seoul’s third and fourth pitchers, got the victories, combining to allow just six hits and two walks while striking out 10 in nine innings.
Seoul American’s girls softball team also improved to 4-0, beating Daegu 20-2 and Osan 10-4. Hannah Swafford hit two home runs and drove in six runs against Daegu. Pitcher Katie Darby and Brittany Davis again got the victories.
“Osan played much better this week, so that we have to go back and practice harder,” Falcons sophomore utility player Amy Rodriguez said.
Kadena snaps 12-game skid against Kubasaki in baseball
Norm Correa struggled for five innings but got the victory and helped himself with the bat, going 3-for-4 with an RBI as Kadena’s baseball team snapped a 12-game losing streak to Kubasaki dating to the 2009 opener. The Panthers edged the Dragons 7-6 Saturday at Chibana Recreation Area.
“We’ve been building up to this,” coach Ken Gamon said of Kadena working on the mental and physical aspects of the game in practice. “They showed what they can do, lived up to their potential. We’ll look to give Kubasaki some more close games this season.”
At Sasebo Naval Base, Zama American’s girls softball express, which had beaten teams by an average of 8.9 runs in four games, ground to a halt Friday in a 6-2 loss at E.J. King. The Trojans rebounded to beat the Cobras 5-2 on Saturday.
Infield errors contributed to Friday’s decline. “Nothing that can’t be fixed,” Trojans coach Parish Jones said.
Former Yokota striker Niescier proving handy with the bat
Having given up his first love, soccer, due to a hip flexor injury, Yokota senior Jimmy Niescier is playing baseball for Yokota this season, and doing quite well with the bat.
He hit a walk-off, two-run home run in Saturday’s doubleheader opener to help the Panthers sweep Zama 5-4 and 10-8. This season, Niescier is batting .727 and is leading the team in singles, doubles, steals and batting average.
“It only hurts when he kicks the ball,” coach Ernie Carrasco said, adding that Niescier chose baseball, his second favorite sport, mainly to stay in shape. He hasn’t played baseball since the eighth grade.
Niescier already has a soccer scholarship to Division II Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania for next fall and “needs to be 100 percent by August,” Carrasco said.