Heavy rain and lightning Saturday forced a delay in the Pacificwide Open Softball Tournament at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea.
Twelve women’s and 10 men’s round-robin games were pushed to Sunday, the day pool play was to be completed and the double-elimination playoffs were to begin. Play was to resume at 6 a.m. and continue until the tournament is completed Monday afternoon, organizer Bennie Jackson announced Saturday afternoon.
Jackson cited as reasons for calling off play the heavy weather and safety issues brought on by wet grounds and by an electrical storm that moved into the Seoul area at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Rain began falling early Saturday morning and became heavy at around 9 a.m. Play was suspended about 90 minutes later and delayed almost three hours until the rain halted and the fields could be made playable.
But three games after play resumed, around 4:20 p.m., the heavens opened up again and lightning became visible 10 minutes later. Jackson called off play at 4:40 p.m.
“It was slippery out there,” said pitcher Samantha Blaine of the Osan Mustangs women’s post-level team, which was losing 12-1 in the fourth inning of a game against Air Force Plus One that was suspended.
Blaine hit an inside-the-park homer to left-center field that accounted for Osan’s lone run of the contest. While excited about possibly scoring a run, Blaine admitted to apprehension that she might fall and injure herself.
“You run your hardest,” she said, “and pray for your chances of getting around the bases.”
“It’s indescribable,” said second baseman Eric Schaarschmidt of Korea’s Kunsan Wolf Pack after they beat 2/2 Aviation 20-4 just before play was halted in the morning.
Added Kunsan third baseman Tim Haag: “You have to come to terms with the fact that you’re going to get wet, you’re going to get dirty and to just do it. It’s a deep love for the game.”
The possibility of pulling a muscle or breaking a bone on a slippery field, always is a concern, Haag said, but “that’s already in play just by being out there. It doesn’t have to be wet. We’ve done this long enough that we can adjust” to the conditions.
Following the morning suspension of play and the afternoon postponement, players and teams took a few moments to take running starts and slide into the bases. Osan’s women as a group charged and slid into home just for laughs.
“It was fun,” said former All-Army shortstop Greg Zayas of the International Guzzlers. He broke up a double play by sliding into second base, then splashed his way into the dugout during the Guzzlers’ 32-3 pounding of Suwon Air Base. “Any time you score 30 runs in the rain, it’s fun.”
Lowly Humphreys upsets Okinawa’s American Legion
American Legion of Okinawa has won the tournament once and been to the title game three times but Camp Humphreys of South Korea hasn’t gotten a whiff of either in the tournament’s 16-year history.
Though Saturday’s 18-2 upset of Legion by the Bulldogs came in round-robin play, it gave a big lift to the team, said former All-Army player Rob Surber.
“We have a stronger team this year, and some of our returning players are stepping up,” he said, adding that the Bulldogs tend to play a “game within a game” against each other, wanting to see who can outdo the other. “That helps us.”
Humphreys’ pedestrian history in the tournament “removes a lot of pressure,” Surber said. “We don’t have expectations. Some people wonder why our good players don’t play for the Guzzlers or for one of the international teams. We’d rather play as a post team. It’s more fun this way, and more challenging.”
16th Pacificwide Open Softball Tournament
At Lombardo Field FourPlex and Field 5, South Post, Yongsan Garrison, South Korea
Men’s Pool A
International Guzzlers, South Korea 4-0
Club Red, Okinawa 3-1
Camp Red Cloud, South Korea 2-1
Taegu, South Korea 1-2
Suwon Air Base, South Korea 0-2
Aviation, Yongsan Garrison, S. Korea 0-4
International Guzzlers 28, Taegu 1
Camp Red Cloud 7, Aviation 0
International Guzzlers 19, Club Red 15
Club Red 18, Taegu 10
International Guzzlers 32, Suwon Air Base 3
Men’s Pool B
Heat 3N2, S. Korea and Taiwan 3-0
Los Guzzleros, S. Korea and Ft. Lewis, Wash. 2-1
Camp Casey, South Korea 2-1
Yokota Air Base, Japan 2-2
Geckos Glaciers, Seoul 0-2
Military Police, Yongsan, S. Korea 0-3
Heat 3N2 22, Los Guzzleros 2
Los Guzzleros 19, Yokota 17
Camp Casey 20, Military Police 3
Heat 3N2 24, Yokota 1
Men’s Pool C
Osan Air Base, S. Korea 3-0
American Legion, Okinawa 2-1
Camp Humphreys, South Korea 2-1
18th Med. Command, Yongsan, S. Korea 1-2
Jeff’s Fitness Sumos, Tokyo 1-2
CSAS, Chinhae Naval Base, S. Korea 0-3
American Legion, Okinawa, 25, CSAS Chinhae Naval Base 5
Osan Air Base 17, 18th Medical Command 0
American Legion 22, Sumos 2
Jeff’s Fitness Sumos 22, CSAS Chinhae Naval Base 4
Camp Humphreys 18, American Legion 2
Men’s Pool D
Yongsan Garrison, S. Korea 3-0
Kadena Air Base, Okinawa 3-0
Wonju/Camp Long, S. Korea 1-1
Kunsan Air Base, S. Korea 1-2
Signal, Yongsan Garrison, S. Korea 1-2
2/2 Aviation, S. Korea 0-3
Kadena Air Base 12, Kunsan Air Base 2
Yongsan Garrison 20, Signal 4
Kunsan Air Base 20, 2/2 Aviation 4
Kadena Air Base 19, 2/2 Aviation 3
Women’s Pool A
Kyongbuk National Team, S. Korea 4-0
Yongsan Garrison, S. Korea 2-0
Kadena Air Base, Okinawa 2-2
Sang Ji University, Seoul 2-2
Kunsan Air Base, S. Korea 1-2
Misawa Air Base, Japan 1-2
Taegu, South Korea 0-4
Kadena Air Base 16, Kunsan Air Base 1
Kyongbuk 14, Sang Ji University 11
Misawa Air Base 18, Taegu 10
Women’s Pool B
Busan, South Korea 4-0
Yard Busters, Okinawa 4-0
Osan Air Base, S. Korea 3-1
Air Force Plus One 3-2
Vixens, Okinawa 1-2
Camp Casey, S. Korea 0-3
Camp Humphreys, S. Korea 0-3
Pyongtaek, S. Korea 0-4
Vixens 8, Pyongtaek 3
Air Force Plus One 22, Pyongtaek 1
Busan 17, Camp Casey 0
Yard Busters 10, Air Force Plus One 0
Busan 24, Camp Humphreys 8
Yard Busters 21, Osan Air Base 2