Twenty-four teams — three times as many as last year, including six from off-island — and not a typhoon to be found anywhere near Okinawa.
Those things have organizers of the 9th Kadena Klassic, a Pacificwide open softball tournament, smiling as the Labor Day weekend approaches.
“We’re glad to see that,” said assistant tournament director Firello White. “We have a lot of teams this year. Hopefully, everybody will enjoy themselves.”
Last year, a typhoon threat forced 18th Services, which sponsors the third leg of the Pacific interservice Grand Slam circuit, to push the tournament back to November, well past the conventional end of the interservice softball season. As a result, only eight teams participated.
That’s why White is heartened by the presence of Japan’s Yokota Samurai, the Camp Humphreys Bulldogs of Korea and Guam’s Andersen Bombers in the 18-team men’s field, along with Yokota, defending champion Iwakuni of Japan and Andersen in the women’s bracket.
Play begins Friday at Kadena’s Four Diamonds Complex, host site of the tournament since its inception in 1995.
For Korea-based teams that are not traveling to Okinawa, Camp Casey is staging a Labor Day tournament for open teams starting Saturday. Like the Kadena Klassic, it runs through midday Monday.