Sapsford leads ASIJ to doubleheader sweep of Kubasaki
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Tyler Sapsford picked up Friday where he left off last May.
The American School In Japan senior right-hander bailed the Mustangs out of a bases-loaded, fifth-inning jam in the opener, getting the save and then picked up the win in the nightcap, as ASIJ swept Kubasaki 10-8 and 13-3.
“He does that a lot. You’ve seen that before,” coach John Seevers said of Sapsford, the reigning D-I Most Valuable Player who has committed to Yale next spring.
Sapsford struck out seven in 2 2/3 innings to close the opener, allowing only one inherited run to score on a wild pitch. He fanned three more in three innings of work in the second game. At the plate, he was 5-for-9 with three doubles, a triple and five RBIs in the doubleheader.
“I was trying to get outs for my team,” Sapsford said of the first-game strikeout binge. “We were feeling the pressure. We won six of seven innings, but to drop the ball in the (fifth) inning was unacceptable.”
What separates good teams from great teams, he said, is to rise up from innings such as that fifth, in which the Dragons scored eight runs to cut a 9-0 deficit to one run.
“We hope to get some more from all of our pitching staff,” he said.
The Dragons’ rally wasn’t a big surprise, Sapsford said.
“They’re well coached,” Sapsford said of longtime Dragons’ coach Randy Toor. “They’re good at capitalizing on our mistakes. They came back and made things fall their way. They really challenged us. It was a good experience for us.”
Toor, likewise, had good things to say about Sapsford.
“He’s a great pitcher, he throws hard, throws a lot of strikes, he’s very confident,” he said. “It’s good to see pitching like that. We hope we see him again at Far East,” scheduled for May 19-21 at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.
The twin bill was part of a weekend exchange of games between Kadena and Kubasaki of Okinawa and ASIJ and St. Mary’s of Tokyo. The Panthers opened their season strong, beating the Titans 12-2 and 9-8.
Yokota edges Edgren
Sapsford wasn’t the only pitcher throwing bullets Friday.
In a pitchers’ duel at Yokota Air Base, Edgren’s Brittany Crown recorded 10 strikeouts to nine for Yokota’s Anysia Torres, but the defending D-II champion Panthers rallied from a 2-0 deficit to edge the Eagles, 4-3. Crown helped herself by batting 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI.
On the pitch
Strikers also had some shining moments on the soccer pitch.
Bryan Wolf netted a hat trick and Scott Flowe had two assists as Kinnick’s boys won 7-1 at Edgren in the Red Devils’ boys season opener. Kiralyn Kawachi scored twice and assisted on another as Kinnick blanked Edgren 5-0.
Sakura Fleming also scored three times and Bobbi Hill added a pair of scores to run her Pacific-leading total to 11 goals, boosting Perry’s girls to an 8-1 win at E.J. King. Reyna Harding had two goals as Seoul American’s girls shut out Taejon Christian 3-0.