News: Baseball builds bonds: Okinawan, Marine baseball teams compete
Story by Lance Cpl. Mike Granahan
CAMP FOSTER, Japan - Marines with III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations Pacific hosted a friendly game of baseball with Okinawan college students at Camp Foster Oct. 11.
The Marine all-star baseball team hosted the Social Original Local Academy baseball team to continue building rapport with the local community.
Baseball is a great way to bring Marines and Okinawans together since it is a pastime shared by both cultures, according to Sgt. Maj. Dave Maddux, the sergeant major of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The people of Okinawa and Marines may have cultural differences, but they all disappear on the baseball field, according to Hiroshi Yurino, the captain of the Okinawan team. Being able to play together helps keep the relationship close, added Yurino.
The two teams, having learned the game on opposite sides of the globe, had very different styles of play. The factor most noticed by the Japanese players was the power Marines showed when batting, not to mention their sheer physical size, according to Yurino.
The Marines observed that the Japanese style of play stuck closely to the basics and was very successful, according to Maddux.
“The Okinawans are fundamentally sound,” said Maddux. “They’re not going to make a lot of errors.”
Despite their power, the Marines were defeated 7-5 by the Okinawans in the friendly match.
“Japanese society loves to play baseball, and the Okinawans lived up to that today. They’re great ball players,” said Sgt. Corey G. Drake, a telephone systems and personal computer intermediate repairer with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 18, Marine Air Control Group 18, 1st MAW, III MEF.
The two teams came together after the game and enjoyed each other’s company off the field.
“After the game, we shared food and drinks,” said Yurino. “We all are very appreciative of (the Marines’) kindness. I hope to be invited again and look forward to the next opportunity we get to play together.”
Drake and Maddux agreed that they are looking forward to another friendly competition with the Okinawan team in the future.