April 25, 2011 Pohnpei, FSM-The Pohnpei slow pitch softball season is in full swing with its first three games played tonight at the Spanish Wall ball park beginning at 6:00. The teams registered for three different leagues, the Nutrena League that has 32 teams, the Department League which has 10 teams and the Women's Open League which is fielding 16 teams for a total of 58 teams. The Nutrena and Women's Open League were divided into two pools each and team captains began to draw lots at 5:00 for pool assignments.
The teams that played on that evening didn't know for sure that they would be playing but were asked to show up "just in case." All 1027 participants from 58 teams were scheduled to show up in case their team drew a lot that said they would play one of the first three games that night.
Because of the uncertainty regarding whether or not they would be playing it could well be that the outcomes of the first night were not at all indicative of what the competitive future of those teams might be.
Leon Panuelo, Jr., President of the Softball Association of Pohnpei said that not all of the teams or team members showed up.
Selected for the first game of the season from the Nutrena League were "Black Sand" and "Try Luck." "Black Sand" beat "Try Luck" with a comfortable end score of 9 to 7 in that game.
The Women's Open League played next and team "COM Babes" slipped by team "Ainokea" in a close 5 to 4 game.
The Department League finished up the evening with the "Nett District Government" team completely dominating "PATSCO" with a final score of 14 to 7.
Three games are scheduled for each Monday through Friday evening beginning at 5:30. Nine games are scheduled to begin at noon on each Sunday.
Rules have been modified from traditional softball rules to allow for streamlined play in order to accommodate the large number of players and the fact that there is only one venue where games will be played. For example, batters come to the plate with the count already at 1 and 1, one ball and one strike. Also, the rule that says that a player cannot "strike out" with a foul ball was changed and several batters we watched on opening night were retired to the bench with a foul ball as their third strike. (Complete rules can be viewed at www.isf.com.)
Though on the first night, most players did not have uniforms all team members are required to have uniforms by their second game. The league is operating on a "no pay no play" policy. All teams are required to have paid their fees by their second game. For the Nutrena league the team fee is $150. The Department league carries a $200 fee, and the Women's Open League requires a fee of $100.
The Softball Association of Pohnpei in conjunction with the Pohnpei Sports Development Office is coordinating the slow pitch softball tournament. Nutrena is the major sponsor of the tournaments.
Members of the Softball Association of Pohnpei include Leon Panuelo, Jr., Jose Joab, Trevane Eisiel, Daisy Nanpei-Cantero, Fritz Mendiola, Patterson Anson, and Edgar Edgar.