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SOFTBALL SWINGING FOR THE POHNPEI SUN

Guam’s men and women of softball can only hope for sunny skies as they look to swing their way towards gold in the 2014 Micro Games in Pohnpei.

By Robert Balajadia

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Guam has had many legends of softball who have made their names in the Micro Games and other international competitions. This year in the 2014 games in Pohnpei, some of the greats will still suit up for the men’s team while the women’s team is getting a youthful revamp as both squads aim to bounce back from their 2010 outing.

A Game of Legends

Guam softball took a big hit in the 2010 Micro Games after mother nature, as she often does on Guam, rudely interrupted the games forcing the mens team to jump straight into a single elimination tournament after just one game where they only managed to get silver.

The feeling out process that occurs in pool play is vital to a team who is trying to study their opponent given and not given that formality admittedly hurt Guam in the long run.

“The weather wasn’t great and we’re hoping this year is going to be better. They moved the games from August to July this year to try and avoid the rain in August so hopefully it should help,” said player coach Walter Hattig.

The mens team has whole list of veteran players and the experience should give them an edge over the other competitors.

Men’s 2014 Softball Team

Walter Hattig (player coach)
John Hattig
Herbert Hattig
Keith Hattig
Benji Pangelinan
Patrick Alvarez
Laurence Idelbong
Simon Jones
Roque Munoz
Peterson Guerrero
Peter Guerrero
Teddy B. Concepcion

The team has been in full swing since January and their involvement in baseball and softball before the games has only been an added bonus. Hattig also explained that the heat should not be a problem since the team runs full practices during the hottest parts of the day.

“When we practice hard and just play the game the way it’s going to be played, in the end, it’s going to pay off,” added Hattig.

Walter will be one of many Hattigs on the roster and the family bond they share on the field is exercised in every aspect of the game from training hard at practice to understanding their roles on the team. To the naked eye, the brothers approach the game with laser focus, but in each others eyes they’re only enjoying the game.

“We have a lot of fun,” laughed Hattig. “We have played a lot of fast pitch softball in our younger days and they understand my role as coach and they understand their roles on the team. They always give 110% from every practice to every game.”

The boys behind the bat will be one of the teams to keep an eye on as Guam looks to make a clean gold sweep in the 2014 games.

Women’s Youth Stars & Reliable Veterans

The Women’s softball team will be joining the large pool of Guam athletes who are making their Micro Season debut, though these youngins’ might be the cornerstone for the future of the sport.

Misty Palomo, wife of Baseball’s slugger Jared Palomo, is a veteran on the team and even she is impressed with all the teams younger stars, namely Tamisha Fejeran who is coming off a stellar senior year winning a baseball title being the only girl on the team and a softball title for the Southern Dolphins, their fight straight.

“[Tamisha] has a lot of natural talent,” said Palomo of her newest teammates. “The great thing about our young players is they’re positive and willing to learn and proud to represent Guam. We gel together and we always have a good time during practice.”

The 2014 Girls Softball Team

The 2014 Girls Softball Team

The veterans on the squad are taking the high road and are welcoming the aspect of being looked at as a role model for the younger girls on the team.

“I’m doing this to show our younger girls that they can do it and I’m just proud to be able to keep up with them,” admitted Palomo. “It’s a really great feeling to be a part of.”

Women’s 2014 Softball Team

Coach: Vicki Quenga
Asst Coach: Robyn Masnayon
Camarin Muna
Misty Palomo
Meilani Quintanilla
Maynesha “Swiftie” Villagomez
Devonna Palomo
Justine Laanan
Ashley Arcangel
Loyola Rivera
Nicole “Koko” Cruz
Merced Flores
Danielle Preuc
Celeene Mendiola
Tamisha Fejeran
Kristin Uson

Long practices seem like a must for team Guam and the softball team makes no exceptions. Mother nature also butts heads with these girls so getting field time often leads to lengthy, but well orchestrated sessions.

“We started practicing every Tuesday and Thursday, but since the games were approaching we now do three times a week and won’t leave till almost 10 at night. It’s exhausting, but it goes by fast. We really want to get gold,” said Palomo

What appears to be looming around Pohnpei as the opening ceremony for the games approach are nasty rain clouds that could push into the week of play for all the teams. If that’s the case, the outside sports might take a hit in scheduling, or even worst, force the girls to play in the wet conditions while trying to avoid injury.

“If there is a wet field then it will be a problem for us. The biggest thing for us is to stay healthy and if the umpire says we can still play in a wet field then we have to be careful. Hopefully the weather doesn’t affect us,” added Palomo.

So boil rocks, sing any rain-away medley you know, and pray for sun so team Guam can shine in Pohnpei!

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