Local girl rising softball star in Japan

American Samoa born Kelly Osterbrink, who attends Kinnick High School in Japan, was recently named the Stars and Stripes Pacific High School girls softball player of the year. [photo: Jeff Hayner]

American Samoan born Kelly Osterbrink, has recently made a name for herself in the sport of softball in a country that loves the game—Japan. Finishing up her 2012-2013 Junior year at Kinnick High School, home of the Red Devils in Yokosuka, she helped lead her high school girls softball team — thanks to her pitching — to the Far East Division I tournament title win over defending champions, Kadena last month.
Osterbrink, along with fellow teammate Grace Huezo, helped their Red Devils win all 27 of their games while leading them to win their second consecutive Department of Defense Dependent schools (DoDDS) Japan tournament in March, which led them last month to their first Far East Division I championship. Thanks to her regular season performance and her pitching a complete game in the Far East Division I finals against Kadena for a 2-1 victory, Osterbrink was named the Stars and Stripes Pacific High School girls softball Player of the Year.
“I want to thank everyone who helped me learn the game of softball and thank Victor Langkilde who helped me out so much,” said Osterbrink. She played her Freshman and Sophomore year here in the territory for Fa’asao Marist High School where she helped her Cougars win the American Samoa High School Athletic Association (ASHSAA) softball championship title in  2011-2012, when she was named ASHSAA Softball MVP.
“For all of the young softball players in American Samoa," she says, " keep up the good work and practice, practice and practice."
"And always remember to keep up with your academics,” she added.
According to her mother, Rona Osterbrink, her daughter started playing softball in the 5th grade in the state of Illinois and she played there until the 7th grade, when she was first coached by her father Jody Osterbrink.
In her 8th grade year, she went to Japan where her father works as a contractor for the United States Navy and not long after, she returned to American Samoa where she attended Fa’asao Marist for two years. She then returned to Japan for her Junior year of high school.
Her mother stated that she is very proud of her daughter and spoke about the importance of parent involvement with their children in their activities—but not to push them to much, she said.
 “The softball players here are very strong with strong pitching arms. They just need to work on their technique more,” said her mother.
In a recent article written by the Stars and Stripes online, www.stripes.com, concerning Osterbrink and the Far East Division I finals victory, head coach of the Red Devils, Katrina Kemper said, “She is a very special athlete. She is a pretty spectacular pitcher and she is a fantastic hitter". Coach Kemper added, "What sets her apart from most pitchers, is not her speed, but her ability to locate pitches”.
In the Far East championship game according to the website, she allowed only four hits, no walks and struck out six batters. Only once did Osterbrink leave a ball up in the strike zone, which resulted in a Kadena hit and the Panthers only run, that came in the third inning. Another thing that Kemper values about Osterbrink, who will be back for her Senior season, is her ability to motivate, said the article. “It makes the team better. She gets the kids motivated to work harder. I am absolutely happy to have her,” said Kemper.
The schools website, www.kinnick-hs.pac.dodea.edu, says that Nile C. Kinnick High School (also called Yo-Hi), is on the scenic Miura Peninsula at Yokosuka Naval Base, Yokosuka, Japan, about a one-hour train ride south of Tokyo.
Gordon and Jeannette Yamasaki of Tafuna are the proud grandparents of the rising softball star, and Samoa News would like to congratulate the family as Kelly departs the territory tonight to return to Japan.


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