Team Torii defeated the CLC-36 Dragons with a score of 8-7 in an eight-inning intramural softball game at the Penny Lake softball fields here June 22.
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Bruce L. Best Jr., Torii short stop, gave Torii its first base runner with a single.
Jamie L. Mohn, Torii pitcher, drove Best home with a double to center field.
Two high-hanging fly balls resulted in two quick outs for Torii before it was able to bring two more runners home in the first inning.
Next up to the plate, was Adam J. Sanders, Torii outfielder.
Sanders hit a fly ball to center field. T
he CLC-36 outfielders misplaced the ball, resulting in Mohn and Sanders running home. Matt O. Yevtich, Torii centerfielder, popped up to center ending the inning.
The Dragons took the plate at the bottom of the first.
Samuel L. Operle, CLC-36 Dragons first baseman, made several foul balls during his time at plate, but was eventually walked to first base.
Steven E. Regan, Dragons centerfielder, was up next to bat. Regan hit a single to left field. Operle sprinted to third base as the ball sailed to the left field ,but was thrown out by the outfielder.
Darrin W. Sellers, Dragons third baseman, hit a double to center field.
Kameron D. Olson, Dragons right fielder, brought the two runners home with a line drive between second and third base. The Dragons were able to tack on another run, ending the inning in a 3-3 tie.
Strong winds from the second inning to the end made hitting fly balls difficult.
Many times throughout the game, several fly balls were ruled as foul balls because of strong wind gusts.
“The wind definitely affected our play,” said Best. “It was hard to communicate with each other because of it,” he added.
The wind also caused many deep fly balls to hang in the air longer, allowing both teams opportunities to pick off hits, resulting in neither team making any more runs home during the rest of the second inning. The score stood 3-3.
During the top of the third inning, Torii came out on top with three runs ahead of the CLC-36 Dragons.
With two players out and Roy L. Clayton, Torii short stop, and Shaun A. Whitecavage, Torii third baseman, on second and third base, Ryan A. Lenac, Torii second baseman, hit a double fly ball deep to center field, bringing both players home and made the score 5-3.
Mohn was able to drive Lenac home during his plate appearance.
The score was now 6-3.
The Dragons refused to be beat down and responded in kind by posting two runs in the bottom of the third, making the score 6-5 at the end of the third.
The tension was high for the next several innings as the two teams were stood at a stalemate neither one accepting defeat.
Both teams tried going for deep hits to the outfield, but strong winds fought against them and continued to hang the balls high in the air allowing the outfielders easy pickings or turning the fly balls into fouls.
“Our hitting was our biggest weakness,” said Wylie L. Rakestraw, Torii first baseman. “We couldn’t string enough hits together.”
Feeling the tension in the air, both dugouts shouted advice, telling batters to aim for line drives and not fly balls.
It wasn’t until the eighth inning when both teams used that advice.
Torii used a series of line drives to bring home two runners, Keith A. Applegate, Torii relief hitter, and Whitecavage.
Torii now stood ahead with a score of 8-5.
The Dragons had one final opportunity to win at the bottom of the eighth inning.
Through a series of line drives and miscommunication cues by Torii in the outfield, the CLC-36 Dragons were able to bring two runners home, making the score 8-7.
The CLC-36 Dragons were not able to get any more runners home.
Torii stepped up its defense, making several diving catches to hold off the Dragons.
At the conclusion of the game, both teams gave their reactions to such a close game.
“It gets nervous in games like this,” said Delshan R. Martinez, Dragons shortstop. “We managed to tie it up,” he said. “We’ve got to stay focused in games like this.”
Torii, on the other hand, felt its production was not where it should be. “Eight runs was the fewest runs we’ve had all seasons,” said Rakestraw. “That’s frustrating. But close-knit games like this make us play better as a team,” he added.
This game was one of the last regular season games before the playoffs, which started Tuesday.