<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- Mother nature's thunder and lightening that threatened the 2008 Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield Intramural Softball Championship Game at the Squires Sports Complex on Hunter Army Airfield July 30 ceased just in time to start the contest.

Once the game started, it was the bats of Company A, Third Brigade Support Battalion's Outlaws that produced the most significant thunder and lightening.

The only sounds heard over Hunter that day were the three home runs launched by Outlaws players as they put on a hitting clinic enroute to a 31-13 massacre of the 514th Engineer Detachment's Hell Fighters.

After entering the tournament with a perfect 30-0 record, the Hell Fighters won the first game of the double elimination tournament July 28 only to suffer their first defeat of the season by the lopsided score of 15-5 to the Outlaws, July 29. It would take a victory later that evening against the 224th Military Intelligence Battalion for them to stay alive in the tournament.

The Hell Fighters rebounded with a convincing 19-6 triumph over 224 MI to earn the right to face the Outlaws in the championship game Wednesday and to exact some revenge.

After the rain stopped 30 minutes before game time and the Directorate of Morale, Welfare and Recreation staff scampered to get the field in playing shape, three members of the Hell Fighters, who are military and Department of the Army firefighters, got a call to respond to a cooking fire in one of the barracks. The players tended to the matter and returned to the field in time for the opening ceremony.

Perhaps facing a fire was a safer environment for the public servants than facing the fearsome lineup the Outlaws brought with them from Fort Stewart.

The Outlaws jumped out to a quick lead by scoring three times in the top of the first. That lead was short-lived, however, when the Hell Fighters responded by putting up four runs of their own in the bottom of the frame, including a two-run home run by Cody McBrayer.

That power display seemed to get the Outlaws' attention. In the top of the second, the first five Outlaws hitters reached on singles to tie the contest before Tavaris Garritt destroyed the ball for a long grand slam home run. Nathaniel Simmons then doubled and scored on a Sterling Tyler single. Then, Joe Bether reached base on an error by the Hell Fighters' shortstop. Shelton Marshall continued the barrage with a home run of his own to score three more runs. When the dust settled, the Outlaws were up 14-4.

Perhaps complacent, some shoddy play that resulted in two errors and a base-on-balls allowed the Hell Fighters to close 14-6 after two innings.

The Outlaws' bats stayed hot as they scored three in the third and six in the fourth, that featured a home run by Joe Bether with two runners on, to build a commanding 22-7 lead.

"I'd like to have said the wet field, the emergency call that we had to respond to and the fact that two of our players were slightly injured from the previous night's game were factors in the outcome, but, quite frankly, we simply faced a very talented club," said Larry Rhodes, Hell Fighters' player-coach. "We were pretty impressed with them. They hit the ball hard and, unfortunately, we didn't."

Tavaris Garrett was named game MVP as he went five-for-six with a grand slam and two doubles and drove in eight runs. Shelton Marshall stepped up in the championship game with a four-for-six performance that included a homer and double. He drove in five runs as part of the Outlaws blitzkrieg that produced 30 hits.

"Our bats were on fire tonight and we ran the bases aggressively to take advantage of the wet balls the Engineers' outfielders had to try to throw," said Marshall while summarizing the keys to this team's success.

The Hell Fighters took the defeat with class.
"We would have loved to have won the whole thing," Rhodes said. "But we improved greatly from last year and we won the Hunter championship by going undefeated."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16