ASC knocks itself out of championship tourney with homer

By Jon Connor
ASC Public Affairs

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - The ball soared over the fence, but it was one homer too many.

The slam into left-centerfield kept the Army Sustainment Command from progressing during the first game against Granite City in the two-day post softball league championship double-elimination tournament Sept. 13. The final score was 12-10.

League softball rules state that only three fence-clearing home runs are allowed by a team in one game. After that, offenders forfeit the game.

Later that night, the Triple B's pounded Brac Attack 22-6 to take the championship in only four innings. Granite City (a regional restaurant sponsored team) finished third overall.

Just back from the All-Army men's softball tryouts to help his ASC teammates was Andre James, a sergeant first class who serves as an automated logistics specialist. While he didn't make the Army team this year, he did bring renewed inspiration to his team.

James, who started playing softball 19 years ago when he joined the Army, also was selected for All-Army team try-outs in 2007, but didn't make it.

"I was hitting, but not consistently," he said of the tryouts prior to the game. I needed "more consistent hitting. That's my Achilles."

But this night he had a different goal.

"I thought I would come out and win a championship," the sure-handed right-center fielder said.

Overall, ASC fought well most of the game, taking an early 4-2 lead in the top of the second inning. By the third, the lead increased 6-2, but Granite City took advantage of some ASC fielding errors to narrow the difference.

The tide turned in the fourth as ASC fell behind 7-6. The scored changed again but remained close, with the sixth inning ending 12-8 with Granite City on top.
Then in the seventh, ASC scored two runs and had a runner on first when a batter hit the ball over the fence ending the game as a forfeit.

Player-coach Ken Fairley, a master sergeant with the same military job as James, said ASC lost due to "simple errors."

He said there were too many "mental errors" and bobbled balls. Those errors "gave them [Granite City] at least three or four run runs," Fairley said.

"I think we fielded a real strong team" [tonight], the "strongest team all year," Fairley said.

Those words weren't just hype. Fairley's credentials include being selected for the All-Army men's softball team nine times starting in 1991 and ending in 2001. He also served as the All-Army men's team assistant coach in 2006, All-Army women's team assistant coach in 2007 and head coach in 2008.

About James, Fairley said this: "Great ball player. He didn't play arrogant. He came back from All-Army try-outs ... great team player."

Ending their season 9-7, Fairley said, ASC had to forfeit some games because it couldn't field enough players.

"We beat all these teams," he said of the season that began in May.

The tournament began Aug. 30 and finished up Sept. 13. A total of eight teams comprised the league. There were three teams made up of all military personnel and five other teams that consisted of mainly Department the Army civilians, contractors and military retirees with a small percentage of community civilians, a RIA Fitness Center employee said.

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