Pipelayers crowned mid-season champs
June 13, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 14, 2012) -- The Fort Rucker Intramural softball season runs through July, but players and fans of the sport didn't have to wait until then for a championship game.
The B Company Pipelayers beat the A Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, Bottom of the Fifths, by winning two straight games for the title of 2012 mid-season champions June 7.
"It was a struggle [to win the mid-season championship], but it was worth it," said Tim Wildes, coach for the Pipelayers. "We've got a lot of talent on this team."
The first game got off to a quick start as the Bottom of the Fifths brought in three runs in the top of the 1st inning -- a feat that the Pipelayers weren't able to match during their time at bat, which brought in only a single run.
The Bottom of the Fifths had the advantage going into the 2nd inning, but were unable to match the momentum they had in the 1st as their opponents didn't allow them to advance by catching every pop fly and line drive, and sent them into the outfield with no runs.
The B Company team had better luck connecting with the ball during their time at bat and hit multiple base hits that brought in a run, but were unable to overtake their opponents.
The Bottom of the Fifths still led their opponents 3-2 going into the next inning, but were unable to keep the ball on the ground as they hit back-to-back pop-ups, which led to early outs in the inning. The early outs didn't stop them, though, and they put two men on the bases before hitting a 3-run home run to widen their lead before the inning ended.
The Pipelayers wouldn't be shown up and they continued to creep up on their opponents and kept them from pulling too far ahead with two runs during their time at bat, staying within striking distance of A Company.
Going into the 4th inning, it was still anybody's game, but the A Company offense seemed too much for the Pipelayers as they pulled ahead by five runs.
During the Pipelayers time at bat, they put man after man on base until the bases were loaded and followed it up with a 2-run shot to center field.
As their confidence began to build, the B Company team started bringing in the runs more consistently and eventually overtook their opponents as they ended the 4th inning up 10-9.
They went into the next inning and played defense as aggressively as their offense and didn't let their opponents advance during their time at bat, which gave the Pipelayers the opportunity to pull further ahead of Bottom of the Fifths.
The A Company team was only facing a 2-run deficit going into the 6th, giving them an opportunity to score some runs and retake the lead. They managed to score a run and stayed on the heels of their opponents, but were unable to overtake the Pipelayers, who continually hit base hits to stay ahead of Bottom of the Fifths.
Hitting base hits was the strategy that seemed to be working for the B Company team, and that's what they stuck to, said Wildes, who also plays shortstop for the team.
"We just wanted to hit the ball and keep the ball on the ground," he said, which allowed them to pull farther away from their opponents as they consistently brought in run after run.
As the 7th inning began, the Bottom of the Fifths had one more chance to score some runs and overtake their opponents to win the championship and hopes seemed high as they brought in three runs during their time at bat, but were unable to pull out a win and sent the teams into a second game for the championship title.
The tournament was a double-elimination tournament, which meant that each team had to lose twice throughout the tournament to be considered out of the running, said Edd Ellis, intramural sports coordinator, adding that the Bottom of the Fifths were undefeated going into the championship game.
As the final game got under way, the Bottom of the Fifths started off strong again as they hit multiple base hits, but only managed to bring in one run for the inning.
The Pipelayers went up to bat with the same aggression they showed in the previous game and continued their base hit strategy that allowed them to bring in seven runs in the 1st inning alone.
But as the Bottom of the Fifths started the next inning with an in-the-park home run followed by a 3-base hit that brought in a run and ended the inning only three runs behind B Company.
It wasn't enough to dampen the spirits of the Pipelayers as they hit a 3-run homerun to regain their commanding lead. They continued to dominate throughout the game as they consistently brought in runs and eventually extended their lead by more than 10 runs, which ended the game in the bottom of the 4th, 17-5.
Despite having played three games the previous night, the Pipelayers were tired but determined to pull out the win, according to Luke James, player for the Pipelayers.
"I'm just really tired," he said. "Last night we played three games and two today -- I used to be in better shape for this kind of stuff, but it's pretty cool that we won."