Fort Sill commanders out slug CSMs 34-9
August 30, 2012
Fort Sill commanders put on a show of power Aug. 25 at Cannoneer Complex as they easily dispatched the command sergeants major team, 34-9, to retain bragging rights in the annual slo pitch softball game.
The 8 a.m. game started the Lawton-Fort Sill Co-Op softball tourney in which a couple new teams joined the slugfest. The teams together comprise the Soldiers picked to attend the 2012 All Army softball camp here. They will compete to make the final 15-man roster and play in the Armed Forces Softball Championship.
But the game of speed, power and finesse played by master softball craftsmen would wait until after the grudge match pitting the officers against the enlisted leaders.
The Commanders emphatically posted the order of the day as they hung a baker's dozen in the top of the first inning. By the time the CSMs recorded the inning's first out, six base runners crossed home plate and three more filled the bases. Shaun Lott then sent two more home with a line shot single up the middle, and after 13 runs on 13 hits and a few errors the rout was on.
"Sometimes you win, and sometimes you don't; today we showed good teamwork that resulted from the practice we put in," said Maj. Gen. James McDonald, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general. "The sergeant majors did great, but it was just our year."
The CSMs responded in the bottom of the first as two runners reached base before Michael Arnold strode to the plate. Arnold hit a hot grounder down the third baseline, but third-sacker Steven Carpenter knocked the ball down, picked it up in his bare hand and scrambled on his hands and knees to tag the bag before the base runner Sam Young slid in kicking up a plume of powdery dry dirt. Despite this play-of-the-game highlight, Timothy Hockenberry hit a rocket to left center and sprinted around the bases. Those three runs were all the CSMs could muster, but with the score 13-3, they were still in the game.
The rampaging Commanders shelled their opponents in the second scoring 10 more runs on nine hits. Alfredo Najera drove in two with a single and Donald Fryc knocked in another three with a base hit.
Fryc then took the mound and shutdown the CSMs 1-2-3 in the bottom of the second. Shortstop Brian Dunn turned in another Commanders' defensive gem as he kept his eye on an infield fly ball and overcame the swirling winds to make a nifty basket catch.
The CSMs answered in the top of the third shutting out the Commanders juggernaut to keep the score 23-3. In the home half of the third they needed at least one run to keep the game going. Tourney rules stated a 20-run lead after three innings ended the game as did a 15-run lead after four innings and a 10-run lead after five.
John Hale provided enough offense as he lined the ball on a one-hop carom off the left centerfield fence. By time the fielder fired the ball back into the infield, Hale had circled the bases. Still, the CSMs trailed 23-6.
The fourth inning would have passed quietly except for a high-pitched voice of Catherine Roller who shouted her encouragement as her daddy, Joseph Roller, stepped to the plate.
"She is by far the most boisterous of the Roller clan and my oldest daughter in the Roller cheering section," said Joseph, who added the rowdy bunch included his wife, Toni, and children, Michael, Elizabeth, Sarah and Lillian.
Command Sgt. Maj. Dwight Morissey, FCoE and Fort Sill CSM, and CSM team member, said seeing the families cheering at the game gave everyone a little extra boost to play hard.
"It's also a testament to the environment we have here at Fort Sill when you see this early in the morning families coming out to watch," he added.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Commanders shortstop again showed any ball hit in his direction turned into an out, or in this case, a "Dunn deal." Dunn snagged a liner off the bat of Young and though the neon yellow of the ball showed like snow cone in the webbing, he held on. This drew some razzing from the CSM bench, and Dunn responded with a little gesture pointing at his eyes then the scoreboard to remind the CSMs which team was taking care of business.
"It's all in good spirit, but when you make an amazing athletic play like that, it completely demoralizes the other team, especially when they are having age and geriatric issues," said the affable Dunn.
He said games like this strengthen bonds and camaraderie between the two leadership groups and remind all how well the commanders and CSMs get along at Fort Sill.
"Even so we give each other a hard time every chance we get," he said, "but at the end of the day we're always there for each other."
Another lengthy Commanders' at bat produced a slew of runs which led to the final score and an early end to the contest under the mercy rule.
Morrisey said the CSMs fielded a lot of new faces and didn't have as much opportunity to practice as they did in recent years. Still, he sounded optimistic for 2013.
"We'll get after them next year," he said.
Until then he expected there will be a lot of trash talking, and it wouldn't wait until Monday morning. Morissey was expected for dinner at the McDonald's, in this case his boss's house.
"I'm sure they will be prepared to harass us a bit," said Morissey, who added it was all good fun and good competition.
Tra Vick, Commanders' coach, said the CSMs are always a good group to get together with.
"They like to talk a little smack to us," he said. "I was told to demoralize our opponent, and I believe we did that."