By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderDecember 19, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- When the proverbial dust had settled Friday at the Solomon Center, MEDDAC had won this year's coveted Commander's Cup.
When MACH Commander Col. Mark Higdon took the podium to accept the award, though, his gratitude was directed toward Cindi Keene, the post intramural sports coordinator.
"I'd like to give credit to Miss Keene and what she's done," Higdon said. "She's all over this post, sending out reminders about games that are coming up. We had a great time this year. I know everyone sitting in this room did. It's a pleasure to receive the trophy, but it's a pleasure to participate in what we get to do here on Fort Jackson. And I want to thank everyone for that."
The event's guest speaker was Jerry Myers, associate baseball head coach for the University of South Carolina. He shared the stories of two athletes recruited into the baseball program at USC, only to find they had previously untapped strengths.
The first player joined the team as a hitter, but discovered his abilities as a pitcher far surpassed his mediocre skills with the bat. Even when he was able to help the team win games with his arm, he still thought of those games as anomalies in his career.
"He still said he was a hitter first, he wasn't really a pitcher," Myers said. "The next two years, he proceeded to be our number-one pitcher. He went 20 starts in a row without a miss for two years running, which is almost impossible. He has as many accolades as a college baseball pitcher as you can have in the program."
He has since been called up to the major leagues.
"He finally admits he's not a hitter, he's a pitcher," Myers said.
Another player started all four years of his college career without distinguishing himself, he said. Myers spoke about a consistent, if unspectacular baseball player that could play second base. He ended every season under the impression he would be replaced the following year by a more versatile player, but kept finding his name on the roster as it was published each year.
"He kept on playing and started all four years, but never really hit until his senior year," Myers said. "He ended up having a great last year. We couldn't find anyone to replace him: he had the grit, had the character that we couldn't take out of our lineup. (He) ended up being the MVP of the 2012 College World Series, and is playing in the minor league system with the L.A. Dodgers now."
Myers said the team's realistic approach to nurturing talent has been a key factor in its success.
"That's what our program's been all about," he said. "It's a little more 'blue collar' than some of the other programs in the country. We call ourselves the Average Joes, even after the College World Series a couple of years ago. We're just a bunch of guys that got along and pulled together, and we pride ourselves on our program that way."
Runner Up: 1/34th
Basketball Sportsmanship Award: Staff Sgt. Robert Gibson, 171st
Runner Up: 187th
Runner Up: SSI
Runner Up: 2/13th
Runner Up: Heavy Hitters
Overall Male: Sgt. 1st Class Jason Diaz - 1/34th
Overall Female: DS Marilyn Rattler - 2/39th
Runner Ups: RRS (TSB)
Runner Up: 2/60th
Softball Awards: Staff Sgt. Brian Kirschner and Sgt. Maideah Afrika
Commander's Cup Bowling
Runner Up: Unit - 17th MP's
Master Sgt. Xavier Terrell (has won High Game and High Series 3 years in a row)
Runner Up: 1/34th
Champs: 17th MP's
Volleyball Award: 1SG Richard Healy
Runner Up: 17th MPs along with 4/10th
Champs: 175th Maintenance (second year in a row)
Football Award: Staff Sgt. Ricardo Williams "Speedy Gonzalez"
Champions: MEDDAC (2,094 points)
Runner Up: SSI (1,302 points)
3rd Place: 187th (1,197 points)