By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMay 12, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The 2017 Fort Rucker Intramural Softball Season is in full swing and teams aren't just playing around when it comes to working toward the championship title.
The 1st Battalion, 223rd Aviation Regiment Spartans took on the Mighty Melonheads, a team made up of Soldiers from multiple units, at the Fort Rucker softball fields May 9, but it would be the Spartans who would dominate to take the win, 19-6, in a game that didn't feature the Melonheads starting off on the right foot.
"I thought we played well," said CW2 Nathaniel Strand, coach for the Spartans. "Everybody was out there hustling, and we all worked together, stayed positive and got the win. We just had that Spartan morale."
The Spartans took to the plate first and it was easy going for the 1-223rd as the Melonheads' pitcher had a tough time getting into the game with two walks to start, making room for a two-base hit to bring in the Spartans' first run early on.
They followed up with another base hit to bring in their second run, and although a pop up to center field gave them their first out, a string of walks by the Melonheads' pitcher kept a steady stream of runners on base for the 1-223rd.
With the combination of walks and base hits, the Spartans continued to bring in run after run as they managed to keep the ball on the ground and out of the hands of their opponents, gaining them a 10-point lead with their first at bat before a string of pop flies ended their streak.
Down by 10 runs on their first at bat, the Melonheads had their work cut out for them, but they didn't have much luck with their first two batters who were out with a play at first and a pop up to center field.
They managed to get a base hit to get a runner on base, but things weren't looking good with two outs. Despite being down, the Melonheads weren't giving up, and managed a triple to bring in their first run and get on the scoreboard, but that would be the extent of their advance for the inning.
The 1-223rd came back to the plate with a base hit to start, but the Melonheads halted their advance with a play at second, immediately followed by a double play and second and first, quickly sending the Spartans back into the outfield scoreless for the inning.
This gave the Melonheads' a chance to turn the game around, and they managed to get runners on base. They kept the ball on the ground for base hits to bring a runner in and load the bases with 2 outs, but once again they couldn't keep their momentum going and were sent back into the outfield, behind 10-2.
The Spartans once again took to the plate going into the third determined to extend their lead, but they couldn't match their first inning success and quickly accumulated three outs as their opponent stepped up its defense.
Slowly but surely, the Melonheads seemed to be making up ground, and although they got two outs with their first two batters of the inning, they managed a double and a shot to left field to bring in another run before a pop fly ended their time at the plate, down 10-3.
The 1-223rd still held a comfortable lead going into the fourth, but weren't off to a good start with two outs early on, but they managed to break their scoreless streak and bring in a run to extend their lead, 11-3, before heading back into the field.
With the pressure mounting, Melonheads needed to step up their game and average better than a run per inning, but the Spartans had other plans and tightened their defense, ending the Melonheads' time at the plate with their first scoreless inning in three innings.
The Spartans continued to outpace their opponents, and although the Melonheads managed to slowly close the scoring gap, coming within six runs of their opponents at the bottom of the fifth, 12-6, the 1-223rd came back in the sixth to show they weren't playing around.
The Spartans took to the final inning with base hit after base hit, bringing in multiple runs before loading the bases that set them up for an in-the-park grand slam, bringing in four runs and solidifying their lead to 19-6.
Time wasn't on the Melonheads' side as the game clock had less than 1 minute when they took to the plate, and the game ended with the Spartans on top.