FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (May 12, 2011) -- Last year, the 704th Military Intelligence Brigade trotted into the sunset with the intramural softball championship trophy.

The 2011 season, however, picked up on a very different note for the team, as they were mercy-ruled in the fourth inning to fall 26-11 at the hands of the Coast Guard.

The Division I intramural softball league opened the season Monday with the 704th and the Coast Guard matchup at Donahue Field.

Recently, the 704th has taken a hold on the intramural sports -- winning the intramural football and softball championships the past two years.

"We play together well as a team," said Chris Lambert of the 704th. "Even when we get down we stay together."

Lambert is expecting six or seven players and coaches to return from last year's team, but won't know for sure until personal schedules are worked out.

The early season isn't much of a concern for Lambert and the 704th as they turn it up for the post championship tournament.

"We use the regular season to get ready for the post championship tournament and see where we are," he said.

Kevin Koski of the Coast Guard team said it would take some time to knock the rust off of the team's game, as many members have not played since last season. Koski predicted it would take about four or five innings to get into the swing of the game.

For the four years Koski has played with the Coast Guard, the team has always been strongest in the field. This year may break the trend as they took down the defending champions in the batter's box.

In the first inning the Coast Guard struggled in the field and allowed five runs. The 704th's offensive attack was led by Kurt Schomaker, who drove in two runs.

The Coast Guard matched the 704th's intensity, also putting up five runs in the inning. Dylan Ruston tied the game with a base hit that brought in Tim O'Donell and Mike Kenney.

Stephen DuPerre broke the tie in the second inning as his double drove in the go-ahead run. Down 6-5, the Coast Guard was unable to get much going in the second inning and could not bring in Koski, who was stranded on first.

The Coast Guard defense continued to build its strength as the 704th went three-up, three-down in the top of the third. In the bottom of the inning, Coast Guard really got the bats swinging -- putting 10 runs up on the board. The team ran through its lineup, with six players registering RBIs. Tom Hrynyshyn led the charge with a three-run home run.

Despite the 15-6 deficit, the 704th kept swinging to dig the team out of its hole. The team put five more runs up on the scoreboard in the fourth inning. After the lead was cut to 15-11, the Coast Guard put together another dynamic inning. Eight different players registered RBIs including Hrynyshyn and Ryan Harris, who each brought in two runs.

The team added another 11 runs to their score in the bottom of the fourth to force the mercy rule, which ended the game, 26-11.

The 704th was led by Schomaker and Justin Trammel; each accounted for two RBIs. Hrynyshyn led the Coast Guard to victory with his game-high six RBIs. Coast Guard pitcher Ruston received the win with one strikeout and a walk. Schomaker struck out one and walked one in the team's loss.

With the sound victory, Hrynyshyn was still not ready to look too far into the future.

"We started 13-0 last year and lost the next eight games," he said.

Hrynyshyn said he hoped his team will carry the momentum into next week's games, but for now the Coast Guard will enjoy just being on the field.

"It feels good to be back out here," he said. "It's awesome. We've been waiting all year for this."