By Scott Prater
While 2nd Space Operations Squadron opened this year’s Schriever Intramural Softball season June 8, its players couldn’t help but think back to the last one.
“It was disappointing to say the least,” pitcher Roger Gallardo said of last season’s end. “We got double dipped by 4th SOPS in the base championship.
The sting from those two losses has yet to fade, but it turned out to be positive, in the form of motivation, for 2nd SOPS in its season opener against Space Innovation and Development Center.
2nd SOPS blew open a tight contest in the top of the fifth inning, scoring seven runs on six hits, including two triples and a home run en route to a 23-9 victory.
“For our first game, our bats were pretty decent,” 2nd SOPS shortstop Patrick Gaynor said. “We hit a lot of line drives, which is a good sign — pop ups mean people are trying too hard. We ran the bases well too. I was pretty impressed.”
SIDC put up a valiant effort and kept the game close for the first four innings despite competing with only eight players. That left some big patches for its outfielders to cover and gave the team an automatic out every time its would-be ninth hitter was due to bat.
Through the solid defensive play of its infielders, SIDC sat 2nd SOPS batters down in order in the first inning and took a 1-0 lead after Joey Stolzman tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning.
2nd SOPS scored in every inning after the first, however, adding three runs in the second, four in the third and four more in the fourth. Leadoff hitter Chris James collected three hits and scored three runs, as did Eric Morales, Dave McGee and Jose Rosales.
“Chris (James) has some surprising power for a smaller guy — that was a pleasant surprise,” coach Brian Meyers said. “And, David McGee hasn’t played in 10 years, but he went 3-for-4 at the plate and played some pretty decent outfield for us.”
Gaynor hit a three-run triple in the third and an inside-the-park home run in the fourth, and Gallardo followed by smashing a home run over the left field fence, even with a fierce wind blowing in.
Forced to take an automatic out in both the fourth and fifth innings, SIDC couldn’t keep up offensively as 2nd SOPS put the game out of reach with its onslaught in the fifth.
The team will have to wait until July 28 before it gets a crack at 4th SOPS. Until then, Meyers expects another successful run toward the post season.
“Most of our players are returners, so we definitely want to improve on last year’s performance,” he said.
League games are scheduled for most Monday through Fridays throughout June and July at the softball complex off of Falcon Parkway. Call the Schriever Fitness Center at 567-6628 for updated weekly schedules.