By Scott Prater
Rob Weinmann said his 3rd Space Operations Squadron teammates felt embarrassed after losing their first game of the season by double digits. The team then scheduled practices and worked on fundamentals to prepare for its second game.
The extra work paid off June 16 when 3rd SOPS scored five runs in second and fifth innings, then held on to beat 50th Space Communications Squadron 11-10 in Schriever intramural softball action.
“Our first game was horrible,” the 3rd SOPS captain said. “It definitely gave us some motivation to work on some things and improve our performance.”
Using four consecutive base hits, 3rd SOPS took an early lead with five runs in the second inning. Jeremy Chakos drove in two runs with a single to left field and Marcus Massengale drove in two more with a sharp grounder past second base.
Edwin Monzon powered the fifth-inning scorefest with a two-run inside-the-park home run to deep right field.
“I just noticed they were playing me shallow in right field so I tried to hit it that way,” Monzon said. “It worked out. The ball rolled to the fence and I got around.”
Following Monzon’s homer, 3rd SOPS led 11-6 in the top half of the fifth. Thanks to the solid defensive play of Weinmann and the pitching of Jason Chism, 3rd SOPS held 50th SCS scoreless in the first two innings. Weinmann turned a double play and Chism recorded two strike outs in the first two innings.
Despite trailing 5-2 after two and 11-6 after five, 50th SCS clawed its way back with three runs in the fourth, two more in the fifth and three in seventh, while its defense held 3rd SOPS scoreless in the final two innings.
“We made a couple of mental errors,” said 50th SCS co-captain Paul Delong. “We had a player touch the wrong home plate and that cost us three runs, because it was the third out of the inning. And, we had some errors in the field, but everybody played hard.”
The Schriever softball field has two home plates as a safety precaution. Runners are supposed to touch the outside plate to score a run, whereas catchers use the inside plate to make defensive plays. So when a runner mistakenly touches the inside plate, an automatic out is recorded.
That rule hurt 50th SCS because James Zimmer drove in three runs with his line drive to centerfield in the fourth inning, but because the lead runner touched the wrong plate with two outs, none of the runs counted.
Despite the snafu, 50th SCS went on to score to score two runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh.
Tom Quick capped a 3-for-3 day at the plate with a two-run double to start the seventh inning, but Weinmann thwarted the rally and ended the game by scooping up a grounder and stepping on third base for the final out.
Third SOPS evened its record at 1-1 on the season while 50th SCS dropped to 1-1.
“We stayed calm and didn’t allow the situation to stir us up too much,” Delong said. “That was key to closing it out.”