By Scott Prater
With its rematch against arch rival and defending league champion 4th Space Operation Squadron fast approaching, no one could blame 2nd SOPS for looking past its opponent July 21.
Meanwhile, 50th Space Communications Squadron entered the game on a hot streak, and also held the distinction of being the only team to defeat league leader 4th SOPS this season.
During a contest that at times resembled a slugfest, 2nd SOPS cranked out 23 hits en route to a 17-10 victory.
“A little more power would be nice, but we’re pretty happy with how we’ve done so far this season,” said 2nd SOPS team captain Brian Meyers. “We haven’t hit too many bombs but we’re getting the results we want.”
With the win, 2nd SOPS stretched its win streak to three games, improved to 9-2 and kept its stranglehold on third place in the league standings behind 4th SOPS (10-1) and Players Pool (9-2).
Outfielder Jason Gravitt reached base safely in all four of his at bats and scored four runs, while shortstop Pat Gaynor drove in three runs and scored twice. The team opened with a three-run first inning, followed with five runs in the second and kept piling runs on with three in the third, four in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
But all Meyers and Gaynor could talk about was the team’s play in the field.
“Defense has been the backbone of every win we’ve had this season,” Gaynor said. “Brian Eno’s play at the third base has been spot on all season and Jason Gravitt makes a handful of outs every game.”
Eno ended 50 SCS’ scoring threat in the first when he stabbed a sharp grounder just over the bag and heaved a dart toward first base for the final out. He also halted 50th SCS’ comeback bid in the fifth with another web gem.
And he had plenty of help from Gaynor, who recorded six put outs. Gaynor corralled two sharp grounders up the middle in the fourth, one of the three innings in which 2nd SOPS held its opponents scoreless.
Jimmy Rogers gave 50th SCS life by jacking a two-run homer over the left centerfield fence in the fifth inning. 50th SCS added three more runs in the sixth on five straight singles.
“We always think we’re in it until the end,” said 50th SCS captain Ian Williams. “We’ve had a few games lately where we’ve scored seven or eight runs in the last couple of innings to pull out wins.”
The damage was short lived, however, as 2nd SOPS retired 50th SCS batters in order in the seventh to end the game.
“Rogers helped them get back in the game with his homer, and the top of their lineup was really consistent,” Gaynor said. “We knew we had to play well to beat them and this win gives us confidence going into our game with 4th SOPS (July 28).”