By Scott Prater
John Galer stepped to the plate with two runners on and only one out during the fifth inning of 4th Space Operations Squadron’s intramural softball game against 50th Security Forces Squadron July 19.
As the pitch crossed home plate, Galer pulled the ball hard left. He thought he might have cleared the bases and helped bring his team back from a big deficit. But, 50 SFS third-baseman, Randall Ruth, had other ideas.
With 50 SFS missing its normal third baseman, team captain Tad Davis chose to insert Ruth at the hot corner.
In that pivotal fifth inning Ruth made Davis look like the smartest skipper in the league.
He not only robbed Galer of a potential run-scoring single, but he handled a wicked hop up the left-field line, stepped on the bag at third for one out, then heaved a dart over to first baseman Brad Krause to complete an inning-ending double play.
This defensive gem marked his second double play of the game.
“I think he’s earned a permanent spot in our infield,” Davis said of Ruth, who also scored three runs and drove in another as 50 SFS held on for 11-9 victory. “
Last season’s league runner up, 4 SOPS, rallied to score six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, but again watched its hope for victory fall short, along with a two-out pop up… to third base. It seemed fitting that Ruth caught the ball to end it all.
“We had our chances, but we didn’t hit the ball early in the game and that’s what you need to win games in this league,” said 4 SOPS’ lead-off hitter Ryan Miller. “They have an incredible infield, but the team that hits the most seems to win most of the time.”
50 SFS pitcher Garrett Maynard seemed magical from the mound early, pitching to just three batters in the first inning, four in the second and three again in the third. By then 50 SFS led 2-0.
The team looked well on its way to an easy victory in the fourth inning when it strung two errors, two hits and a fielder’s choice together for five runs. Maynard even drove in two with a swinging bunt.
“I wasn’t trying to bunt,” he said. “I was really just trying to make contact. My day at the plate hadn’t gone well to that point and I just didn’t want to strike out.”
50 SFS added another run in the fifth and three more in the sixth to take an 11-3 lead into the final inning, but thanks to consecutive run-scoring hits from Miller, Luke Zimmerman and AJ Berger, 4 SOPS mounted a serious rally.
“We just gathered in front of the dugout before that last inning and talked about not being out of the game,” Miller said. “Kentrel Brooks started it with a blast and Adam Beccue followed with another good one. It’s all about getting a spark. Hitting is contagious.”
Ultimately however, Maynard induced the pop up and 50 SFS maintained its stranglehold on first place in the league standings with its eighth straight victory.
The loss dropped 4 SOPS to 3-4 on the year and into the middle of the pack heading into the last two weeks of the regular season.