By Scott Prater
Sometimes trash talking can be a motivational tool, especially if it’s delivered by a player’s teammates.
For example, take 2nd Space Operations Squadron’s 16-4 intramural softball win over arch rival 4th Space Operations Squadron for example.
In the Aug. 3 matchup, 2 SOPS started off by scoring five runs in its first at-bat, only to allow 4 SOPS back into the game a few innings later.
The good-natured ribbing began as the team prepared to bat during its half of the fifth inning. Heath Bushe responded to a few derogatory comments with a walk. Roger Gallardo received the same treatment and followed with a single, then Jose Rosales drove them both home by smoking a double up the right field line.
Four hitters and two runs later, 2 SOPS’ lead was back to five runs.
“Our bats have been pretty stagnant the past two or three games,” said 2 SOPS team captain Brian Meyers. “We lost our last game 5-1 to a team that only had one win to that point. But, today our bats came alive in the last two innings, we started having fun, talking a little trash to each other, and that seemed to work.”
After falling behind by five runs in the first, 4 SOPS bounced back defensively, holding 2 SOPS scoreless for three straight innings while climbing back into the game thanks to solid hitting from Brad Thrush, Bill Bae, Mark Wojtowicz and David DeOrio. The team put up three runs in the fourth and another in the fifth to trail by just one run with two innings to play.
But 2 SOPS is sitting in second place for a reason. Meyers and company followed their four-run fifth by blowing the game open with a seven-run scoring blitz in the sixth. Any thoughts 4 SOPS had of answering were squashed thanks to 2 SOPS defensive plays in the last two frames.
Gallardo pitched to the minimum three batters in both the sixth and seventh and Meyers complimented his infielders for their solid play throughout the game.
“The left side of our infield was fantastic today,” he said. “Rosales and Michael Hoggard saw a lot of hard hit balls and made some fine plays.”
With the victory, 2 SOPS maintains a share of second place with a 9-2 record. Meanwhile, 4 SOPS is battling for its playoff life at 5-6 with one game remaining in its regular season.
“It was nice coming back to redeem ourselves after last week,” said James Mendoza, the 2 SOPS right-center fielder who collected three hits and four RBIs. “This was a pretty good precursor for us going into the playoffs, and it felt good to beat 4 SOPS. They’ve knocked us out of the post season tournament the past two years.”
The top eight teams will qualify for the post season tournament which begins Aug. 9.