LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
Known for its heavy hitting, the 802nd Force Support Squadron was favored to make it back to the base intramural softball championship.
But, surprisingly, it was FSS' defense that sealed the 11-7 win against the 59th Radiology Squadron once they got there.
"Our whole key to the game was defense," FSS coach Art Trevino said. "Our defense kept us in the game."
Throughout the finale, FSS pitcher Eddie Blake gave his opponents fits, moving around the mound and fainting pitches, while recording two strikeouts.
"When the pitcher's up there, he's got to move the ball in and out, up and down," Blake said. "Make them hit my pitch."
The winning pitcher said his low delivery stance keeps batters uncomfortable.
"These guys, I guess, weren't used to seeing that," Blake said. "The low stuff is hard to hit."
However, it was FSS' fielding that saved the win.
In the final inning, Radiology's Mark Watson's three-run homer put the game in reach at 11-7. Third baseman Brett Cannon put an end to the rally, receiving outfielder Brian Goelz' relay throw for the final out.
Cannon said the play was the result of their Division II opponent being unfamiliar with FSS' players.
"It's a pretty crazy dream to run when Brian's throwing," he said. "Brian's got the best arm out here."
Highlighted by numerous outs at first base, FSS' defense played tight throughout the contest after giving up two runs in the first inning.
The only other score came off another Watson home run in the fifth.
Unusually quiet, FSS' bats finally made noise in the bottom of the fifth.
Entering with a 6-3 lead, FSS rallied with four hits and four runs, including Steve Reichert's RBI single, Eric Culver crossing the plate on a fielding error, Cannon's sacrifice fly and Goelz' home run.
"We were hit and miss tonight," Cannon said. "However, I'll take our lineup against any one, any day."
Radiology beat the defending champs, the 737th Training Group, on the way to the finale to put an end to a dream intramural championship rematch. FSS and the TIs were tied for first place in Division I.
"We had a better team this year," Trevino said. "We are the TIs' biggest rivals. I expected to see them in the finals like last year."
Cannon agreed a rematch against the other top-seeded team would have been nice, but that they'll see them again soon.
"Hopefully, we can come back and do it again next year," he said.