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NEWS | Sept. 9, 2008

Intramural softball playoffs begin Monday

By Thomas Warner Staff writer

Intramural softball playoffs begin next week with undefeated Air Force Personnel Center the favorite to collect another championship. 

The AFPC team, known for its home run capacity and high scores, carries a 12-0 record into the 2008 postseason with the tournament set to start Monday night at Rambler Field. 

AFPC has beaten its opponents this season by an average score of 21-5 and the organization has won base diamond championships in four of the last six years.

The format and bracket for the tournament changed slightly when two teams - 563rd Flying Training Squadron and 562 FTS Students - dropped out of the league. Those exits created a 12-team field for the playoffs, with the four highest-seeds gaining byes in the first round. 

One team with momentum for the tournament is 12th Mission Support Squadron, which scored an extra-inning victory over 99th Flying Training Squadron in the final week of the regular season. 

"That was our first win of the year and I must say it was a great feeling to toss away the weight of a winless season," said Michael Claiborne, 12th MSS head coach. "We have a team that has been revived of hope going into the playoffs next week. 

"I can honestly say I do not feel there is a team on this base we can't beat. I would not be the least bit surprised if we went very deep into this year's playoffs and who knows, maybe come away with a championship." 

Barring inclement weather, the tournament will take eight days to complete. Games are set for Monday through Thursday, then Monday and Tuesday of the following week. The championship game is slated for Sept. 24.

The first night of the double-elimination tournament features four games. The winners of two of those games will advance to play 562nd Instructors and Air Force Recruiting Service on one side of the bracket, and the other two winners will meet AFPC and 563rd Instructors on the other side. 

Those four bye teams wound up with the best records at the close of the regular season. 

Teams that suffer setbacks of first-round games will immediately be placed in the loser's bracket, where one more loss will signal the end of their seasons.