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NEWS | Aug. 9, 2007

Hitmen capture base softball championship

By Tony Perez 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Office

The Cryptologic Systems Group "Hitmen" won their first base championship defeating the 651st Munitions Squadron, "Ammo," 9-4 and 3-1 in the championship series Aug. 1.

The Hitmen lost their first game of the double elimination tournament to the 859th Surgical Operations Squadron, 6-1, and then went on to win seven consecutive games in one week.

"In my tenure, no other team has accomplished that feat," said Intramural Sports Director Jerry Tiger.

To create parity, teams are broken up into four divisions. Division I is traditionally considered the strongest, but the Hitmen proved that wrong as this year's champion was from Division IV.

"We put together solid defensive play after solid defensive play and reached down and found the energy, desire and drive to be the best," Joe Vela said.

In the first inning of the first game of the championship series, left fielder Tim Egg scored a single, giving Ammo the first run of the game.

The Hitmen answered as left-center fielder Mark Case scored at the bottom of the second inning.

Egg seemed to be on a mission, answering with another run in the third inning for Ammo. Catcher Terrence Bailey and second baseman Jeff Bruce gave the Hitmen their first lead of the game, scoring two runs in the third inning, and right-center fielder Jack Diehl followed suit scoring in the fourth inning.

Third baseman Vela scored for the Hitmen in the fifth inning along with Bailey, while Case, extra hitter DeMarcus Mason and right fielder Reggie Mann scored in the sixth inning for the Hitmen. Ammo remained scoreless until the seventh and final inning of the game as left-center fielder Richard Villafranco and shortstop Travis Moore both scored.

The game marked the first loss of the tournament for Ammo. Due to a double elimination style play-off system, Ammo and the Hitmen had to play a second game immediately to decide the winner of the tournament.

"Because we just finished playing Air Force Information Operations Center, it was actually our third game in a row," Vela said. We ended up battling for more than three hours that night in order to win the championship."

In the final game of the championship series, Hitmen right-center fielder Jack Diel was the first to get on the scoreboard as the home team ended the second inning with two players stranded on base. Bruce scored the only run of the third inning for either team after initially being walked to base.

Ammo right-center fielder Roberto Hernandez answered with a run of his own after hitting a double to center field.

The Hitmen were held scoreless during the fourth inning by a stout defensive effort by Ammo. Ammo did not allow a player to reach first base.

Bailey scored in the fifth inning, ending scoring for either team.

The intramural softball season was marred by several postponements due to the unusual amount of rain Lackland AFB and San Antonio have received over the past few months.

Ammo finished the Intramural Softball Base Championship in second place while AFIOC finished in third place, losing to the Hitmen 4-3 in the semi-finals.

"Beating AFIOC clinched second place for us in the tournament but we weren't satisfied with that," Vela said. "We wanted to win the whole thing."