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NEWS | April 5, 2007

MEN'S SOFTBALL: Warhawks shut out Raiders

By Raymond V. Whelan 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Office

The Lackland Warhawks Men's Varsity Softball Team smacked 20 hits as they shut out their opponents in the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Spring Softball League earlier this week.

Lackland dominated from beginning to end as they thrashed the Texas Riders 17-0 through five innings at the Alva Jo Fischer Memorial Softball Complex.

"It was a good effort," said Eric Culver, Warhawks coach. "That's what you have to do with these teams. You have to put them away."

Five Warhawks hit home runs against the Riders. Right-center fielder Kane Mueller hit a two-run homer, and right fielder Steve Reichert hit a three-run homer in the first inning.

Lackland bashed three more long balls during the second. Second baseman Rich Burley, first baseman Paul Hackett, and left fielder Jeremy Hall each belted two-run homers.

Mueller also singled and doubled to drive in two more runs. Pitcher Mike Jenkins went 2-for-2 with a double and one RBI. Center fielder Eric Schaffer went 2-for-2 with a double and three RBIs.

Nothing was really at fault with the Lackland offense. Every Warhawk in the lineup scored at least one run. However, late in the game, they hit the ball too hard. SAPAR rules allow only five home runs per team per game. The Warhawks knocked three balls over the fence after they exceeded their limit, and each one of them counted as an out.

"We have to do better than that," Culver pointed out. "We can't rely on the home run all the time. We're not going win every game by 17 runs."

The Riders collected only seven hits against Lackland. They came closest to scoring when they had the bases loaded with two outs during the second inning. Jenkins fielded a short roller to end the threat.

Hackett completed an unassisted double play with no outs during the third. With Riders left fielder Mike Masa on first base, Hackett stopped a hard grounder by second baseman Mike Vasquez just a few feet from the bag. Hackett tagged Masa and skipped easily to first to vanquish Vasquez and complete the play.

Clearly, it was an excellent showing from the Warhawks, considering they had not played in two weeks. During their previous game, Lackland lost to J.M. Indians 21-20 on March 20, their first loss in SAPAR competition at the Alva Jo in nearly two years. The following week, rain postponed their game on March 27.

"It wasn't hard to get them fired up," Culver said.

The Warhawks had fun, too.

During the fifth inning with the Riders at bat with one out and a runner on first, Lackland catcher James Bunk caught an easy pop-up while standing still as a statue just a few feet from home plate.

"Hey, Bunk, we need you to lay out for those," Tracy Oliver joshed from third base.

Lackland infielder Lance Harris attended the game in the team uniform, and he cheered for his teammates while nursing a sprained ankle on crutches.

The Warhawks are now 2-1 in the SAPAR. Officials have added two make-up games to their schedule at the Alva Jo. Lackland will play April 29 at 4 p.m. and May 15 at 8:30 p.m.