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Cops lock down LRS in base softball championship
Steven Ittner, 39th Security Forces Squadron, gets ready to sprint to third base during an annual softball championship game Aug. 9, 2011, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The 39th SFS played the 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron in the base championship, which consisted of two games. The 39th LRS won the first game 11-8, and the 39th SFS won the title in the second game with a score of 13-2. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anthony Sanchelli/Released)
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Cops lock down LRS in base softball championship

Posted 8/11/2011   Updated 8/11/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Senior Airman William A. O'Brien
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs


8/11/2011 - INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- After going undefeated through the entire double elimination playoffs, the 39th Security Forces Squadron slow-pitch softball team, lost to the 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron 8-11 in the first championship game Aug. 9. SFS recovered in the second game to win the Incirlik Intramural Softball Championship 13-2.

In the playoffs, SFS was undefeated, beating the 39th Communications Squadron, 39th Medical Group and 39th Logistic Readiness Squadron prior to the championship game. LRS's only loss came at the hands of SFS earlier in the playoffs and included wins against both wing staff agency teams.

Because the SFS team was undefeated in the tournament, LRS needed to beat them in back-to-back games to win the championship.

Game one

Following an immediate first out to start the game, LRS made three consecutive hits and scored two runs. SFS was not able to turn a double-play on the next hit but got the lead runner out. LRS closed out the top of the inning with three more hits and two more runs.

SFS began the bottom of the first inning with two singles and a ground out to short stop before short stop Christopher Carrier hit a double to bring in SFS's first run. SFS was unable to build on their success, as the following batter was thrown out at first, and the base runner, attempting to advance, was thrown out at third to end the inning.

The second inning saw little action as both teams combined for four hits. The innings only run belonged to LRS, as they slowly pulled away, 5-1.

Down by four and scoring only one run in the previous two innings, a lead-off single by right-center fielder Christopher Radcliffe, kicked off the third inning for SFS. His single turned into the inning's first run. Following a fly out, an additional four hits allowed three more runs before consecutive batters got out, ending the inning with LRS still leading 5-4.

In the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, SFS scored twice while LRS continued their run of scoreless innings.

As the seventh and final inning opened, SFS led LRS by a score of 6-5, and it looked as if SFS would continue their postseason undefeated streak. But a ball hit by left fielder Edward Leyba, was misplayed by the SFS short stop. That was followed by a double and another short stop error, which tied the game with no outs. An RBI to right center gave LRS the lead. A fly out to left center was followed by a force out at second, but an additional three runs, gave LRS a secure 10-6 lead. With two outs and the bases empty, LRS pulled together three more hits and a run before a fly out to left center closed the top of the seventh inning.

Now down 11-6, SFS was down to their final at-bats. SFS's first two batters hit to short stop. After cleanly fielding the ball, the batters were thrown out at first.

After singles by the next two SFS batters, a single by Ronald Denisi, brought both runners home. A fly out to left center closed the game and secured an 11-8 victory for LRS.

With each team bearing one loss, the next game decided who would be crowned the 2011 champions.

Game two

Going into the second game, both teams dropped their extra hitter from the line up, opting for their 10 fielders to get more at bats in hopes of getting into a rhythm.

"I took myself out as the extra hitter, so everyone else in the lineup could get extra repetitions, which proved its point, and we did a great job of hitting," said Jason Burch, SFS coach.

However, through the first two innings neither team was able to score and combined for only three hits.

An RBI single by SFS left fielder Ricky Holden, teamed with a double by second baseman Robert Piaskowski, brought Holden home for the first runs of the game.

Down 2-0, LRS stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third inning looking for their first runs of the game, but were unable to score.

After a three up, three down inning for SFS, LRS went to bat in the bottom of the fourth. The inning started out well for LRS as a hit up the third base line, combined with a double to left field by third baseman Chad Ashton, put LRS on the scoreboard and only a run behind SFS.

The next batter was walked, but a hit back to the pitcher became a double play to hold LRS to only one run. SFS maintained the lead at 2-1.

After seeing their lead cut in half, SFS came out in the top of the fifth with bats blazing. With two outs and three runs already scored in the inning, three consecutive RBI singles by Carrier, right fielder Charles Gilman and pitcher Forrest Richardson, pitcher gave SFS a comfortable 8-1 lead.

Retiring three batters in four at bats, SFS looked to expand their already sizeable lead. The inning opened with a lead-off walk. The next batter hit a fly out to right center field, and a double scored the runner on base. A single, followed by the second out and an additional single scored two more runs.
 
With two outs and a runner on second, the next batter hit an RBI triple but was thrown out at home while attempting to advance.

Down by 12, LRS needed a sixth-inning miracle to pull off victory. A lead-off fly out to left field made the chances of a comeback more improbable. A single, followed by a walk and another single scored LRS their second run of the game. A single, followed by two fly outs ended any comeback attempt by LRS and gave SFS a 13-2 win.

Burch was pleased with the team's win and said all season his team was able to win behind its fielding abilities.

"We knew what we could do. We knew from the first practice we were going to be the champions," he said. "We had really good defense. Like they say, 'Defense wins championships.' Here you go, we won the championship."

"Hats off to the security forces playing all the way through," said Jeff Koenig, LRS coach. "They played us tough, and they were our toughest battle. We got a little flustered. Using the different kind of balls got into our heads a little bit, using the 'mush balls;' and little frustrations here and there put us down, but there's nothing you can do about that. It's the nature of the beast."

Despite being rivals on the field, the camaraderie was apparent.

"We had a strong fan base all the way around, from the first game to the last game of the playoffs," said Koenig. "From our commander all the way down to the newest people on base. Thanks for coming out and spending the year with the team."

"I really appreciate the fans and (the 39th Force Support Squadron) for putting this on," added Burch. "I know it's hard, especially at a small base like this to put games together and find teams. I appreciate all the teams who came out. Without them, we couldn't have had a season."



tabComments
8/22/2011 6:18:21 AM ET
All of this hate because of intramural softball How about LRS SFS and all the other squadrons get your best players and play against Navy or Army. You all did a good job but to be so nasty towards something that you are not getting paid extra to do Next year it will be another squadrons turn and so on and so on. Congrats to you all no matter what place you ended in.
NowBeNice, Incirlik AB Turkey
 
8/18/2011 5:19:24 AM ET
Both teams used the same balls. LRS lost softballfan needs to get over it. you bring shame to your squadron with your silly excuses. Don't be a poor sport.
justsayin, Incirlik AB
 
8/15/2011 1:52:14 AM ET
Hats off to SFS for sticking to their game and getting W's when it counts. We all know the X100s are nowhere near 375 compression and also factor in the hot weather...the balls just don't fly. That's just what he have to bear here in Incirlik. Congrats on the three-peat and we'll be coming after you guys again in football.
728DamnStraight, Incirlik AB
 
8/13/2011 3:09:08 AM ET
CERTIFIED stamped ASA Softball X100 Cork core...MAX 375 LBS...MAX . 44 COR...to quote a LRS player using the mush balls got into our heads a little...station-to-station softballbaseball wins games...our team did not have any power hitters to counteract LRS and their power hitters...base hits is what WON the title NOT HR's...the balls DID not make a difference the players did...3 time 3 time 3 time defending champions
Defenderplayer, IAB Turkey
 
8/12/2011 6:43:08 AM ET
If LRS was the best team then they wouldn't have lost and they wouldn't have been making excuses about losing. The balls didn't make that big of a difference. It's defense that killed LRS. They couldn't make the big plays when they needed.Re-attack at being the best team...I believe LRS got short-gamed.SFS showed better sportsmanship than LRS and they deserved the championshipDEFENDERS
SFS fan, Incirlik AB Turkey
 
8/12/2011 1:25:16 AM ET
Hats off to the cops for winning the championship but LRS was and is the best team on this base. Had those championship games been played with any ASA sanctioned ball that didn't turn in to a pillow after hitting it three times LRS would have ran away with it.
softballfan, Incirlik AB Turkey
 
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