The Intelligence and Security Command unleashed a late-game hit fest to edge past the Defense Threat Reduction Agency 11-8 in a close intramural softball match up June 12, at Pullen Field.
The no-score opening inning unfolded more as a warm-up exchange with both teams focusing on dialing in to their opponent’s pitching and fielding styles.
INSCOM took to the plate in the top of the first and fell to a strikeout off of DTRA pitcher, Al Guerrero, and a pair of fly outs. In the bottom of the inning DTRA managed to get a man on first courtesy of a single through the infield from left fielder, Patrick Lofy, but went quickly down following a trio of pop flies snagged in shallow center.
Shortstop, Donnell Key, ushered in an active inning for INSCOM in the top of the second with a single to left. Despite then having two men pinched via a surgical double play between shortstop, Joe Marzen, and second baseman, Grant Sharp, INSCOM kept the fire burning with another single down the left field line before Donald Wright cracked a screamer to the centerfield fence for a triple that drove two in. Jamal Mitchell and perpetually consistent left fielder, Mike Metzing, then loaded the bases with a single each. But another fly out sent the unit back out onto the diamond.
In the bottom of the inning, DTRA’s bats came alive immediately with a shot to deep left from power hitting centerfielder, Darrell Brooks. First baseman, Craig Rause, then stepped into the batter’s box and drilled a shot to deep center for a double that drove Brooks across the plate for the team’s first score of the evening. DTRA kept the momentum building with a trio of base hits up the middle which brought the tying run in before INSCOM shut things down.
Focusing on tipping the scoreboard balance in the top of the third, Shawn Meneely targeted the outfield fence and cracked one to deep left for a double. Unfortunately for INSCOM, a string of fly outs quickly cooled things off without the benefit of a lead-taking run.
In the bottom of the inning the INSCOM infield denied DTRA any and all opportunities to get a rally out of the starting gate. Key followed up a pair of ground outs by snagging a blistering line drive up the middle that brought his team back into the dugout.
With the contest still tied up at 2, Key led off in the fourth with a massive shot to the centerfield fence that put a triple into his game stats. Pitcher, Sam Lea, then brought his teammate home with a sacrifice fly to left. Wright stepped up and nailed a double to right but was left stranded on the bag after DTRA fielders snagged a pair of pop flies, limiting their opponents to a single run.
Centerfielder, Tom Bair, kicked off DTRA’s fourth at-bat with a single up the middle but a double play put a damper on the promising start. An ensuing fly out once again sent the squad back out to the field.
The DTRA infield summarily thwarted INSCOM’s efforts to supplement their narrow lead in the top of the fifth. Marzen and third baseman, Anthony Reeves, grabbed a grounder each and got the ball over to Rause in record time, and right fielder, Phil Makayan, slammed the door with a pop-fly snag just beyond the baseline.
DTRA used the bottom of the fifth inning to showcase the definition of hitting consistency. Guerrero led off with a single up the middle, followed up by another single from catcher, Nick Arbia. Lofy then stepped up and drove both of his teammates across the plate with a massive shot to the left field fence for a double to take a 5-3 lead. Sharp propelled Lofy to third with a single and then Marzen built on the rally with a screaming triple to deep left that brought two more in. Reeves then belted one to centerfield for a double and yet another score and Brooks claimed the first base bag with a single himself. INSCOM finally brought the inning under control by converting a string of ground outs, but now stared down an 8-3 deficit going into the final two innings.
INSCOM went to bat in the top of the six with a lot of critical ground to make. DTRA would soon realize their opponents were more than up to the challenge. Getting two runners on first and third via a pair of singles, Key sent one smoking through the infield for an RBI single and Lea followed it up with a sacrifice fly to deep left to narrow the gap to 8-5. Meneely then got on first with a single and was driven home following yet another pair of singles that put INSCOM back within striking distance.
DTRA began to tighten up the formation around the diamond, with outfielders playing deep, in response to this increasingly troublesome shift in fortunes. Following another two singles, second baseman, Matt Berry, ripped one deep to left field for a triple that banked two more runs to tie the game at 8 before left fielder, Shanon Williams, drove a shot past the infield for a single that brought Berry across to take a 9-8 lead.
INSCOM kept the scoreboard active with another pair of RBIs that extended the lead to 11-8 before groundouts and pop flies brought the rally to a close.
With one last at-bat left in the contest DTRA took to the batter’s box with the outfield fence in their sights. Unfortunately the initiative to retake command quickly fizzled following two ground outs and a snagged pop fly in shallow left, granting INSCOM the hard-fought 11-8 win.
Intramural softball games are played Monday through Thursday at North Post and Pullen Fields through July 15.
More information regarding the league, including game schedules, is available from Geneva Martin, Fort Belvoir intramural sports coordinator, at (703) 806-5220.