DVIDS – News – Best two out of three for Championship

Story by Senior Master Sgt. Michel Phineas
136th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

In a fierce contest last Tuesday, the 136th Airlift Wing Captain’s Cup softball team scored a thrilling 17-16 victory over our nemesis, Team Navy FRC/ASD/MALS, for the Naval Air Championship Joint Reserve Base station. This Navy team eliminated 136 AW from the 2019 playoffs, ending their repeated hopes, as well as having beaten them earlier this season. The victory secures a second title in the last three attempts for 136 AW (the 2020 and 2021 seasons were suspended for COVID-19).

In the mind of Nulli Secundus, success continues to be the 136 AW’s decades-old tradition of excellence in the sport. Several veterans of former teams, such as Rick Wagner and Mike McNamee (3rd goal for the 2018 Championship team), reached out to congratulate the team on social media. This year’s team was also aided by several key members of the 301st Fighter Wing, whose normally strong team was not fielded for the softball season due to deployments and other commitments. They were a most welcome addition.

In the title game, the Air Force team jumped all over the Navy pitcher, as they took a 16-9 lead with a barrage of strikes. However, FRC/ASD/MALS burst in to tie the game early in the final set. Late in the 6th, Freddie Young, husband of Jo Young and member of the 301st, started a two-man rally with a sharp single. Christopher Harrigan, commander of the 136th Mission Support Group, later aided his own cause by choosing as well, displacing Young to second place. Leadoff hitter Mike Sanchez then kicked off the winning run with a yank to the middle to spark the celebration.

It was arguably the best game the Air Force team had played all year, hitting, lining up and running the bases (legacy veteran catcher Bill Freeman even had a home run inside the park, although it was leaking oil around the third one). The offense was led by leadoff hitter Mike Sanchez (a track star in baseball cleats), Cody Farrell (who homered twice in our last playoff game that propelled us into the Finals), legacy veteran and former rigger Brian Hughes, Nick Skinner (who starred as Dwight Evans while battling the fierce sun in RF), Pravesh Singh (back from Operation Lone Star and hitting 8th in our Murderer’s lineup Row with a bat that would normally hit cleanup), Chris Schroeder (assistant captain and a player who can play any position and hit anywhere on the lineup), and Mitch Brawner. Mitch and his wife, Michelle, came over from 301 FW to help, with Michelle even taking the field early in the season. Mitch’s bat has been a super charger throughout the season, igniting the offense and producing countless runs out of the cleanout position. Mitch also struggled at shortstop all season, until we were able to move him to his natural 3rd base position for the playoffs.

But even though the offense was explosive, the team’s defense ultimately carried the team to victory. Santini Tamayo finally filled in a short save and looked like a modern-day Ozzie Smith in the playoffs. In the last game, he almost barehanded a rocket ground ball that did a nasty jump across the infield and soared four feet! Chris Schroeder saved at least two points with great glove work on slap shots off the first base line. Mike Sanchez used his wheels to patrol the rover’s position like a greyhound while Cody Farrell landed a brilliant over the shoulder catch on a blast to deep center field early in the game, then killed a fierce rally by doing the final in the top of the sixth inning. Harrigan held his position perfectly all season, led the league in the fewest walks allowed and went the distance to take his season record to 8-1. The trophy went to him after the game and he quickly placed it in the display case at the main entrance to 136 AW Headquarters.

It takes a village to win a championship, and many people have put service first to come out throughout the season and support the team. I greet you all and we hope to see you again next season. Let’s take this thing back and repeat!

Date taken: 20.09.2022
Date posted: 23.09.2022 17:39
Story ID: 430017

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