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    Best two out of three for the Championship

    Best two out of three for the Championship

    Photo By Julie Briden-Garcia | The 136th Airlift Wing Captain’s Cup Softball squad scored a thrilling 17-16 victory...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    136th Airlift Wing (Texas Air National Guard)

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

    In a hard fought contest last Tuesday, the 136th Airlift Wing Captain’s Cup Softball squad scored a thrilling 17-16 victory over our arch nemesis, the Navy FRC/ASD/MALS team, for the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base championship. This Navy team knocked out the 136 AW of the 2019 playoffs, ending their repeat hopes, as well as having beaten them earlier this season. The win secures a second title in the last three attempts for the 136 AW (2020 and 2021 seasons were suspended for COVID-19).

    In the spirit of Nulli Secundus, success continues to be the 136 AW’s decades old tradition of excellence in this sport. Several veterans from past teams, such as Rick Wagner and Mike McNamee (3rd baseman for the ’18 championship squad), 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, who’s normally strong squad was not fielded for the softball season due to deployments and other commitments. They were a most welcome addition.

    In the title game, team Air Force jumped all over the Navy pitcher, as they got out to a 16-9 lead with a barrage of hitting. However, FRC/ASD/MALS stormed back to tie the game in the top of the last inning. In the bottom of the 6th, Freddie Young, husband of Jo Young and a member of the 301st, started a two-out rally with a sharp single. Christopher Harrigan, 136th Mission Support Group commander, then helped his own cause by also singling, moving Young over to second. Leadoff hitter Mike Sanchez then drove in the winning run with a sharp hit back up the middle to set off the celebration.

    This was without a doubt the best game Team Air Force had played all year, hitting, fielding and running the bases (legacy veteran catcher, Bill Freeman, even had an inside-the-park home run, though he was leaking oil rounding third). The offense was carried by leadoff hitter, Mike Sanchez, (a track star in baseball cleats), Cody Farrell (who’s two home runs in our last playoff game powered us to the finals), legacy veteran and former loadmaster, Brian Hughes, Nick Skinner (who played like Dwight Evans while battling the ferocious sun in RF), Pravesh Singh (back from Operation Lone Star and hitting 8th in our Murderer’s Row lineup with a bat that would normally hit cleanup), Chris Schroeder (assistant captain and a player who can play any position and hit any spot in the lineup), and Mitch Brawner. Mitch and his wife, Michelle, came over from the 301 FW to help, with Michelle even taking the field early in the season. Mitch’s bat was a season long super charger, igniting the offense and producing countless runs out of the cleanup position. Mitch also battled at shortstop all season, until we were able to move him over to his natural position of 3rd Base for the playoffs.

    But for however explosive the offense was, the team’s defense ultimately carried the team to victory. Santini Tamayo eventually filled in at short stop and looked like a modern-day Ozzie Smith in the playoffs. In the final game he almost bare-handed a rocket ground ball which took a wicked hop on the infield and shot up four feet! Chris Schroeder saved at least two runs with excellent glovework on shots hit down the first base line. Mike Sanchez used his wheels to patrol the rover position like a greyhound while Cody Farrell made a brilliant over-the-shoulder catch on a blast to deep center field early in the game, then killed a fierce rally by making the final out in the top of the sixth inning. Harrigan fielded his position flawlessly all season, led the league in fewest walks allowed, and went the distance to run his season record to 8-1. The trophy went to him after the game, and he promptly placed it in the display cabinet in 136 AW Headquarters front entrance.

    It takes a village to win a championship, and there were many individuals who put service before self to come out through the season and support the team. I salute all of you, and we hope to see you back next season. Let’s run this thing back and repeat!



    Date Taken: 09.20.2022
    Date Posted: 09.23.2022 17:39
    Story ID: 430017
    Location: FORT WORTH, TX, US 

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