News: MCSC wins 2011 Softball Championship
Story by Sgt. Christopher Zahn
QUANTICO, Va. - Marine Corps Systems Command defeated Manpower and Reserve Affairs in the championship game of the 2011 Intramural Softball season 13-12.
MCSC came into the championship game riding a hot streak, having won every game of the playoffs thus far. That included two victories over their opponent in the final, M&RA.
To raise the trophy, MCSC would only have to win the first game, but due to their previous losses, M&RA would have to win the first game and then beat MCSC again.
Both teams were loose before the game; their joking, easy demeanors disguising the magnitude of the matchup. But when the umpire shouted “play ball,” both teams got down to business.
M&RA was up to bat first and immediately began finding holes in their opponent’s defense. A steady diet of line drive hits and smart base running had M&RA walking across the plate often in the first two innings to take an early 6-0 lead.
MCSC huddled before they came to bat in the top of the second inning, urging each other to just settle down and play. The pep talk worked because Michael Triviso stepped to the plate and hammered a leadoff home run to get his team on the scoreboard. Triviso’s shot inspired his teammates as Darryl Shamble and Tyler Whisler both hit doubles to get on base. Jake Womble then brought them both across home plate with another double. The second inning ended with M&RA holding a 6-3 lead.
Another round of base hits from M&RA had them with the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning, but they had to settle for a walked in run instead of a grand slam to go up 7-3 before a fly ball ended their turn at bat. MCSC still had the home run touch as both Triviso and Whisler knocked solo homers out of the park to stay within striking distance at 7-5 after three innings.
The competitiveness of the game brought out the friendly banter from both teams as they encouraged each other to have fun.
M&RA continued to hammer line drives right up the middle of the MCSC defense, scoring twice more to widen their lead, and MCSC could only drive in one run to make it 9-6 after four innings.
Before the fifth inning began, M&RA huddled together and chanted, “Hits, hits hits.” Hector Serrano took the rallying cry to heart, smashing a leadoff home run which was followed by two other runs from his teammates to take a commanding 12-6 lead halfway through the fifth inning.
MCSC knew it was time to rally and show their championship heart, and their bats responded. They drove in four runs to draw within striking distance, ending the fifth inning behind 12-10.
The sixth inning was a rare defensive stand for MCSC as they held M&RA scoreless for the first time all game.
“We knew that we had to play within ourselves and get the outs when they presented themselves,” said Scott Justus, who stepped in as the coach to lead his team. “We knew we had a good pitcher and our defense was solid.”
They couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity to erase more of the deficit however, as M&RA shut them out as well.
Nursing a two-run lead in the final inning, M&RA knew they had to score to widen the lead and seal the victory, but again, MCSC shut them out.
In the top of the seventh inning, M&RA was only three outs
standing away from victory; all they had to do was cool off the bats of MCSC. Everything was in place for a thrilling finish and MCSC did not disappoint.
The first batter smashed a double, giving life to his team. That was followed by a single, putting two runners on base and the potential game winning run at the plate with Triviso stepping into the box.
Despite having already hit two home runs earlier, the M&RA pitcher chose not to pitch around Triviso and on the second pitch, he paid for his error.
A vicious smack from Triviso sent the ball and MCSC’s hopes for the title high into the air. A collective gasp from the crowd followed the ball as it sailed toward the fence, clearing it by centimeters and winning the game.
“I just wanted to hit it hard,” Triviso.said “I actually hit it kind of high and I didn’t think I got it far enough, but it just kept carrying, got a little wind under it and went over. I was screaming like a little kid, like I just won the World Series.”