613th AOC turns ship around in tough season

Capt. Mike Casey lines a shot past third base. The leadoff single ignited an 11-run inning.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Things haven’t gone their way for the 613th Air and Space Operation Center (613 AOC) in the Joint Base intramural softball season.

A once dominant force in Joint Base softball, the 613 AOC have struggled through a youth movement and with a record of 2-7 they haven’t placed much fear in the eyes of their opponents.

However, with only a week left in the regular season, the team’s hard work seems to have paid off. The 613 AOC put it all together in a 14-9 slugfest victory over DET 2 18 FSS on July 12 at Ward Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Although the team trailed early, the 613 AOC might have put together their best inning of the season. They batted around the order and then some to score 11 times in the bottom of the third.

“In practice, for some of our younger players that are a little less experienced, we got them a lot more time at the plate, got them comfortable seeing what a strike looks like and how to run,” said 613 AOC pitcher Capt. Mike Casey. “We’ve got guys on our team that have never played before in their lives. So, a lot of practice on offense and then on defense, just getting the right people in the right position. We were pretty on point tonight.”

At first, it appeared to be just another tough night for the 613 AOC, as DET 2 18 FSS got out to a 4-2 lead after two innings.

In the first inning, DET 2 18 FSS got three runs, with key base hits coming off the bat of Tech. Sgt. Roy Barden and Senior Airman Amanda Laban.

While the 613 AOC cut into the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second, Laban would drive in another run in the top of the third to give DET 2 18 FSS a 4-2 advantage.

Momentum took an abrupt turn at that point, as the 613 AOC exploded in their next at bat to cross home 11 times and take a 13-4 lead.

Casey got the ball rolling with a rope past third base and into left field for a leadoff single.

After tying the score at 4-4, 2nd Lt. Juan Aviles came up with the team’s first big hit of the game. He pulled a shot into right field to drive in two runs and give the 613 AOC their first lead.

A single by Tech. Sgt. James Rawls placed two men on base with two out, before 1st Lt. Marcus Hendricks drove in Aviles with a single to right.

Lt. Kevin Goehring then proceeded to drive in two more runs with a single of his own and was followed by Casey, who also knocked a single that scored two runs.

Capt. Ryan Williams capped off the merry-go round with an RBI single.

“We just had a strategy when we were on offense,” Casey said. “Be patient, make them throw strikes and don’t swing at anything in the dirt. And they had some problems getting us out on the bases, so we just kept on running.”

Trailing for the first time in the game, DET 2 18 FSS mounted a four-run rally to draw to within five runs at 13-8.

Barden picked up two more RBIs with a single in the top of the fourth inning, but in the bottom of the fourth, Goering drove in the final run for the 613 AOC to secure the win.

While Casey was hit hard by DET 2 18 FSS, he was clutch in pressure situations and came up with the big out when he needed it.

“When we’re on defense and I’m on the mound, I just try to hold them,” Casey said. “Anything in front of me, I try to get. I call the plays out, remind everyone how many outs and just try to keep the spirits up. As we get the outs and we’re back up there, we’re just having fun.”

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Category: Sports