735th AMS takes over sole possession of first place

Staff Sgt. Adam King tries to get past the glove of the third baseman Airman 1st Class Greg Dehne.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

It took one extra inning of overtime to do it, but the 735th Air Mobility Squadron (735 AMS) bested the Civil Engineer Squadron (CES), 11-10, on Oct. 14 in a battle for first place in the Winter Softball League.

Playing at Hickam Softball Complex, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, both teams entered with identical 4-1 records and tied for first place.

While the game ended on a bases-on-balls with the bases loaded full of 735 AMS runners, the day’s showdown for the sole possession of the league’s lead was a seesaw affair with both teams doing a lot of damage at the plate.

“I put my best lineup in there and I had to make some moves in the middle of the game,” said 735 AMS manager Chief Master Sgt. Chad Nixon. “Today was a game we really wanted to win.”

Things got off to a good start for the 735 AMS, as the team picked up three runs in their first turn at-bat to take an early lead.

However, Nixon said that while it was good to get out in front, he knew that three runs weren’t going to be enough.

“They (CES) are big hitters,” Nixon said. “We knew we weren’t safe.”

Nixon’s intuition proved to be right, when the CES came up to bat in the top of the third inning and started blasting the ball.

With the 735 AMS on the verge of escaping the inning without giving up a run, things started to unravel with two outs and two runners on base.

The first run for the CES came on a single by Staff Sgt. Breyden Gardner, who was then followed by a double off the bat of Staff Sgt. Rich Nydam to drive in two more runs.

With Nydam on second base, Senior Airman Dan Highland came to bat and blasted a long shot deep and over the left-field fence for a two-run homer that put the CES out in front at 5-3.

Following the outburst by the CES, the 735 AMS kept their bats just warm enough to slowly chip away at the lead.

Staff Sgt. Shawn Corral singled in a run in the bottom of the third for one run and then in the bottom of the fourth, the 735 AMS came back to retake the lead at 6-5 on a clutch twoout single by Staff Sgt. Kyle Ingram that drove in two runs.

Down for the second time in the game, the CES came to bat in the top of the fifth and, like they did in the third, the team’s bats came alive once again to record five runs and take a 10-6 advantage.

A single by Nydam drove in the first run of the inning and was followed by Highland, who came up with his second extra-base hit of the game.

Highland’s double drove in two runs to put the CES back out in front at 8-6.

The CES got their 10th and final run of the inning on an RBI single by Airman Matt Andrews.

Neither teams scored runs over the next two frames, but in the top of the sixth the 735 AMS rallied to tie the game up at 10-10.

Retired veteran Jimmie Miller started off the rally by slamming a ground-rule double that drove in a run.

Another double by Capt. Joey Henn scored two more runs before Staff Sgt. Adam King tied the score at 10-10 with an RBI single.

The game moved into extra innings after both teams failed to score in the seventh inning.

The CES got the first at-bat in the eighth, but left runners stranded at first and third.

In the 735 AMS’ turn at the plate, the team failed to get a single base hit, but still won the game when Henn walked with the bases loaded to drive in the winning run.

“We like being up there,” Nixon said about the team’s place at the top. “We have a team of really good guys.

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Category: Sports