Ho'okele Staff | May 26, 2012
The intense rivalry between the 647th Security Forces Squadron (647 SFS) Pound Town and the Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG) intramural softball teams, long dominated by HIANG, has taken a decided turn in favor of Pound Town over the past couple of years.
With the two squads squaring off May 21, the 647 SFS continued their current trend by toppling the HIANG in a mercy-rule-shortened game, 12-2, at Hickam Softball Complex, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
The victory kept the 647 SFS tied at the top of the White Division with a record of 8-1, while the HIANG lost their second game of the season and has a mark of 7-2.
Pound Town pitcher Tech. Sgt. Robert “Woody” Wooderson, who has participated in quite a few of the showdowns with HIANG over the years, threw four shutout innings in going the distance, while driving in five of the team’s runs with three clutch singles – two of them coming with two outs.
“The big thing is, with HIANG, we know them so well,” Wooderson said. “I kind of know where they try to position themselves, and I’ve known chief (HIANG pitcher Chief Master Sgt. Vince Ramos) for a long time and he gives me a lot of respect. So a lot of times, if he gives me a pitch, it’s only one and I better take it.”
As good as Wooderson’s day at the plate was, he wasn’t the only member of Pound Town who was tearing it up while at-bat.
Master Sgt. Sam Nelson and Airman 1st Class Matthew Lewis produced run-scoring singles with two outs in a six-run explosion in the top of the third and Tech. Sgt. Devin Stuckey, while wearing the pink shirt after striking out in the third inning, came back and blasted a two-out, two-run triple in the top of the fifth.
In total, Pound Town scored eight of its 12 runs with two outs.
Another hot hitter, Airman 1st Class Tweeter Riddle, went 3-for-3 at the plate with two doubles and a single with an RBI.
“Main thing is we hit the ball,” Riddle said. “We’ve been having some bat problems with a lot of people flying out. Our main thing in this game was to keep getting base hits.
Although Wooderson was having a great day on the mound in giving up only two singles over five innings, while facing the minimum of three hitters in the final three frames, Ramos, who struggled to get the third out in four out of the five innings, offered no excuses for absorbing the HIANG’s second loss of the season.
“I mean it’s not fast pitch. It’s all slow pitch,” said Ramos, who complimented Pound Town on their hitting, while mentioning his team’s inability to keep the ball in play. “We just weren’t hitting the ball. You’ve got to hit it on the ground, that’s basically it. We were flying out. We were off-balance. Three outs and we were gone.”
While Pound Town has held an advantage over their rival for the past three years, Wooderson cautioned that the HIANG should pose a serious threat once the postseason gets underway.
“We’re undefeated against the HIANG for the last three years,” Wooderson pointed out. “But you got to remember that out of the past 13 years, they (HIANG) beat us 10. We know that they never play to their full potential until playoff time. Now that they see where they’re at, they know exactly what they need to do.”
He said the secret to Pound Town’s continued success lies in their ability to stay healthy and keep loose.
“It’s like we always talk about with Pound Town,” he said. “When we go out there, we want to win at all cost, and the only way we’re going to do that is to stay loose. That’s the whole purpose – to have fun. If we’re not having fun, we’re not playing Pound Town softball.”
No doubt the playful antics of Wooderson has been a point of motivation for Pound Town, although not all of his opponents have shared in the levity of his constant chatter and ribbing.
“If I’m not smiling, joking around, trying to cheer my guys up and getting them laughing, it’s just not even worth it,” he admitted. “Air Force guys are used to me. The Navy guys aren’t used to me, and that’s who we want.”