Four-run fourth raises Trolls to victory in softball game

Mike Catalano is about to drive in the first run with a single in the first inning.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

The 15th Operations Support Squadron (15 OSS) Trolls scored four times in the fourth inning and then held off the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (94 AAMDC) Seadragons, 6-1, on May 9 in a Red Division intramural softball game at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Millican Field.

The win was the first of the season for the Trolls. They entered the matchup with a 0-2 record, while the loss was the first for the Seadragons, who now hold a 2-1 mark.

The Trolls were led by retired veteran Larry Smith, who pitched five straight scoreless innings, before allowing a single tally in the bottom of the sixth.

Smith came back to close the door in the bottom of the seventh to finish off a six-hit gem with only one extra-base hit allowed.

“I was just putting it over the plate and letting them hit it,” Smith said. “Softball is a hitter’s game. I’d pitch it over the outside sometimes and put a little spin on it. I just try to keep it short or long so they’re either reaching for it or falling back.”

Smith also had the benefit of a solid defense, which gobbled up balls in the outfield and infield.

“We’ve got a pretty young team, but every game they get a little bit better,” Smith said. “They are starting to jell together and it’s starting to show.

Smith got an early gift from his teammates, who started off the game with a single run in the top of the first inning.

After the first two Trolls got on base with walks, Mike Catalano, a Department of Defense civilian, bashed a line drive through the infield for an RBI and 1-0 lead.

Catalano would go on to single his next two times at-bat and finish the game with a near-perfect 3-for-4 at the plate.

The score stayed that way until the top of the fourth, when the Trolls set the tables for a big inning by loading the bases with no outs.

Tech. Sgt. Kenny Hysell got things started with a leadoff double and then proceeded to third when the next two batters were walked to load them up.

Smith, who was aces on the mound, got a chance to help his own cause at the plate and he came through with flying colors.

The Trolls hurler smashed a sizzling drive down the line to clear the bases with a two-base knock.

Heads up running by Smith allowed him to score with the fourth run of the inning on an errant throw to home.

“I pulled one up the line where I kind of hit it anyway,” Smith said. “I was looking for something that I could just pull down the left-field line.”

In the fifth inning, the Trolls extended their lead by a run after Catalano set the table by getting a leadoff single.

Although the Seadragons almost made it out of the inning unscathed, an error on a fly ball hit to center field chased in Catalano with the team’s sixth run of the game.

The Seadragons finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth when Staff Sgt. Shiheem Kelly stepped up to the plate with a man on second and promptly stroked a single to drive in the team’s only run.

Smith said that while it was great to finally get a win, the Trolls main objective this year is to come out and have some fun.

But it’s always nice to win. “We want to be competitive, but also have fun,” Smith said. “It’s a great way to get into the game and enjoy our afternoon.”

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Category: Sports