Great day at the plate propels 735th AMS to win

Staff Sgt. Luis Gonzales slides safely into third after hitting his second triple of the night.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Just one week before the playoffs, the 735th Air Mobility Squadron (735 AMS) flexed their muscles at the plate to show that the team is a true contender.

In an impressive display at bat, the 735 AMS trounced the 690th Cyberspace Operations Squadron (690 COS) Cyber Koa by a score of 17-6 on July 17 in a White Division intramural softball matchup at Millican Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The win locked up a spot in the postseason for the 735 AMS, as the team notched their eighth win of the season against only three defeats.

“I think we’re looking for synergy right now,” said Staff Sgt. Luis Gonzales, who knocked in six runs with some clutch hitting. “Everybody has played together all season, everybody knows each other’s habits. The team just seems more fluid.”

Last week, the 735 AMS struggled at the plate in their loss to the Hawaii Air National Guard, but the team put that all in the past, as it racked up a couple of big innings to send Cyber Koa packing.

Gonzales got things rolling for the 735 AMS by cracking a base hit to drive in runners from second and third for a 2-0 lead.

The team was back at it again in the top of the second with four batters driving in five runs for a 7-0 advantage.

Senior Airman Troy Nolan got the rally going with a single that drove in a runner from second base.

Back-to-back walks ushered in another run and a fielder’s choice putout plated run number five.

Then with runners on first and second, Gonzales picked up his third and fourth RBIs of the game by bashing a triple that gave the 735 AMS a 7-0 lead.

While the game appeared to be well in hand in favor of the 735 AMS, Cyber Koa began to rally for a comeback that cut the deficit down to a single run.

Starting in the bottom of the third, Tech. Sgt. Chase Swadley singled with the bases loaded to drive in the team’s first run.

A fielder’s choice added another run, but 735 AMS pitcher Master Sgt. Sean Wilson got out of the jam by inducing a fly ball that was caught in the outfield for the third out.

Neither team scored in the fourth inning, but in the bottom of the fifth, Cyber Koa made another run at the 735 AMS.

Cyber Koa loaded the bases on a fielding error and two singles, before Swadley came to the plate and doubled to drive in two runs.

Airman 1st Class Kiefer Sullivan followed with an RBI single, as did Tech. Sgt. Ryan Martin to complete a four-run rally that drew Cyber Koa to within a run at 7-6.

However, whatever momentum Cyber Koa gained in the fifth was taken away by the 735 AMS, as the team put together its biggest inning of the game in the top of the sixth.

The big hits came off the Gonzales, who slammed his second triple of the night to drive in two more runs, and Chad Baldini, who crushed a pitch deep into the night and over the left-field fence for a two-run shot.

“The runners on base, they do the work and I’m just trying to drive them in,” Gonzales said about his huge game at bat. “There’s always pressure. It’s part of the game, but it’s stuff that you strive for and look forward to.”

As the 735 AMS closed out the regular season with a big win, Gonzales said that the team should have some momentum going into the playoffs.

While others may look at the 735 AMS as a dark horse to win it all, Gonzales said nobody should take his team lightly.

“We keep it going, we keep playing like how we did tonight, keep depending on each other and we’ll definitely give everybody a run for their money,” he said. “We’re not as far out as everybody thinks we are.”

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Category: Sports