HIANG enjoys banner year in Joint Base sports

HIANG intramural softball champions for 2017.

Story and photos by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Winning one championship in intramural sports at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam can be a challenging task for any command.

However, in 2017, the Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG) not only succeeded in capturing two titles, but almost won a third championship — falling short in the grand finale of the intramural soccer season.

In recapping the outstanding athletic efforts of the past year, the accomplishment of HIANG tops the stories of the agony and ecstasy in sports competition on Joint Base.

From May through August, HIANG made it to the finals in three sports and captured titles in volleyball and softball in addition to a runner-up finish in soccer.

HIANG continued their domination of volleyball, as the team’s collection of spikers steamrolled their way to a remarkable 16 consecutive finishes in first place.

Team captain Tech. Sgt. Stephen Lorenzo is the only member of the squad to play in all 16 championships. He led the way once again with an outstanding first set that saw him garner four kills and two blocks to put HIANG in the driver’s seat with a 25-9 win.

HIANG then completed the clean sweep over the 15th Operations Group with another 25-9 killing to secure the championship in straight sets.

The volleyball championship complemented the spectacular season by HIANG’s softball squad, which clinched the command’s first title of the year just a month earlier with a thundering win over Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (PHNSY) in a 16-0 mercy-rule-shortened game.

While HIANG’s softball team hasn’t been as dominant as the volleyballers, the slow-pitch bombers have been pretty successful in their own right. They had intramural titles in 2013 and 2015 before winning it all again last year.

Although the team didn’t appear to be as strong as previous years in the regular season – finishing with a 9-2 record – HIANG, which harnessed the strength of a full squad for the first time in the season, raced through the playoffs.

Then, in the championship game, HIANG amassed eight runs in the first three innings, before putting PHNSY away with an eight-run explosion in the fourth.

The only championship game that slipped the clutches of the HIANG was in the intramural soccer championship. The team fell to Naval Health Clinic Hawaii by a score of 2-0.

Meanwhile, 735th Air Mobility Squadron (735 AMS) also enjoyed an outstanding year in 2017.

After winning the Winter Softball League championship with an undefeated season and beating a tough Civil Engineer Squadron, 18-15, in the title matchup, the 735 AMS flag football team took to the field just two days later to try and sew up the 2017 intramural flag football championship.

The 735 AMS put up a great fight, but it was not to be. The upstart 792/8 Intelligence Squadron Hangar 5 Warriors took home the crown with a 19-14 win.

The Warriors, who entered the playoffs with an un-heralded 6-2 record, may have been the surprise team of the entire year by navigating their way to the playoffs before seizing the top prize.

It was no surprise at how successful and competitive 2017 became after the year opened with a spectacular basketball season.

In the White Division, (age over 30), the 647th Civil Engineer Squadron (647 CES) Bulls finished off an un-defeated year by beating Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in the championship game.

A few weeks later, the 690th Cyberspace Operations Squadron pocketed the open division title with a stunning defeat of Pacific Command/Joint Intelligence Operation Center.

Which brings us back full circle to the start of another exciting year of sports, when basketball tips off later this month.

Will the Bulls and the 690 be able to repeat as basketball kingpins in 2018? What about the fortunes of HIANG?

Stay tuned to all of the action right here on the pages of Ho‘okele.

Editor’s note: The call to compile teams, keep scorebooks and setup schedules is a daunting task for our friends at MWR Sports.

While the gang will be at it again to keep the various seasons of sports running as smoothly as a clock, MWR Sports will miss a valuable member in 2018.

For years, Wayde Ichiyama has been the go-to guy to set up and keep track of teams and schedules, but after retiring in 2017, he is on to his next great adventure.

I would like to wish Wayde all the best in whatever endeavors he chooses to seek and to thank him for the years of service and help he gave to me in my coverage of Joint Base sports.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS

Category: Life & Leisure