NCTAMS PAC jumps back into the race for pennant

Retired Navy Chief Lloyd Shoemaker crosses home plate for a run. NCTAMS PAC overcame two defi cits and a tie to win over 324 IS/392 IS.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Naval Computer Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific (NCTAMS PAC) picked up a full game in the Red Division by defeating the league-leading 324th Intelligence Squadron (324 IS)/392nd Intelligence Squadron (392 IS), 15-9, May 29 in an intramural softball showdown at Hickam Softball Complex, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Starting the day in fifth place and in danger of falling out of the race, NCTAMS PAC rallied from two deficits and a tie to come from behind and defeat the 324 IS/392 IS.

NCTAMS PAC improved their record to 5-3, while the 324 IS/392 IS dropped only their second game of the season against five wins.

“We come out slow, but once we get in the groove, get some confidence hitting the ball, we start to get behind that,” said NCTAMS PAC team captain Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Jimenez Gonzales. “If we could start earlier, that would be great, but as long as we can get it going, then we’re a great team and we can make it far.”

Starting off slowly, NCTAMS PAC quickly fell behind to the 324 IS/392 IS in the bottom of the first inning, when Staff Sgt. Kevin Wibiral smashed a deep ball over the fence for a tworun blast.

In the top of the third, NCTAMS PAC made the first comeback by scoring three times to take a 3-2 lead.

The bases were chock full of runners, when Justin Shoemaker, a military family member, lofted a deep fly for an out to right field, but a misplayed relay back to the infield allowed all three runners to touch home.

The lead was quickly overcome by the 324 IS/392 IS in the bottom of the frame, when pitcher Senior Airman Megan Hinds walked up to the plate with the bases loaded and crushed a hard grounder off the glove of the NCTAMS PAC first baseman to drive in two runs for a 4-3 lead.

After another run scored, the 324 IS/392 IS reloaded the bases and batter Staff Sgt. Michael Zascalera stroked a single to centerfield that drove in two more runs.

Finally, a throwing error in the infield allowed the 324 IS/392 IS to score one more time to take an 8-3 advantage.

Facing another uphill climb, retired Navy Chief Lloyd Shoemaker jumpstarted NCTAMS PAC with an RBI single in the top of the fourth, before the team went on to score two more times to pull to within two runs.

With the team inching closer, Chief Shoemaker bore down on the pitcher’s mound to retire the 324 IS/392 IS in order in the bottom of the fourth.

Then in the very next frame, NCTAMS PAC erased its second deficit of the game by scoring three runs to take a 9-8 lead.

However, in the very next inning, the 324 IS/392 IS came back to tie the game on a lead-off home run by Joe Ondera, a military family member, that cleared the center field fence.

In the very next at-bat, hitter Zascalera stroked another shot over the fence, but due to the single-homer-per-inning rule, Zascalera was held to a long single.

With the score tied at 9-9, NCTAMS PAC immediately went to work in the top of the sixth by placing two runners in scoring position, with Lt. j.g. Zack Reed coming up to the plate.

Reed calmly stroked a single that cleared the bases and put NCTAMS PAC out in front for good.

While NCTAMS PAC will get a bye next week, the following weeks will be filled with tough opponents, as the team tries to lockdown a spot in the playoffs.

NCTAMS PAC will face two teams in the top-four of the division and must get through both of them in order to punch its ticket to the playoffs.

“We feel good,” Gonzales said. “We know that we got to win out to make the playoffs, but I think we’re peaking at the right time to make it far.”

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Category: Sports