NHCH sends PACOM/JIOC to first loss of season

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Cody Adkins keeps his eyes on the ball before slashing a game-winning hit.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Naval Health Clinic Hawaii (NHCH) played David against the Red Division’s Goliath Pacific Command/Joint Intelligence Operation Center (PACOM/JIOC), as the team slingshotted a deadly blow in securing a 7-6 victory on June 27 at Millican Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The loss was the first of the season for defending champs PACOM/JIOC and eliminated the division’s final team from the ranks of the undefeated.

NHCH, who was sitting in fifth place before the start of the game, improved to 6-3 and is now in a three-way tie for third, while PACOM/JIOC holds a record of 6-1.

The big hit of the game came off the bat of Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Cody Adkins, whose single with two men on and one out drove in the final two runs of the game for the walk-off win.

“We’ve been on a really big winning streak lately, where we have just been pounding people,” said Adkins about the huge upset. “I’ve been telling everybody, as long as we come out, stay focused at the plate, we just hit the ball, try not to be the hero, we have the defense to beat anybody.”

Defense, pitching and clutch hitting all played big roles in the win for NHCH.

First off, pitcher Master Chief Chris Aldis did a fantastic job of keeping PACOM/JIOC’s murderer’s row of hitters off balance.

Aldis was masterful off the mound, as he changed speeds on his pitches and even altered the motion of his delivery from fast to slow.

For three of the seven innings, Aldis set down PACOM/ JIOC hitters in order, which has been a rare feat during this season.

“It does start with the man throwing the ball, but we’re a big team and everybody in back of him collectively backs him up,” Adkins said. “He (Aldis) gets out there and throws his heart out every game. I’m proud of him.”

Defense also played a big role in the win, as NHCH not only took care of the routine plays, but also came up with some stops worthy of a highlight reel.

The biggest defensive play came in the top of the fifth inning. With the game tied at 4-4, PACOM/JIOC loaded the bases with only one out and All-Navy candidate Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Christian Hetzel entering the batter’s box.

Batting from the left side, Hetzel sent a rocket down the first-base line. First baseman Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Michael Aperto-Apodaca made a spectacular grab and then touched the bag for an unassisted double play to end the threat and inning.

“I’ve got a lot of trust in him,” Adkins said. “He’s just an all-around athlete. He hits bombs, he plays solid defense and he’s got reach like nobody else on our team. If the game’s on the line, if there’s one guy I want them to hit the ball to, it’s that guy.”

Then there’s clutch hitting, with the biggest one coming from Adkins.

“I’ve been anxious at the plate a little earlier in the night,” Adkins said. “My philosophy has been to take the first pitch, settle down and then as soon as I see the next one to hit, I go for it. This game could have gone either way. Fortunately, it came out in our favor.”

Adkins said that while certain plays and individual players may have come up big in the team’s upset win, it all comes down to playing as team.

“We don’t have anybody who’s playing out there for their own glory,” he said. “We are really big about the team and nobody wants to let their teammate down. We just keep going forward and everybody stays upbeat.”

While the win over PACOM/ JIOC is a huge boost to NHCH, Adkins said that the team would just file it away and come back ready for the next game.

“We won’t be overconfident,” he said. “We always respect our opponents, but we’re hot right now and we like to think that we can win every game that we play. We won’t let it get to our heads, but we just like to think that we’re competitive with every team that we play.”

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

Category: Sports