PACOM/JIOC counting on repeat as Joint Base champs

Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Christian Hetzel gets full extension on his swing in launching a three-run homer.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

Although the softball season is just at the midway point, according to All-Navy prospect Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Christian Hetzel, the championship trophy might just as well be handed over to defending champions Pacific Command/Joint Intelligence Operation Center (PACOM/JIOC) right now.

After sending FREQS & GCCS to a devastating 16-4 mercy-rule defeat on June 13, PACOM/JIOC continues to set the pace as the only undefeated team in the Red Division.

With most of the team’s wins coming via mercy rule, few can argue with Hetzel, whose hot play at the plate and on the field reflects the dominance held by PACOM/JIOC for the second season in a row.

“As a team, I think we’re the best in every aspect of the game,” Hetzel said. “We can always improve. You can never have enough of team cohesion.”

While FREQS & GCCS entered the showdown with a very respectable 5-2 record, the team was no match for PACOM/ JIOC, whose record now stands at 6-0.

In three straight weeks, PACOM/JIOC recorded wins over the No. 2, 3 and 4 teams.

Using their free-swinging attack at the plate against FREQS & GCCS, PACOM/JIOC aggressively came out in the top of the first inning to score five times.

After leadoff hitter Army Staff Sgt. Michael Cox grounded out to first, PACOM/JIOC followed up with three straight singles to score the first run of the game on a hit by Army Staff Sgt. Schaune Collins.

Team captain Mike Todd’s hit up the middle drove in the team’s second run, while a base hit by Staff Sgt. Shawn Dubois chased home run number three.

Lt. j.g. Brian Caplan later cashed in with a double that scored two more runs and a 5-0 lead.

FREQS & GCCS scored a run on an error in the bottom of the frame, but back came PACOM/JIOC in the top of the second.

With the bases loaded and one out, Hetzel came through with his first big hit of the game — a tworun double — for a 7-1 lead.

“I was just looking for a good pitch, trying to get something in the outfield,” Hetzel said. “I knew when I hit it, it wasn’t going to go out, but I was just looking to move the runners over.”

Collins then blasted another double to drive in two more runs and make it a 9-1 game.

The teams traded a couple of runs heading into top of the fifth inning, but then the roof caved in, as Hetzel and the gang exploded one more time to put the game away for good.

Scoring four times to extend the lead out to 13-4, Hetzel came up to the plate with runners on first and third.

After coming close to a homer in the second inning, this time Hetzel hit a shot that left no doubt about where it would land.

Hetzel crushed a towering shot that curved into the foul pole, high above the left-field fence for a three-run shot that turned the lights out for good.

“On that one, I was just trying to get a base hit,” he said. “Just hit the ball solid and if it goes, it goes.”

Yeoman Seaman Aaron Houghton also swung a hot bat for PACOM/JIOC, going three-for-three at the plate.

Although PACOM/JIOC has five more games to play in the regular season, Hetzel said that he knows that his team is headed for the championship game for the second time in two years.

If they meet rival 647th Security Forces Squadron Pound Town again for the crown, Hetzel said he already knows of the outcome of that game as well.

“I know we’ll be in the championship again and it will probably be against Pound Town,” Hetzel said. “I have no doubt that we’re going to beat them again.”

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Category: Sports