Ho'okele Staff | Jul 14, 2012
The USS Reuben James (FFG 57) scored three runs in the bottom of the first and fifth innings en route to a 9-5 victory over USS Nimitz (CVN 68) to capture the RIMPAC Softball Tournament championship July 5 at Millican Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
In winning the flag, Reuben James had huge contributions from first baseman Lt. j.g. Eric Scog-gins and pitcher Lt. j.g. Kyle Alwert.
Scoggins went three-for-four at the plate and drove in three runs with a double, single and triple, while Alwert tossed a four-hit shutout over five innings before holding Nimitz to two runs in the sixth and three runs in the seventh for the complete game win.
“It’s awesome,” said Alwert amid post-game celebrations. “We’re such a small ship. To take out a carrier and other ships and subs that came out here, it’s good. We’re such a small percentage of our crew.”
After Alwert retired the side in order in the top of the first, Reuben James put runners on first and second with one out.
Scoggins stepped up to the plate and sliced a double that, coupled with a throwing error, drove in the first two runs of the game.
Then, with Scoggins moving to third on the errant toss, Alwert came up to the plate with two outs and slapped a base hit to drive in the team’s third run.
The lead stayed the same until the bottom of the fifth when Reuben James mounted another rally by placing runners on first and second with one out.
Once again, Scoggins delivered by slamming a clutch three-bagger to plate two more runs and raise Reuben James’ lead to 5-0.
“I changed my approach a couple of games ago,” said Scoggins about his clutch hitting against the Nimitz. “It worked out for me the last two games. I made some good contact and was able to get us some key runs.”
Scoggins scored for the second time in the game when the next hitter Seaman Chase Gordon came through with a single for the third run of the inning.
Down by six runs, Nimitz bats finally broke through in the top of sixth inning when Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 1st Class Mike Ziegman hit a single to drive in the team’s first run.
Later in the frame, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Robert Stevens drove in the team’s second run with another single that cut Reuben James’ lead down to four at 6-2.
With the momentum seemingly swinging toward the direction of Nimitz, Reuben James stepped up and regained control by scoring three times in the bottom of the sixth.
Left fielder Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Daniel Cardona led off the inning with a single before Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Chris White doubled to drive him in.
Then with White on second, Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Jake Alicuben, a member of the 2011 All-Navy team, lined a shot that got through the Nimitz center fielder and rolled to the fence.
White scored easily on the play and was shortly met at home plate by Alicuben, who sped around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
“A lot of us have played together for a year and we, as a team, realize how important it is to answer back,” said Scoggins about the late rally. “We knew that was important, and we were able to accomplish it.”
Facing the team’s last atbat in the top of the seventh, Nimitz gave it one last-ditch effort to catch Reuben James.
Opening with a lead-off single by Aviation Boats-wain’s Mate (Fuel) 3rd Class Kyle Brown, Nimitz scored one run off of an error, another on a double by Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman William Petersen, and a third run on a single by Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Jeff Atkins.
However, the rally fell short after Alwert induced a fly ball for the final out of the game.
In wrapping up the title, Alwert praised the effort of his teammates and said that he knew the team would perform well in the tournament.
“We’re a good solid team,” Alwert stated. “We’ve been playing in the intramural league and actually won the championship (Afloat Division), so I was very confident in our abilities. We came out here, fielded well, hit well, so it was good games.”