Tennessee Patriots send Jefferson City home early

Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Meadow keeps his eyes on the ball before coming up with a grounder.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) Tennessee Patriots started the game with their bats on fire and scored 10 times en route to a 14-3 victory over USS Jefferson City (SSN 759) on July 15 in an Afloat Division intramural softball game at Millican Field, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The win all but assured a spot in the upcoming playoffs for the Patriots, who improved their record to 6-3, while Jefferson City fell to 4-5.

Patriots’ pitcher Damage Controlman 1st Class Josh Hooper, who went the full five innings in the mercy-rule-ending win, said that the team’s recent practices focused on hitting and it showed against Jefferson City.

“We came together as a group and decided that we needed to practice more often,” Hooper said. “We got our core group of guys to the batting cages and worked on our mechanics. Even today, a lot of the guys went early to Ward Field and got some hitting practice.”

Apparently, the team was already warmed up by the time the game started and in the Patriots’ first at-bat, the players were ready for a big inning.

With one out in the bottom of the first, back-to-back hits by Fire Controlman Aegis 2nd Class Travis Holleman and Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Danny Meadow put two runners in scoring position at second and third.

Hooper, who pitched a scoreless top of the first, then cashed in with double to drive in two runs.

Another run scored on a fielding error, then, with the bases loaded, Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class LeKendrick Pettway slashed a single to drive in runs four and five.

Two walks with the bases loaded plated two more runners for the Patriots, before Holleman connected on a base hit that scored another two runs.

Like Holleman, Meadow picked up his second hit of the inning and drove in the Patriots 10th and final run of the inning.

“It’s just a matter of catching on fire,” Hooper said. “We did that in the last game. We just came out and our bats were on fire.”

After Hooper tossed another goose egg in the top of the second inning, the Patriots were at it again in their next turn at the plate.

Showing that the first inning wasn’t a fluke, the Patriots opened the bottom of the second inning with three straight hits.

The third hit came off the bat of Fire Controlman 3rd Class Keith Vandiver, which drove in a run.

The Patriots scored again in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Electrical) Seaman Emmanual Duncan that made it 12-0.

Jefferson City, which was playing in their second game of a double header, probably felt the heat of the day after their first game went into extra innings.

Still, the team gave it their all and managed to score three times, with one of the runs being batted in by Jefferson City pitcher Electronics Technician 1st Class Richard Wheeler.

With only one more week before the start of the playoffs, Hooper said that he feels pretty good about their chances to make a deep run.

Hooper added that if duty takes away a few of their core players it could be a problem. But no matter what, the Patriots will play hard.

“Sometimes, we have issues with consistency due to duty,” he said. “If that happens come playoffs, that might hurt. But we’re getting hot at the right time and we’re doing all the right things to be successful.”

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Category: Sports