WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – AFSAC-D has taken home the 2021 intramural softball league championship.
Shortstop Cody Liming homered twice and made a backhand snag while going to the ground to end the game as his team rallied late for a 22-17 win over the AFLCMC Sierra Deltas in the finale Sept. 30 at the Area B fields.
The semifinals were played earlier that evening. AFSAC-D needed just four innings to grab a 21-6 victory over NASIC/SN, while AFLCMC defeated NASIC Guns & Gears, 7-4.
In the championship game, the Sierra Deltas led 17-12 after six innings, behind two early home runs from Donnie Parks, along with strong defense.
“We came out flat and the Sierra Deltas came out hitting the ball where our fielders weren’t,” AFSAC-D coach Jeremy Law said. “Their pitcher had a very good knuckleball, which got us to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone early, resulting in easy groundouts or pop-outs. They are a very good team and have won the men’s league tournament multiple times.”
AFSAC-D finally found its groove in the top of the seventh inning when it batted around to score 10 runs and take a 22-17 lead into the final inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, AFLCMC had runners on first and second with no outs. Parks hit a hard line drive up the middle, but right at Liming, who caught it and stepped on second base for a double play, which proved to be a key stop and turning point in the game.
With two outs, Liming was able to snare a sinking liner in the hole between second and third to seal the victory and intramural title for AFSAC-D.
“The Sierra Deltas do not make mistakes in the field,” Law said, “so trying to extend an inning or score additional runs from errors wasn’t going to happen. Early in the game, we were not able to get the big hit with runners on to gain momentum, and they capitalized off that to jump out to the lead and keep it until the seventh inning.”
But AFSAC-D kept giving itself run-scoring chances. Law said that was key to taking home the championship. The team had a .775 on-base percentage in the tournament.
Timely hitting and power were also factors. AFSAC-D hit six home runs in the two games played, the most by any team.
Liming swatted four, in addition to his clutch defensive play in the team’s run to the title.
“Winning the championship felt great,” he said. “Joining a new team and job in the spring, you don’t know what to expect from people you have never played on a team with, let alone just met them all for the first time. All season, the team always found a way to start hitting, whether it was early in the game or with two outs.
“I had a good feeling that we would eventually hit, and it just happened to be in the last inning when we needed it most.”
For AFLCMC, the results weren’t what it was hoping for, but the club remains confident and optimistic about seasons to come.
“We played well all season,” AFLCMC coach Lucas Jacobsen said. “It was a fun game; it’s nice to play in such a great competition. We came up short this year, but I am beyond proud of this team.
“They are great players, but more importantly great teammates and even greater people, and we have confidence in ourselves heading into next season.”
AFSAC-D finishes the year at 10-1, with its only loss coming from a forfeited game earlier in the year. The Sierra Deltas close out the season at 9-2.