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Softball pre-tourney pits hitters against fielders

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By G. ANTHONIE RIIS

In the final pre-tournament game of the 2018 intramural softball season Aug. 2, HRC Scared Hitless played one of three teams from USAREC, beating them 20-10.

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Initially, both teams seemed evenly matched with 10 scored runs apiece, until Scared Hitless began to pull away with four runs in the fourth inning to USAREC’s lone run. Encouraged by USAREC’s dismal bats, Hitless energized their own bats and gained six more runs in the fifth.

Scared Hitless has earned nine wins and three losses. As it heads into tournament play with this latest definitive win, the team knows that there is still work to be done.

“This league is very competitive. There are very strong teams. We are a stand out team,” said Alex Vega, first baseman for Scared Hitless said. “We’ll need to be consistent to ensure we are tournament champions. Anyone can take it home. When the tournament starts, we’re all back at square one.”

Both these teams see two giants that will have to be laid low in order to lift the trophy high.

“The two teams to beat are Cadet Command and the 19th Engineers,” said Richard Hagan, human resources assistant and coach for Scared Hitless. “We can hold our own, but we’ll have to play smart. We can’t afford to make errors, and we’ll have to hit the ball like we’re capable of.”

Chris Pierson, the USAREC team captain, agrees and adds that due to his team’s loss to Scared Hitless, they will need to double down and start their climb to the top by beating their latest nemesis first.

“We’ll face Scared Hitless again in our first round. All three of these teams are tough, but I think we can beat [Scared Hitless,] and then we’ll be sitting pretty, too,” he said. “We’ll need to get our batting back to where we were in the beginning of the season, and we’ll need to capitalize on our speed on the base paths and fielding the ball as a key to success.”

Vega said they have all they need to succeed but need to bring it all on game day and be ready to compensate, if and when they get behind.

“We’re hitters — we’re a combination of power hitters and placement hitters,” he said. “Our [fielding] can be our weakness. We’ve got to make the routine plays, and we’ve got to be ready to make it up with our ability in the batter’s box, if need be. Hit the ball, catch the ball, and we’ll come out on top.”

Pierson said he feels
batting has been his squad’s problem in the
past, but that his team
is peaking at the right
time in the season.

“We’ve just been swinging, trying to get the ball into play where other teams are able to put the ball where they want it,” Pierson said. “That takes practice, and that’s what we are getting more of.”

Both teams’ captains
feel they can bring more rounded teams to the
tournament than they
fielded during the regular season, and both are
hoping for the best.

“In the summertime, you have rainouts, you have people going on vacation, you have people going on TDY; and it’s hard to keep the continuity going when you have a different team every night,” Hagan said. “That won’t be the case for this tournament. We’ll have everyone home and we’ll be ready to roll — to get out there and play like we’re capable of playing.”