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Tim Sandlin, 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron, waits for his pitch during the base intramural softball championship Aug. 2 at Eglin’s Foster Stadium. The 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron team came up from the losers’ bracket to defeat MDG twice to claim the title in the double elimination tournament. Taylor had two home runs for MDG during the games. Both games were won by only one run, which was scored in the bottom of the final inning. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Cheryl Foster.)
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Underdog LRS bests Medical Group for base softball title

Posted 8/6/2010   Updated 8/11/2010 Email story   Print story


by Samuel King Jr.
Team Eglin Public Affairs

8/6/2010 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron completed their "Cinderella" run Aug. 2, winning the base intramural softball championship.

The team had to come from behind twice against the 96th Medical Group to claim the title. In the double-elimination style tournament, LRS had to beat MDG in a double-header to win. The team, which went 11-2 in the regular season, also battled through the losers' bracket after an early round loss to the 728th Air Control Squadron.

"I knew they could do it," said Lt. Col. Christopher Holmes, 96th LRS commander. "I did get nervous in those middle innings, but they came back and finished strong."

Luck seemed to be riding with the underdog LRS, winning home field advantage on the coin flips for both games.

The first game kicked off with LRS scoring in the bottom of the 1st for a 1-0 lead. The MDG reacted with a seemingly endless string of singles and ended with a three-run home run by Rob Taylor to put LRS in a hole, 8-1.

By the bottom of the fifth, LRS was looking up from the 9-2 ditch they dug, mainly due to fielding errors and missed opportunities. LRS began their climb back up with a six-run inning, trailed 9-8.

MDG added another show of force in the sixth with a solo home run by Dante Harris. Unaffected, however, LRS picked up two more runs to go into the final inning dead-even 10-10.

MDG put the pressure back on LRS by taking the lead and forcing LRS to either score or lose. A MDG fielding error put lead-off batter Travis Laws on third. Laws scored off a hit from Jamie Harrington. The winning run was aboard with LRS's best hitters coming up. MDG decided to walk the two batters and load the bases, bringing up Grant Gammons. A single or just a deeply-hit pop fly would win the game for LRS.

Instead of playing it safe, Gammons made a statement - a long drive to left centerfield for a game-winning grand slam homerun.

"When Grant hit the pitch, I knew we won, but I didn't think it was going out," said Tim Sandlin, LRS team coach. "When it went out, I figured the momentum would carry us through the next game."

Although Sandlin talked to his team about mental errors, the team seemed rattled as the second game began with two dropped catches leading to a quick 4-0 lead by MDG.

LRS shook off the mistakes and answered with four runs of their own to even the score. In the second inning, they added five more and took the lead, 9-4.

MDG pitcher, Rob Taylor began the third inning with a lead-off homerun, followed by a solo shot from Ethan Cross bringing the score to 9-6.

In the fifth inning, MDG took the lead when Chuck Trevino hit a massive three-run home run. MDG led 10-9.

In the bottom of the sixth, LRS reclaimed the lead with another big hit from Gammons, a double, to make it 11-10. The pressure was now on MDG to score or lose.

They were able to respond, but with only one run to tie up the game. This left the game wide open for an LRS win.

Sandlin led off the final inning with a single. When he ended up on third with only one out, the crowd began to stand. There was a sense it was all over but the hit, which Eric Brunner provided. Sandlin jogged in and completed the win, the championship and the season by touching home plate.

"That was special for me," said Sandlin. "I've been here at Eglin for 14 years, made the playoffs every year, made the finals three or four times, but was never able to finish the job and bring home first place."

The coach added that he and his team felt this was their year.

"We knew we had the talent to win it all," he said. "Everyone felt like we were the best team on base all year. We all came together, from my starters to my players who supported us from the bench; all came in and did their jobs when we needed them to."

That "team" and "get the job done" attitude are qualities the whole squadron possesses, according to its commander.

"This team is indicative of the whole LRS squadron," said Colonel Holmes. "We know what needs to get done and we do it. We do it every day."

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