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Ammo’s bombs clinch first softball title

Softball Championship 2017

Brenden Hewlett, 96th Maintenance Squadron softball team, swings for the fences during the intramural championship game Aug. 28 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The game pitted the 96th Maintenance Squadron team against the reigning championships, the 96th Operations Support Squadron team. The Maintainers powerful bats and six homeruns, including three by Hewlett, won the game 17-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Softball Championship 2017

The Eglin Air Force Base Intramural Softball Championship trophy sits waiting for the winner of the final game of the season Aug. 28. The game pitted the maintenance team against the reigning championships, the 96th Operations Support Squadron team. The Maintainers powerful bats and six homeruns won the game 17-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Softball Championship 2017

The 96th Operations Support Squadron softball team stands in a line during the National Anthem prior to the intramural championship game Aug. 28 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The game pitted the 96th Maintenance Squadron team against the reigning championship, OSS team. The Maintainers powerful bats and six homeruns won the game 17-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Softball Championship 2017

Tyler Leemon, 96th Maintenance Squadron softball team shortstop, slings a throw to first base during the intramural championship game Aug. 28 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The game pitted the 96th Maintenance Squadron team against the reigning championships, the 96th Operations Support Squadron team. The Maintainers powerful bats and six homeruns won the game 17-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Softball Championship 2017

Aiden Smith, 96th Operations Support Squadron team, watches during his team’s at bat during the intramural softball championship game Aug. 28 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The game pitted the 96th Maintenance Squadron team against the reigning championship, OSS team. The Maintainers powerful bats and six homeruns won the game 17-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Softball Championship 2017

Justin Nunley, 96th Maintenance Squadron softball team outfielder, snags a fly-ball during the intramural championship game Aug. 28 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The game pitted the 96th Maintenance Squadron team against the reigning championships, the 96th Operations Support Squadron team. The Maintainers powerful bats and six homeruns won the game 17-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Softball Championship 2017

Roger Randall, 96th Operations Support Squadron team, swings for the fences during the intramural softball championship game Aug. 28 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The game pitted the 96th Maintenance Squadron team against the reigning championship, OSS team. The Maintainers powerful bats and six homeruns won the game 17-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Softball Championship 2017

A 96th Maintenance Squadron softball team outfielder throws the softball in from centerfield during the intramural championship game Aug. 28 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The game pitted the 96th Maintenance Squadron team against the reigning championships, the 96th Operations Support Squadron team. The Maintainers powerful bats and six homeruns won the game 17-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Softball Championship 2017

James Scharf, the 96th Operations Support Squadron team’s shortshop, throws to first base during the intramural softball championship game Aug. 28 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The game pitted the 96th Maintenance Squadron team against the reigning championship, OSS team. The Maintainers powerful bats and six homeruns won the game 17-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

Softball Championship 2017
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The Eglin Air Force Base Intramural Softball Championship trophy sits waiting for the winner of the final game of the season Aug. 28. The game pitted the maintenance team against the reigning championships, the 96th Operations Support Squadron team. The Maintainers powerful bats and six homeruns won the game 17-15. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 96th Maintenance Squadron outlasted the 96th Operations Support Squadron 17-15 Aug. 28 to take the intramural softball league championship title here.

The Ammo team entered the final contest with an 11-1 record.  They were determined to defeat Ops, last year’s champions.  Ops took the field at 13-2, after a season plagued with rained-out games and a number of teams exiting the league early.

Both teams had one strategy to win the title – to score as many runs as possible in seven innings.

Ops batted first.  Brian Keels’ double to left field drove in the first run.  They led 2-0 at the end of the first inning.

Ammo answered quickly at the bottom of the first when Brenden Hewlett smashed his first home run with two men on base, for a 3-2 lead.  Ammo left the inning with a 4-2 advantage. 

Hewlett belted his second consecutive homer in the second inning, with one man on. 

Great defense from both teams, at the bases and in the outfield, kept the game close through the next two innings.

With an 8-6 lead in the bottom of the fourth, Ammo began dropping bombs on Ops when Tyler Leemon’s homer with one man on, upped the score to 10-6.  Gage Walsh and Jonathan Contreras’ hot bats put Ammo further in front, 12-6.

James Scharf, Ops’ coach, went into the fifth inning confident in his team despite the momentum shift.

“We just have to play our game and hit,” he said.

Andy Wolfe’s solo shot over the left field fence brought a roar from the Ops dugout and narrowed the deficit to 12-7.  Their excitement was soon nullified by an Ammo defensive double play.

Leemon, Ammo’s coach, urged his team to work harder to win the game at home plate in the sixth.

“We need to string more of these hitting spurts together and be more consistent,” he said.

Justin Nunley heard Leemon and smacked a home run to widen the lead, 13-7.

Michael Wortham’s triple, Hewlett’s third homer of the night and Jonathan Contreras’ unaccompanied home run gave Ammo four runs for a commanding 17-7 lead. The team combined for six home runs in just six innings.

They hoped the 10-run gap was enough to put the game out of the Ops team's reach.

Ops mounted a late comeback charge at the top of the seventh, scoring eight runs, inspired by Aiden Smith’s lead-off solo blast.  But, valiant batting contributions from Scharf, Keels, Wolfe and Carlos Santiago were not enough to catch Ammo.

Ammo hung on to seal the victory and win their first championship title, 17-15.

“Ops almost caught us at the end,” Leemon said.  “That was scary.  But we came together as a team.  We had some new young kids come in this year, which made a difference.  We played great ball all season.  We wanted this one.”