YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Watching Jamie Feagin hit a softball prodigious distances left some observers speechless in Monday’s women’s final of the 24th Pacificwide Open Interservice Softball Tournament.
She’d already belted a ball not just over the fence, but over a building beyond the fence at Yongsan’s Lombardo Field 3 the game before the final. In the title game, she hit two more – one of them again over a building past the outfield fence, the other off the building’s roof.
What’s truly amazing is, this is Feagin’s first year of playing competitive softball, said her coach, Jeff Jackson of the Scrapalators, a veritable Who’s Who collection of women’s military softball players who play in tournaments throughout the U.S.
“She’s only been playing slowpitch for awhile, but she can hit the ball, no doubt,” said Jackson following the Scrapalators’ 14-4 championship-game win over X Treme 3 of Okinawa.
Feagin, a physical trainer at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., played some fastpitch softball in high school and earned a scholarship to play basketball at Liberty (Va.), from where Feagin said she “retired” into playing softball.
“She’s in a groove now,” Jackson said, adding that her swing and body positioning does need some work. “Once she learns to hit consistently, she’ll be unstoppable.”
Unstoppable was how Scrapalators appeared after spotting X Treme 3 a 4-0 first-inning lead on a sacrifice fly by Shameka White, Wendy Dreisbach’s RBI single and Stephanie Fofi’s two-run single.
Scrapalators answered promptly. The first of two Feagin homers followed RBI singles by Sirene Johnson, Tonja Russell and J.J. Campbell.
They put away the contest in the second on solo homers by Tracy Bougert, Russell and Amekea Smith and another Feagin three-run shot. A Brooke Snell solo shot in the fourth and Johnson’s RBI single in the fifth capped the scoring.
“It took three years to get the right mix, good players and good people,” Jackson said.
This was the first time Scrapalators have ventured outside the continental United States. Their male counterparts have won this tournament four straight years, and now the women have a title to complement them.
“Absolutely worth every minute,” four-time All-Armed Forces player A.C. Camp said.
“And now we have something to defend,” said Jackson, assuring that Scrapalators would return next year.
The men’s open finals result proved to be identical to the previous three years, with Scrapalators downing American Legion in a two-game final, 22-1 and 19-10, the fourth meeting of equally decorated collections of All-Service players.
But this time, with Hawaii-based Joint Task Force and SNAFU, Osan Air Base winning its first division title since 2002 and even a team from Minnesota, the North Stars, entered in the open brackets, the road back to the title wasn’t easy for Scraps.
“This is what softball is supposed to be, to make you play your best,” said former All-Army team captain Elmer Mason. “You don’t want to just go in and run over people.”
Thought to be aging, Scrapalators imported some new younger talent to augment the All-Army and All-Armed Forces vets on the team, Mason said. Dustin Kentzell, Kevin Cox, Jim Segrue and Tre Campbell each made their first Pac-wide appearances for the Scraps.
“We had to remind them that this is a marathon, not a sprint,” Mason said of the four-day Pac-wide grind. “Pace yourself and be ready to play Memorial Day. Fight through adversity. Then, you become a winner.”
Ralph Hodgdon drove in five runs with three singles and two sacrifice flies, Campbell had five hits and four RBIs, Cox plated two runners, Segrue drove in five runs in the first game alone, Kentzell hit two two-run homers and Trevor Simms hit three homers and had eight RBIs.
Tony Rivera drove in three runs, Keahi Kapana belted a three-run home run and Michael Charvat, Gary Chaney, Kevin Basinger and Dexter High each drove in runs for Legion.
There was a new champion in the men’s company-level division, where Defense Logistics Agency out of Camp Humphreys beat 2-2 Assault 12-11 in the final – their second one-run win over Assault in the playoffs.