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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Despite having outhit host Marine Corps Base Camp Butler 8-5 in the opening game of the 2005 Marine Forces Pacific Regional Softball Tournament, two-time defending champion 3rd Force Service Support Group team did itself in with errors, losing 4-1.

It turned out to be the lone hiccup for 3rd Force, which righted itself with two victories, 15-10 over 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and 14-8 over 3rd Marine Division/Expeditionary Force.

“I’m glad we got it out of the way,” said coach J.T. Turner, who has just six players back from the back-to-back title years. “I think we needed that. Sometimes a loss is a good thing. Better that it happens now, instead of tomorrow.”

As it was, 3rd Force finished round-robin play 2-1 and clinched the top seed into the two-day double-elimination playoffs that began Tuesday. Wing earned the second seed, Division the third seed and Base the last seed.

The regional tournament is normally played over five days, but with a field of just four teams, down from seven last year, play will be completed Wednesday, after which six players will be selected to attend the All-Marine tryout camp scheduled for Aug. 14-Sept. 4 at Cherry Point Air Station, N.C.

They’ll compete for berths on the All-Marine team scheduled to play in the All-Armed Forces tournament Sept. 5-10 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

Turner and other coaches feel that a title three-peat for 3rd Force is no sure thing.

“It’s wide open this year,” Turner said.

“The talent is spread out a lot more than it used to be,” said Division coach Robert Putney. “I don’t think 3rd Force is as strong as in the past, and the other teams have caught up to their level.”

Tournament scoreboard

Tournament scoreboard

Round-robin standings

W L Pct. GB

3rd Force SSG 2 1 .667 —

1st Marine Aircraft Wing 2 1 .667 —

3rd Marine Div./Exp. Force 1 2 .333 1

MC Base Camp Butler 1 2 .333 1

Monday’s scores

Base 4, 3rd Force 1

Wing 15, Division 14, 5 inn., 1-hour time limit

Division 16, Base 15, 8 inn.

3rd Force 15, Wing 10

Wing 14, Base 2, 6 inn., 12-run rule

3rd Force 14, Division 8

Double-elimination playoffs

Tuesday’s games

Game 1: 3rd Force vs. Base Camp Butler

Game 2: 1st Wing vs. Division

Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner

Game 4: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser

Wednesday’s games

Game 5: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner

Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner

Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 5 winner, if Game 3 winner loses Game 6

author picture
Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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