First regional win since '93 eludes corpsmen
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Corpsmen are supposed to be well-versed in treating cardiac cases, not causing them.
Take the U.S. Naval Hospital Camp Lester softball team, which hasn’t won a game in the Marine Forces Pacific Regional Softball Tournament in 10 years but came close twice Tuesday, putting scares into two tournament rivals.
The corpsmen were one out away from beating 1st Marine Aircraft Wing before fading 10-9 in eight innings. Four hours later, Hospital led 8-3 entering the sixth inning before 3rd Marine Division/Expeditionary Force scored six runs in a 9-8 triumph.
“They’re tough this year,” Division pitcher/coach Tony Pesquera said.
“They’re one of the best Hospital teams I’ve seen here in years,” added Wing pitcher John O’Brien. “They’re scrappy.”
“They’ve not been out of a game yet this whole tournament,” said coach Jamie Newberry of defending champion Marine Corps Base Camp Butler.
The corpsmen have led in three of four games while scoring 36 runs — one more than they had in eight games in last year’s tournament.
Still, Hospital has lost every game since winning twice in 1993, the first year it was entered in the regional tournament.
Five-time All-Armed Forces first baseman Mel Harris, who went 3-for-6 Tuesday with three RBIs, delivered a two-run single to give Hospital a 9-8 lead over Wing in the seventh.
With two outs in the bottom of the inning, O’Brien drove in Dan Smith from second base with a game-tying single. With one out in the eighth, Josh Vanalstine lined a shot over left-center fielder Channing Smith’s head, scoring pinch-runner Howard Mitchell from second.
Division appeared lifeless after Bob Preston’s two-run triple put Hospital ahead 8-3 in the fifth. But Division scored six runs in the sixth, getting two-run singles from David Donahue and Ron Tash.
“They had us down, but we bounced back,” Pesquera said. “We hit the ball, and in this tournament you have to hit the ball to win.”
Harris was disappointed but remains determined.
“We just about got one,” he said. “Entertaining games. We came out on the losing end, but we’ll keep plugging along and hopefully we’ll get one.”
Army picks players for camps
Three players from Camp Casey, South Korea were selected to attend the men’s All-Army softball tryout camp, Army sports officials said Tuesday.
Dexter Avery, Joseph Jenkins and Jonathan Nicholson will travel to Fort Sam Houston, Texas for camp scheduled July 21-Aug. 10 and vie for spots on the All-Army team, scheduled to compete in the All-Armed Forces tournaments at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Aug. 18-23.
Two Korea-based female soldiers are headed to Fort Indiantown Gap for the women’s tryout camp Aug. 17-Sept. 5: Taegu’s Christie Winger and Camp Casey’s Gretchen McMullen.
The women’s All-Armed Forces tournament at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is Sept. 6-11.