OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Labor Day became a celebration day as Osan’s two-diamond softball complex as the host Mustangs’ men’s and women’s teams captured their respective titles in the 2006 POW-MIA Memorial Tournament.
Robert Goddard went 4-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs as the Mustangs men beat Heat 3N2 17-7 in a one-game final. Osan’s women took the harder road, needing two games to down Area III of Camp Humphreys 9-6 and 10-9, with the second game ending on Celsa Salazar’s walk-off solo in-park home run.
“This was a total team effort,” men’s coach Sammy Kurk said of his Mustangs, who’ve fashioned a 60-11 record this season with four tournament titles.
He praised everybody from the top nine in the batting order, which averaged .580 or better, to his pinch-hitters, pinch-runners and defensive replacements off the bench.
“Everybody contributed,” Kurk said.
Among those contributors, tournament MVP Tony Piccoli batted 18-for-24 with 19 RBIs, sportsmanship award winner Dexter High belted 10 homers and drove in 26 runs, James Grover was 21-for-29 with 21 RBIs and Goddard went 20-for-28 with six homers and 17 RBIs. Defensively, second baseman Jerry Surber turned 11 double plays, four in one game.
“It feels great,” Kurk said.
For the Osan women, who’ve come close in three previous tournaments, the title was “overdue," said coach Natasha Theriault.
Salazar’s inside-the-park home run came after Area III rallied from a 9-4 deficit for five runs in the top of the seventh, with All-Army second baseman Roxanne Finks delivering the key blow, a three-run double to knot it 9-9 and set the stage for Salazar’s heroics.
Aside from Salazar’s play, Theriault cited Latonya Mathis and pitcher Shirley Belvin as “keys to the victory.”