Like outside temperatures, base intramural softball hits new highs

  • Published
  • By Brent Nichols
  • 72nd Operations Support Squadron
Let's face it, we need some rain.

A bone dry summer accompanied with weeks of triple digit temperatures has left most Oklahoma residents inside under the embrace of a cool A/C and anxiously waiting for these record-setting months to give way to the fall, but for Tinker's intramural softball it has been an opportunity to complete one of their most successful seasons to date.

This week softball players hit the field in an effort to make up games that were, ironically, rained out a few weeks ago. This is somewhat of a milestone as the softball regular season completed every scheduled game for the first time in four seasons. The previous three years have seen as many as half of the games cancelled along with the annual preseason tournament because the fields simply were not playable during most of May and into the early parts of June. Thunderstorms and torrential downpour has kept Tinker's softball players off the diamond for far too long and the rain, or lack thereof, has played a key role in the success of the 2011 season.

Tinker personnel, military and civilians, along with their spouses and dependents are the beneficiaries of this awesome benefit and successful season, but it may be a stretch to attribute all the success to a miserably hot summer. That's why it is important to bring to light the contributions the Gerrity Fitness and Sports Center's staff has made to the 2011 softball season. A series of decisions were made to address the constant rain-outs, deteriorating fields, and budget constraints that put this season into question.

First, the decision was made to move the season up almost a month to assist the scheduling problems Mother Nature brought each year. Then, a new layer of dirt was brought in to resurface the fields and the field preparation has been unparalleled by years past. Most importantly, the staff was being asked to find a way to cut costs.
In turn, they asked the umpires to not only work by themselves during the games, but also to keep score and manage some of the woes of only having one umpire on the field. At first an unpopular decision in the eyes of players and coaches, professionalism and patience prevailed by all parties involved allowing most games to be completed without a hitch.

Tinker's intramural softball league regular season will give way to postseason play in just over a week.

On Aug. 15, a double-elimination tournament will begin that brings together the top four teams from their respective leagues to crown a base champion. As the leagues wrap up regular season play, here are the teams who have clinched their spot in this year's playoffs.

The Monday evening teams, large squadrons, top-seeded teams represented in the playoffs include VQ-3, Army Strong, 552nd MXS and 34th CBCS. On July 25, the Swingers swept the Monday season's final series against the MDG Ringers to claim the regular season Monday Night title; both entered the game undefeated and will compete against six of the remaining civilian teams for the civilian base championship. The Swingers are looking to repeat as civilian base champions and maintain their long-standing dominance here at Tinker.

The Tuesday night league, small squadrons, will be represented by ASD/373, 72nd OSS Thunderhawks, who have only suffered one regular season loss in two years and are repeat Tuesday night champions; 552nd MOS and VQ-4. The Wednesday league is represented by SCW/Security, 72nd SFS, 963rd AACS and 3rd CCG. Thursday evening league will be represented by the Thumpers, Okies, 966/964th AACS and 32nd CBCS.

And, the co-ed softball league, which also plays on Thursday evenings, will be represented by Jay's Wrecking Crew, Thumper Red, CLS and Med Group. The 2011 playoffs promises to offer one of the most competitive tournaments in recent memory and truthfully, any team can make a splash and find themselves named "Tinker Air Force Base Softball Champions."

So, if you find yourself in the far northwest corner of Tinker's perimeter during playoff time, pull up some bleachers and grab an ice cold drink. A week of great softball is about to be played and with the winds usually coming from the south, spectating at Championship Field offers an opportunity to watch players try and put a softball on 29th Street. Regardless of who is eventually crowned champion, it has been an outstanding year, thus far, and the 2011 season has laid the foundation for many successful seasons for years to come.