MacDill softball team wins military World Series
Determination described the MacDill Men's Varsity Softball Team as they went 4-1 and won the Southern Softball Association of America "Varsity A" Military World Series held in Fayetteville, NC. The opponents were 12 installations representing the Army, Marines and other Air Force teams.
The team was lead by Steve Weekly and Dwayne Aughie who both batted four for five. Defensively the team was lead by Roach, Koller and Aughie who played stellar defense.
"This is one of three military world tournaments and we wanted to make a statement in the 'Varsity A' division," said Gary Vercher, coach of the MacDill team. "We came out on fire the first game and beat MCAS New River 28-8. The team was led by Chris Roach who went 4 for 4 and Chuck Hancuff who went 4 for 4, with two grand slams."
The team's next game was against Ft. Myers from Virginia, the National Softball Association "Varsity A" champions, and the team got off to a slow start scoring six runs the first five innings. The team was trailing 16-6 then the rain came. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the team batted through the lineup without an out and went on to score 14 runs taking a 4 run lead going into the 7th inning. Jermaine Flythe, who hit two home runs, was the highlight the game. Mike Aumack went 4 for 5 with a home run, and big Andy Bernt added a homer on the way to an impressive 20-16 victory.
The third game of the day pitted MacDill against Camp Lejuene. MacDill jumped out to a fast start scoring seven runs in the first and fourth innings and six in the fifth. Lajuene answered with four runs in the first, five in the fourth and nine runs in the fifth, making it a 20-18 game in the sixth inning. MacDill was lead by Dru Remsburg and Teddy Koller, who went four-for-four with a home run each. MacDill took a 21-18 victory, ending the day as the only undefeated team.
Entering Sunday morning, MacDill had to wait for the winner of the losers' bracket to fight their way to the championship game. Primed and ready, Ft. Myers won two games and was ready to square of against MacDill in the championship game.
Ft. Myers went on to a 17-7 victory giving MacDill their first loss as they entered the rubber match to decide the championship.
The championship game started out like the prior game ended with Ft. Myers jumping out to a decisive 14-8 lead after three innings. The team poured on eight runs in the fourth inning to take a 16-14 lead, leaving Ft Myers stunned and soaked from being in the field.
Ft. Myers went scoreless the next three innings while MacDill added four more runs on homers by Deriz Godfrey to take a 20-14 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning.
"Myers is a veteran team with a lot of talent and I knew they had one more shot at winning the championship," said the coach.
In the seventh, Ft. Myers scored two runs and had runners on first and second, when a ground ball was hit to the shortstop who threw the ball to third base for a force out. During the play at third there was controversy because the runner was tagged out but the ball was knocked loosed by the runner and called safe.
"Calming the team down and getting them focused was the priority," explained coach Vercher. "This loaded the bases and put the tying run at the plate. The next batter hit a grand slam tying the game."
Entering the eighth inning, Dwayne Aughie lead off with a base hit and James Large came in to run. Tim Grothuesman followed with a single, pushing the go-ahead-run to third base. Chris Roach added a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead-run and take a one-run lead into the bottom of the eighth.
In the bottom of the inning with two outs, Ft. Myers had runner on first and second. The game was ended with a line drive catch by Chuck Hancuff, giving MacDill the championship.
Chuck Hancuff was named the All World MVP with an impressive .782 batting average and six home runs. Four players were named to the All World team; Jermaine Flythe, Teddy Koller, Dru Remsburg and Chris Roach. Gary Vercher was named Coach of the Year.
"This is the second year for MacDill men's softball. Who would have thought we would be standing where we are today, atop the hill with a military world championship?" said coach Vercher.
MacDill Men's Varsity Softball team will be heading to Garland, Texas Aug. 20 to 23 to compete in the last major military world tournament of the year.
(Courtesy of MacDill's Men's Varsity softball team)