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4th SOPS upends USAFWC 15-7 in opener

Samantha Pereira, 4th Space Operations Squadron satellite engineer, rounds second base as she attempts to advance to third July 7, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. In the top of the fourth inning, 4th SOPS scored eight runs to build a 14-5 lead. (U.S. Air Force photo by Marcus Hill)

Samantha Pereira, 4th Space Operations Squadron satellite engineer, rounds second base as she attempts to advance to third July 7, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. In the top of the fourth inning, 4th SOPS scored eight runs to build a 14-5 lead. (U.S. Air Force photo by Marcus Hill)

Harold Wilson, 25th Space Range Squadron superintendent, lobs the ball to the batter during an intramural softball game July 7, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The 4th Space Operations Squadron won the contest 15-7 in the season opener against U.S. Air Force Warfare Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Marcus Hill)

Harold Wilson, 25th Space Range Squadron superintendent, lobs the ball to the batter during an intramural softball game July 7, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The 4th Space Operations Squadron won the contest 15-7 in the season opener against U.S. Air Force Warfare Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Marcus Hill)

Matt Edwards, 50th Operations Group technical director, swings his bat to put the ball into centerfield July 7, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, during an intramural softball game. Players sanitized bats and changed softballs throughout the game to curb the potential spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Marcus Hill)

Matt Edwards, 50th Operations Group software development contractor for SMC/SPGA, swings his bat to put the ball into centerfield July 7, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, during an intramural softball game. Players sanitized bats and changed softballs throughout the game to curb the potential spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Marcus Hill)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Intramural softball at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, began July 7 following a hiatus due to COVID-19 as the 4th Space Operations Squadron defeated the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center 15-7.

Players returned to the diamond with new rules to hit the curve balls of COVID-19. Throughout the game, players continually sanitized bats and used different softballs.

Joel Boxberger, 4th SOPS flight commander, said he and his team appreciated the methods to keep players safe.

“[The fitness staff has] done a great job getting everything ready and making sure all the measures are in place,” Boxberger said. “They communicated the rules well in advance and kept us up-to-date throughout the game. Overall, this is about player safety and they did well with that.”

Meanwhile on the field, 4th SOPS and USAFWC teams attempted to separate themselves on the scoreboard through the first three innings.

After 4th SOPS took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, USAFWC scored three runs in the bottom of the second to take a 3-2 lead.

In the top of the third, 4th SOPS grabbed the lead with a three-run inning of their own to make it 5-3 heading to the bottom of the inning.

USAFWC managed two more runs to knot the contest at 5-all in the bottom of the third, but 4th SOPS broke the tie in the top of the fourth with a run. The next inning, though, the bats of 4th SOPS got hot.

“We started off a little slow, but then we really started to rally,” said Robert Kyner, 4th SOPS engineer. “That rally we had in the fifth really helped us out.”

The rally included an eight-run fifth inning when 4th SOPS built their lead to 14-5. Kyner said the change in their scoring came with more patience at the plate.

“That’s important out here because often times, it’s not the pitch you want and it might be a ball,” Kyner said. “If you get three, you’re on base. And that’s a free base and that really helped us out.”

The 4th SOPS scored its final run in the sixth and allowed just two runs in the bottom of the inning to give USAFWC its seventh run.

Though teams dealt with the COVID-19 rule adjustments, Kyner said those changes didn’t affect their strategy.  

“It’s just playing like normal but doing a little cleaning and making sure you keep your distance in the dugout,” Kyner said.

Games will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the softball field with make-up games Wednesdays at the same location. This year includes eight teams participating in the six-week season. Following Thursday’s games, three teams remain undefeated as 1st SOPS and 4th SOPS hold 2-0 records. The 50th Security Forces Squadron is also 1-0.  

For more information regarding the softball season, contact CJ Thornton at 719.567.2434 or email charles.thornton.3@us.af.mil.

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