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Schriever chiefs-eagles drop tight rematch

Bill Liquori, Schriever’s short stop, throws to first base during the second annual chiefs-eagles softball challenge Sept. 19, 2014 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

Bill Liquori, Schriever’s short stop, throws to first base during the second annual chiefs-eagles softball challenge Sept. 19, 2014 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

Rodney Deese, Schriever outfielder, collected three hits and drove in four runs during the second annual chiefs-eagles softball challenge at Sept. 19, 2014 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

Rodney Deese, Schriever outfielder, collected three hits and drove in four runs during the second annual chiefs-eagles softball challenge at Sept. 19, 2014 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

Team Schriever players and Team Peterson players celebrate following the chiefs-eagles softball challenge Sept. 19, 2014 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.  Team Peterson earned the game trophy with a 16-14 victory. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

Team Schriever players and Team Peterson players celebrate following the chiefs-eagles softball challenge Sept. 19, 2014 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. Team Peterson earned the game trophy with a 16-14 victory. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Team Schriever was looking to avenge last year's loss in the second annual dual-base chiefs-eagles softball challenge here Sept. 19. The team composed of Schriever leaders sent the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the rally ultimately fell short as Team Peterson defended its title with a 16-14 victory.

"We simply dug ourselves too big a hole at the start of the game," said Bill Liquori, Schriever short stop. "We just couldn't quite dig all the way out."

Helped out by a few Schriever errors, Team Peterson sent 13 batters to the plate and scored nine runs in the top of the first inning.

Despite the initial shock, Schriever answered back with seven runs in the bottom of the inning as Rodney Deese roped a three-run triple to center field to start the rally, while Ryan Quaale, Jason Sutton and Aaron Gibson all followed with run-scoring hits. 

"We started slowly, but I think we started clicking defensively in the second," said Quaale, who made several big defensive plays for Schriever at third base.

Led by two defensive gems from second baseman Laurie Doughty, Schriever shut Pete out in the second. But, its offense suddenly went cold as well and Pete held its lead.

Thanks to five straight singles, Pete stretched its lead with three more runs in the third inning, but Schriever showed its determination when the left-handed hitting Gibson stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the inning.

"In my first at-bat, I noticed their pitcher was throwing high and outside," Gibson said. "I also noticed their right fielder was playing way left, so I aimed to hit the pitch up the right field line."

With two teammates on base, Gibson blasted a pitch high and deep to right field. The ball bounced just inside the right field line and rolled all the way to the fence. By the time Pete's right fielder reached the ball, Gibson had already motored around second base. As the Schriever home crowd roared its approval, he crossed home plate well ahead of the relay throw for a three-run, inside-the-park homer.

"We were fortunate to benefit from timely hitting from the bottom of our order today," Liquori said. "That home run energized us.  These games are meant to be fun, but they're also competitive and that hit kept us in the game."

Gibson's homer cut Pete's lead to 12-10. And, Schriever followed with another stellar inning in the field.

After holding Peterson scoreless in the fourth, Schriever cut the lead to one run in its half of the inning. Monte Munoz started with a single and he ran all the way home from first when Deese lined a pitch to the fence in left.

Peterson answered by scoring a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, however, and led 16-11 going into final inning.

Deese started the late-inning rally with a single. Lavon Coles followed with a single and Doughty loaded the bases when she poked a sharp grounder off Peterson first-baseman John Shaw's throwing hand.

Quaale and Sutton followed with a pair of RBI singles, but Peterson induced a fielder's choice and a pop up to end the game.        

"Once again, Schriever made a game of it," Shaw said. "This game could have gone either way. More importantly, the game provided a chance for our leadership to gather, have fun and demonstrate the great partnership we have between our two bases."

Gibson said he and his Schriever teammates reveled in the experience.

"It's great to be able to come together as a team and let folks see us in a different light," he said. "But, this game is also about bringing the Schriever and Peterson communities together."
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