Special Troops Battalion Warriors take home trophy
CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- The Warriors of U.S. Army Japan's Special Troops Battalion defeated the Directorate of Public Works' Yellow Monkeys in the final of two games Sept. 26 at Rambler Field here to win the intramural softball championship.
The showdown between the two teams was delayed and rescheduled numerous times due to inclement weather, but the eventual matchup proved to be an exciting climax to this year's season.
The Yellow Monkeys took an early lead in Game 1, thanks to a keen eye in the batter's box that led to an impressive streak of base hits. The Warriors kept pace, though, and later struck back with a come-from-behind home run by Juan Rivera. The outcome was truly undecided until the final inning when the Yellow Monkeys held on to win it 22-19.
The win put both teams at one loss apiece in the double-elimination post-season series and set the stage for what would be the final game of the season.
The Warriors started off with strong bats from the very first inning of Game 2. In the same inning Osami "Sammy" Fujiwara, pitcher and cleanup batter for the Yellow Monkeys, injured his leg and struggled with the pain throughout the rest of the game.
Leonardo Munoz Jr., pitcher for the Warriors, showed excellent control on the mound and made it difficult for the Yellow Monkeys' offense to get clean hits. The Warriors largely shut down their opponents for the rest of the game, eventually winning it and claiming the championship by a score of 17-4.
"The Yellow Monkeys consisted of all Japanese workers here, and they had a heck of squad," said Bryan Zechman, the Warriors' coach. "I think it's great that they play our type of softball with American teams and hung with American teams the way they did. They did an excellent job."
Munoz had an injury prior to the start of the championship series, which hindered his effectiveness as a hitter. It was the collective performance of the rest of the team that allowed them to stay ahead in the game, according to Zechman.
"Once we got our momentum in the first inning, we had that motivation on our side," said Zechman. "[The Yellow Monkeys] had it in the first game, but we brought it back to us in the second game. Everybody played excellent, everybody hit, and everybody fielded. There were no mistakes and we did a great job."