MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- So Cal Spirit came, saw and conquered the Marine Corps Community Services’ Sports 2nd annual Women’s Softball Tournament at Felix Field Aug. 12.
Three other teams showed up to the field to fight for the top spot, which included the All-Marine Team, the Combat Center’s own Desert Divas and the Yucca Valley, Calif., team, “Confused State.”
The tournament was played in a round-robin format. All teams played each other until only two teams were left to duke it out for the championship title. Spirit, Marines and Divas were all tied with a 2-1 record, and Confused State was eliminated early in the tournament with a 0-3 record.
Ultimately, it came down to Spirit and Marines at the end of the night.
“Both teams were determined to win the championship,” said Randy Husted, All-Marine Team coach and MCCS sports coordinator. “The lead was tossed back and forth throughout the game, making it exciting and keeping it interesting.”
The teams kept it close in the first few innings, until the fourth when Spirit scored four runs to take the lead 9-7. The Marines answered back with six runs to lead 13-9 in the fifth. Spirit cut the lead of the Marines to one in the bottom of the fifth by scoring three runs and making the score 13-12.
In the top of the seventh, the Marines scored three runs to extend their lead to 16-13, but when Spirit took their last turn at bat, they scored five runs to win the game 17-16, taking home another title to add to their legacy.
Spirit is made up of women age 50 and older, mostly from the Long Beach/Orange County, Calif., area, that have been playing together for more than five years, said Karen Honey, coach.
The team has two national championships and two Triple Crown trophies under their belt, but the women still felt they would get competition playing against younger teams.
“They’re all pretty good teams,” said Kevin Dugoncevic, Spirit’s left fielder. “We’re getting some pretty hard games out here.”
The team traveled to the tournament after hearing about it from their left center fielder, Linda Earnest, who works at the Combat Center.
“She was telling us how fun it is, and how we must come out to play,” said Dugoncevic. “We’re glad we came.”
Marines from military installations all over the world compete for spots on the All-Marine team. One of the most coveted tournaments the team participates in is the annual All-Armed Forces competition.
“This tournament was an outstanding stepping stone to prepare for the Armed Forces Softball Tournament next week,” said Husted. “Our Marines played outstanding throughout the tournament. We had a couple of errors in the last inning that denied us from winning the title, but our hats go off to the Spirit and the other teams for coming out to the Combat Center to play in our tournament.”