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57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Vipers hold off JAG to win late

Email   Print   Share By Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports Editor
April 14, 2011 | Sports
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Rodney Valentine (right), Co. C, 57th ESB assistant coach, congratulates Derrick Jackson on his run scored in a matchup against the Judge Advocate General team Friday at Rodney J. Evans Softball Fields. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports Editor
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James Gourieux, Co. C, 57th ESB Vipers left-center fielder, slides safely into third base during intramural softball action Friday at Fort Hood. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports Editor
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JAG second baseman Tasha Carnahan takes a swing during the late innings of a matchup against the Co. C, 57th ESB Vipers Friday at the Rodney J. Evans Softball Fields. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports Editor
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Left-center fielder James Gourieux (right), of the Co. C, 57th ESB Vipers, is congratulated by teammates in the dugout following his slide into home plate. Daniel Cernero, Sentinel Sports Editor
In a back-and-forth softball contest, the Company C, 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Vipers survived a late rally by Judge Advocate General to win 12-11 Friday at the Rodney J. Evans Softball Fields.

Rather than the traditional baseball format of a set number of innings, intramural softball games are decided by who is winning after an elapsed time of 60 minutes. Down 9-5 with less than 10 minutes remaining, time was running out for JAG to make a comeback. JAG pulled through scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, capped off by a game-tying double off the bat of catcher Dewey Morris.

“They scared us,” Vipers’ coach Derrick Jackson said. “(JAG) played well and didn’t give up. They stayed in the game, and that’s what we want. We want that competition to make it fun. They attacked us and made it a good game.”

Vipers’ left-center fielder James Gourieux led off the top of the seventh inning with a double and eventually scored the go-ahead run as the Vipers’ bats stayed hot, adding another three runs to the board.

“We tried to come out here and have a little fun and try to win,” Gourieux said. “I just do everything I can out there.”

Gourieux cited fans as a source of inspiration for how hard he plays.

“We’ve got some fans out here yelling for us, so I try to make sure they have a good time.”

The JAG team made one last attempt to even the score, but two runs was all they could muster, thanks in part to solid fielding on behalf of the Vipers.

“I was pretty comfortable with the three-run lead (heading into the bottom half of the seventh inning),” Gourieux said. “They were at the bottom of their lineup, and we were playing good in the field.”

The Vipers put together their best frame of the outing in the top of the fifth, scoring four runs to take a commanding 9-5 lead. Key to the inning was Gourieux’s inside-the-park home run.

“I got hit in the leg with the ball when I was sliding into third, so I just took off for home,” Gourieux said of his home run. “I thought they were about to throw it home, so I slid in (to home plate).”

Gourieux earned the game ball for his efforts on Friday.

With JAG jumping out to an early 3-1 lead at the end of the first inning, the Vipers were forced to play catch-up right from the start.

“It was our first true test,” Jackson said of his team having to play from behind. “The guys stayed together when it came down to it.

“In previous games we got rattled a little bit, but in this one they kept their head in it, and minimized on the errors which we have had problems in the past with. I’m proud of them.”

The Vipers responded by scoring four unanswered runs to hold a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom half of the fourth inning.

With the win, the Vipers moved to 4-1 on the season after the first week of play.

“I’m very happy with how our team is playing right now,” Gourieux said. “We didn’t have a very good outing last night, but we’re 4-1 right now after playing five games this week. I’ll take a 4-1 record in a week any day.”
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