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908th wins back-to-back softball titles

Kneeling from left are Daryl Thornton, Senior Master Sgt. Mark Williams, Capt. Mike McDonald, Senior Master Sgt. Mike Eubanks, Coach Master Sgt. Jim Melton, Senior Airman Robert Shufford, Senior Airman Richard Day, Fred Boyd (standing from left) Master Sgt. Chris Austin, 908th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Brett Clark, Master Sgt. Bill Moore, Master Sgt. Craig Sims, Tech. Sgt. Jamie Womack, Master Sgt. William Mayfield, Chief Master Sgt. Doug Dearth, Tech. Sgt. Hoyt Tidwell, Staff Sgt. Aaron Knight, Staff Sgt. Lee Phillips, Master Sgt. Teresa Lapcheske, Master Sgt. Mark Naglic, Senior Master Sgt. Sammy Gipson and Senior Airman Matt Dearth. (U.S. Air Force photo illlustration/Lt. Col. Jerry Lobb and Michael Paul)

Kneeling from left are Daryl Thornton, Senior Master Sgt. Mark Williams, Capt. Mike McDonald, Senior Master Sgt. Mike Eubanks, Coach Master Sgt. Jim Melton, Senior Airman Robert Shufford, Senior Airman Richard Day, Fred Boyd (standing from left) Master Sgt. Chris Austin, 908th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Brett Clark, Master Sgt. Bill Moore, Master Sgt. Craig Sims, Tech. Sgt. Jamie Womack, Master Sgt. William Mayfield, Chief Master Sgt. Doug Dearth, Tech. Sgt. Hoyt Tidwell, Staff Sgt. Aaron Knight, Staff Sgt. Lee Phillips, Master Sgt. Teresa Lapcheske, Master Sgt. Mark Naglic, Senior Master Sgt. Sammy Gipson and Senior Airman Matt Dearth. (U.S. Air Force photo illlustration/Lt. Col. Jerry Lobb and Michael Paul)

Senior Master Sgt. Sammy Gipson of the 908th Airlift Wing slams a home run during the Maxwell-Gunter intramural softball championship game July 30 at Maxwell's softball complex. The 908th went on to win the championship for the second consecutive year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jamie Pitcher)

Senior Master Sgt. Sammy Gipson of the 908th Airlift Wing slams a home run during the Maxwell-Gunter intramural softball championship game July 30 at Maxwell's softball complex. The 908th went on to win the championship for the second consecutive year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jamie Pitcher)

Master Sgt. Mark Naglic from the 908th Airlift Wing was the winning pitcher of both games during the Maxwell-Gunter intramural softball championship July 30. The 908th won the championship game against the Electronic Systems Group to capture the title. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jamie Pitcher)

Master Sgt. Mark Naglic from the 908th Airlift Wing was the winning pitcher of both games during the Maxwell-Gunter intramural softball championship July 30. The 908th won the championship game against the Electronic Systems Group to capture the title. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jamie Pitcher)

The 908th Airlift Wing softball team captured the Maxwell-Gunter intramural softball championship title July 30 against the Electronic Systems Group team. The 908th won the championship for the second consecutive year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jamie Pitcher)

The 908th Airlift Wing softball team captured the Maxwell-Gunter intramural softball championship title July 30 against the Electronic Systems Group team. The 908th won the championship for the second consecutive year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jamie Pitcher)

908th Airlift Wing short-stop Daryl Thornton touches second base as he throws to first during the Maxwell-Gunter intramural softball championship game July 30 against the Electronic Systems Group team. The 908th won the title for the second consecutive year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jamie Pitcher)

908th Airlift Wing short-stop Daryl Thornton touches second base as he throws to first during the Maxwell-Gunter intramural softball championship game July 30 against the Electronic Systems Group team. The 908th won the title for the second consecutive year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jamie Pitcher)

The 908th Airlift Wing softball team's Assistant Coach Senior Master Sgt. Mark Williams ponders the outcome of the game. The 908th won the Maxwell-Gunter intramural softball championship game July 30 against the Electronic Systems Group team. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jamie Pitcher)

The 908th Airlift Wing softball team's assistant coach Senior Master Sgt. Mark Williams ponders the outcome of the game. The 908th won the Maxwell-Gunter intramural softball championship game July 30 against the Electronic Systems Group team. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jamie Pitcher)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- For the second year in a row, the 908th Airlift Wing softball team came up from the losers' bracket to win the Maxwell-Gunter intramural softball championship July 30 at Maxwell's softball complex. 

The Electronic Systems Group team, from the 554th ELSG and 754 ELSG at Gunter, knocked 908th to the losers' bracket by a score of 15-6 in the championship tournament on July 16. ELSG defeated Holm Center 10-4 to make it into the championship game. 

The 908th was at the top of the standings 8-2 going into the tournament. After falling to ELSG, the 908th had to beat Defense Information Systems Agency, 13-10; Headquarters Air University, 12-8; and Holm Center, 13-2; before meeting ELSG again for the title. 

Delayed a few days because of rain, ELSG and 908th finally met for what turned into a double header. In the double elimination tournament, the 908th had to beat the undefeated ELSG twice to win the championship. The 908th took the first game 11-7 and then won the second game 12-8. 

"I got a bunch of good guys that know how to play and work together as a team," said 908th Coach Master Sgt. Jim Melton. Before the season, Coach Melton said he got in about five practices despite frequent deployments of team members. 

Practices became fewer during the season, but Coach Melton said he benefited from players who had been together for several years. Coach Melton has been on the 908th team since joining the Reserve wing in 1988. He has been the team's coach for the past ten years. 

Assistant Coach Senior Master Sgt. Mark Williams was still sporting the shaved head that he had promised he would shave last year if the team won. Again from the losers' bracket, the 908th beat DISA for last year's title, and Coach Williams has been keeping his promise ever since. 

Coach Melton said excellent teamwork was the key to the title, but he did mention individual efforts in pitching from Chief Master Sgt. Doug Dearth and Master Sgt. Mark Naglic, hitting from Master Sgt. Sammy Gipson, and fielding from short-stop Daryl Thornton. 

Will there be a "threepeat?" Coach Melton said mission deployments do come first, but with many players returning for another year, it will be hard to count the 908th out.