Dale Locker, stationed in Barber’s Point, Hawaii, made the biggest splash, totaling a whopping 13 RBIs, which included two grand slams, a solo home run, two singles, and a double in the championship game. This is Locker’s first visit to the Grand Haven Coast Guard Softball tourney.
Teammate Dre Jenkins added a 5-for-6 effort with a home run in the victory.
With his team comfortably ahead in the sixth inning, Locker’s teammates notified him he was just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. He missed out on the milestone, however, as his blast off the bat carried well over the left field fence for a solo homer.
Batters’ team manager Tony Cella said he’s been playing in the annual tournament for seven years and they won the championship the first two, then endured a five-year drought before this year’s title.
“Our secret is we have no holes in our lineup,” the New Jersey native said. “(Locker) came along with one of our other guys, Marvin Rodgers, and he said he was a good hustler, so we picked him up. And every time he came up to bat, he crushed the ball.”
Locker grew up in Union City, located just south of Battle Creek. He’s currently an AET3 (avionics electrical technician) in the Coast Guard.
“This is my first time (at the Coast Guard Festival),” he said. “It’s great to be able to come back home (to Michigan). It was a great time throughout the week. The guys said they always look forward to this.”
“Five of us have been together all seven years,” added Cella, who’s stationed in Elizabeth City, N.C. “It’s become a tradition playing in this.”
The black-clad Puddle Pirates — an annual fixture in the tournament’s championship game — were competitive in the opening two innings, but Locker blew the game open with his pair of early grand slams.
The Batters’ defense — especially their slick-fielding infielders — kept the Pirates’ offense anchored down the rest of the way. The Pirates tried to mount a comeback with back-to-back home runs in the top of the sixth, but it was too little, too late.
For their victory, each Batters’ player received an individual plaque, and more importantly, bragging rights until next season’s showdown.
Other team members were Steve Dannemiller, Eric Ludwigson, Curtis Rust, Jeff Jackson, Beau Hussey and Todd Grote.