SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
The U.S. Air Force finished the Freedom Classic baseball series with a 2-1 win over the U.S. Navy Sunday Feb. 26, 2017, at Grainger Stadium in Kinston, North Carolina.
Although holding a 3-11 loss on Friday, the Falcons sprang in the second game looking for redemption. Col. Christopher Sage, 4th Fighter Wing commander, along with his children attended the game. Sage was honored with throwing the first pitch to start the game in front of more than 100 Airmen.
Trailing 8-6, the Falcons took control of the game in the sixth inning with their seventh run. Air Force had eight extra base hits that game.
Falcons solidified the win in the third game, hitting five home runs taking them to a 13-8 lead and tying up the series.
"It was a big win for us today, coming back to even up the series," said Mike Kazlausky, Air Force Falcons head coach. "I was proud to see our cadets face adversity and come out on top. It was great to see some young players step up and contribute."
In the championship game Sunday the Falcons triumphed with a 3-2 win in 10 innings.
Late in the eighth and ninth inning, the Navy had their bases loaded with potential to score, but the Falcons blocked their chance with inning-ending fast double plays.
Capt. Blair Roberts, 4th Comptroller Squadron budget officer, played for the Falcons from 2009
“It was crucial for the Air Force to have good defensive play when the bases were loaded twice in the game,” said Roberts. “They came up with big plays, and were able to get the victory.”
The Falcons had seven hits in the game and Ethan Nichols, Falcon reliever, finished the game with a scoreless 10th inning.
“It’s great to be able to come and watch this friendly rivalry,” said Roberts. “We all respect each other, but also like to beat each other when on the field.”
Also in attendance at the game was Senior Airman Kyle Wilson. Wilson said this was his very first Freedom classic he has attended but the Falcons made him proud to be a part of the same branch.
“Baseball is the American past time, and it provides a common ground and sense of unity between the different branches,” said Wilson. “Baseball is my favorite sport, and it was really amazing to be able to watch and enjoy it.”
The Falcons head to the University of New Mexico March 3-5 for the Mountain West play against the Lobos.