William Kelly was a standout athlete throughout his Army career. On April 12, the retired sergeant first class made his debut with the newest team in the 55-and-over Rockets league in Huntsville Senior Softball.
Kelly showed he’s still got skills.
He hit a grand slam as the gray beat the green 22-18 in a season opener at field 2 in Brahan Spring Park. He went 2-for-2 with five runs batted in and three runs scored. On defense, the shortstop started a double play and made five assists and four putouts.
“It’s fun, it’s competitive,” Kelly said. “The guys have great spirit. Everybody’s just having fun.”
He retired in 2001 after 22 and a half years in uniform. He had 10 more years as an Army civilian before retiring in November 2019.
David McNeill hit a two-run homer and Bennie Pokemire had a solo shot for the new team. Player/coach Mike Hoy, Ron Baer and McNeill had three hits apiece. Pokemire, David Key, Rick Anthis and Yogi Guess added two hits apiece. Key, a left-hander, pitched all seven innings for the win.
“We’re a new team. We’re starting to come together,” Hoy said.
The green’s Billy Cooley hit a three-run homer and Ragnar Opiniano had a two-run shot. Cleanup hitter Bill Anderson had four hits with a double. Cooley, Opiniano, Tom Fickling, Randy Phillippi and Kirk Wickizer had three hits apiece. Robert Tolliver and Ruthie Hambrick added two hits apiece.
The green trailed 16-10 after four innings but scored three runs in the sixth and five in the seventh.
“We came back hard,” green pitcher/coach Jeff Abbott said. “The errors killed us. And we had too many three-up and three-down innings. But the guys played hard and hung in there. And we’ll get better.”