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Posted 9/17/2013

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By Michael A. Ornella, Sr.


The Federal Fun League wrapped up their 41st softball season Wednesday, July 31 with their annual championship tournament at Willowbranch Park. The 2013 league included teams from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Jax Federal Credit Union, Naval Facilities Engineering (NAVFAC); U.S. Attorney’s Office/U.S. Probation Office, two teams from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); and three teams from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District – Better-By-Design, Going Coastal and PowerCorps.

The three teams fielded by the Corps all enjoyed great seasons. Better-By-Design, coached by Gerald Deloach, Engineering Division finished the year with one win, with Kurt Thomas, Engineering Division and Erika Lauderdale voted by their teammates as the team’s Most Valuable Players (MVP). Their “Ron Hamm” team sportsmanship award went to Malton Prifti, intern in the Engineering Division. 

Going Coastal, coached by Marty Durkin, Engineering Division finished with 13-5 and earned a spot in the 2013 championship game, with Derek Copeland, husband of Felecia Copeland, Engineering Division and Stacie Auvenshine, Planning Division earning their team’s MVP honors and Stacey Nolan, Logistics Management honored with their “Ron Hamm” team sportsmanship award. 

PowerCorps, coached by Mike Ornella Sr., Programs & Project Management Division and Brad Tarr, Planning Division, had an undefeated, 19-0 record, winning their eighth championship in the past 10 years of league play. Michelle Campbell and Michael Gray, Department of Justice, resident in Office of Counsel, took home the PowerCorps 2013 MVP honors and Jim Vearil, Corps retiree, was recognized by his team with their “Ron Hamm” team sportsmanship award.

Eight teams competed in the championship tournament between June 12 and July 31.  PowerCorps, the regular season league champions, made it through preliminary tournament play and earned a shot at the tournament championship. Going Coastal battled through their bracket and defeated very strong teams, including NAVFAC, the regular season runner-up, setting the stage for an all-Corps championship game.

PowerCorps took a 3-2 lead before the game was suspended due to rain on July 11. When play resumed on a wet July 31 afternoon, the teams battled in the “winner takes all” last game of the tournament.  Both squads hit and defended well throughout the on-and-off, rain-soaked game.  In the end, PowerCorps prevailed, 10-6, to secure the 2013 Federal Fun League Tournament Championship.  The best part of the evening came after the game when both teams joined together to relive the great fun league season and the typical player and spectator “rehydrating” after a well-played game. 

“It was a great to be able to play the championship game against our brothers and sisters from Going Coastal, and a great ending to a magical season for PowerCorps,” said Tarr following the game. PowerCorps averaged more than 16 runs per game while only allowing three in the 19 wins on their way to their second consecutive Federal Fun League title and their eighth in 10 seasons.

Federal Fun League softball began in 1972 and continues to promote an opportunity for Corps employees to socialize after hours and foster and strengthen relationships between local federal agencies. More than 40 current Jacksonville District employees enjoy the social time and team-building outside the confines of the office. In addition, the teams also allowed family members and former employees an opportunity to connect with the Corps through this recreation experience.
 
Tim Gysan, Engineering Division, has been the Federal Fun League Commissioner for the past ten years. “This year’s league was again a great success,” he said. Gysan is one in a long line of Jacksonville District employees that have served as league commissioner, providing leadership in this socially-oriented, fun, yet competitive softball league for more than four decades.

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