News: 166th AV Brigade 2nd Softball Tournament
By Capt. Joel Duqueestrada
1st Battalion, 337th Aviation Regiment, 166th Aviation Brigade, Division West
FORT HOOD, Texas – Five teams, representing each battalion of the 166th Aviation Brigade, “GreyWings,” Division West, met on the fields of the Rodney Evans Softball Complex here, May 22.
Only one would walk away with the right to call themselves the softball champions of the brigade. On arrival, intense battle quickly ensued. Talent was tested. Old muscles and joints were strained. Blood was spilt. Who would rise to claim ultimate victory and who would fall into bedazzlement? All would be determined, on that day.
It was a perfect day for softball. The winds were light and the clouds stayed the Texas heat. After countless hours of training and practice by the elite athletes of the 166th, the tournament was finally here. A day where Soldiers, civilian workers, family members and friends were able to come together for fun competition and build a more cohesive unit.
What lay ahead was each team facing off against every other team once in a rotating schedule. The two best teams would then play in the championship game. However, in the unlikely event that one team would be able to make it through the entire tournament undefeated, they would be the undisputed champion and there would be no need for a championship game.
As the defending champions, the headquarters and headquarters company, “Headhunters,” came into the tournament as the team to beat.
“I want to win again,” said Sgt 1st Class Jose Martinez, a Texas native from San Antonio and the coach of the Headhunters.
The team’s biggest test came against 1st Battalion, 351st Aviation Regiment, “Nighthawks,” another powerhouse team that was undefeated when they took the field against the Headhunters. After trading runs back and forth inning after inning, it was all tied up with timing running out. This was it. The next run scored would win the game and the Headhunters held on to claim the victory with a 3-run homerun at the bottom of the inning by Sgt 1st Class Andrew Bursick, of Farbault, Minn.
Now the only undefeated team left, the Headhunters had one final game to win to complete their sweep of the tournament. Coming out strong after their close win over the Nighthawks, the Headhunters took a quick lead and continued to extend their lead with each inning against 1st Battalion, 337th Aviation Regiment, “Warhawks.” With only minutes left and down 11 runs to 1, the Warhawks began mounting a comeback, quickly scoring eight runs.
“I have officially bled for this brigade now,” said, Capt. Kyle Eberly, hailing from Albuquerque, N.M., and an observer-coach/trainer for the Warhawks, who, while sliding into home sacrificed his body by injuring his leg.
In the end, the comeback came too late and the clock expired, giving the Hoplites the victory 11 runs to 9, the last victory they needed.
And so, the Headhunters beat the odds, beat every team, and did what seemed impossible. They swept the tournament and took the championship for the second year in a row.