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    Army beats Air Force again in Armed Forces Softball Tournament

    Army beats Air Force in Armed Forces Softball Tournament

    Photo By Micah Garbarino | Air Force third baseman Christopher Blast lowers his glove to scoop up a grounder, and...... read more read more



    Story by Mike Ray 

    72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

    LAWTON, Okla. - The Air Force men’s and women’s teams both were runners-up to the Army in the Armed Forces Softball Tournament held recently at Fort Sill north of Lawton, Okla.

    The Air Force women’s team advanced to the title game by edging the Navy, 6-5, but fell to the Army women, 6-3, Sept. 18. The Army women marched through the round-robin tournament undefeated, 8-0; the Air Force women ended the tournament 4-4; and the Navy women were sunk, finishing 0-8.

    The Air Force men reached to the title game Sept. 19 with a 6-2 record, to meet a 7-1 Army team whose only loss was to the Air Force. The soldiers won the gold medal by pounding the airmen, 23-8.

    The Army never fell behind in the championship game. The soldiers opened with three runs in the top of the first inning and tacked on two more in the second. Initially the Air Force kept it close, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first and two more in the third; at that point they trailed by just one, 5-4.

    The fourth inning marked the beginning of the rout.

    The Army mounted a barrage, scoring 10 runs in the top of the fourth. When the Air Force came up to bat, infielder Marcus Flores of Ramstein AB, Germany, flied out; outfielder Raymond Ford of Kapaun AB, Germany, and infielder Kirtis Bailey of Hurlburt Field, Fla., both hit singles; and outfielder John Allen of Grand Forks AFB, N.D., hit into a double play.

    The Soldiers padded their tally with eight runs in the fifth. The Airmen scored four more runs in the bottom of the fifth, but the rally was too little too late. The seven-inning contest was called after five when the 15-run “mercy rule” was invoked.

    In the bottom of the first inning, Air Force infielder Dexter High from Nellis AFB, Nev., smacked a 2-run homer and third baseman Christopher Bast of RAF Lakenheath, U.K., had a triple. In the fifth inning, High and fellow infielder Charles Campbell of Scott AFB, Ill., had back-to-back solo homers and middle infielder Jose Otero of March ARB, Calif., launched a 2-run shot over the fence.

    The Army hit 10 home runs against the Air Force, including a pair of 2-run homers, three 3-run homers, and five solo home runs. The Soldiers hit back-to-back home runs twice.

    “We’re a better team than eight runs in five innings,” Air Force Head Coach Stephen Shortland said afterward. “However, Army was the better team today.” Even so, the Airmen “represented their service and their home stations well.”

    The Army men finished the Armed Forces Softball Tournament with an 8-1 record. The Air Force had a 6-3 record, losing once to the Marines and twice to the Army. The Navy ended the tournament with a 2-6 record; the Marine Corps, 1-7.

    During their nine games the Army men outscored their opponents by 80 runs, 217-137. The Air Force men outscored their foes 182-163.

    Both Army teams captured their second consecutive titles. The Army women won the gold medal last year when they defeated the defending champion Air Force team in the 2012 championship game. Similarly, the soldiers ended the airmen’s streak of three straight gold medals when they snared the 2012 title in a tiebreaker.

    The annual Armed Forces Softball Tournament pits the best players from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps against each other during a five-day round-robin playoff. The Army held the event at Fort Sill’s Cannoneer Complex for the past two years. The Marine Corps will host the event for the next two years.

    High has played on the Air Force team for seven years, Bast for six, said Shortland, the airmen’s coach for the past 12 seasons. Five of the 15 Air Force players were on the team for the second time, and eight of the players were rookies, Shortland said.

    Shortland retired from the Air Force after a 22 1/2-year career. Now he is a college professor, teaching business management and organizational leadership classes at Grantham University in Kansas City, Mo.



    Date Taken: 09.19.2013
    Date Posted: 09.20.2013 16:32
    Story ID: 114019
    Location: LAWTON, OK, US 

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