Air Force teams earn gold medals at armed forces softball championships

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Steve Grever
  • Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs
The Air Force men's and women's softball teams earned gold medals at the Armed Forces Slow-Pitch Softball Championships Sept. 25 at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.

The Air Force women's team went 6-3 during the tournament and won their third armed forces title in three years. During the men's tourney, the Air Force squad went 7-2 and won their tournament outright after a decisive 26-12 win over Army. The women's finished the tourney with the same records as their Army and Navy counterparts, but Air Force took first place after officials calculated head-to-head wins and run differentials.

On the women's side, the top Air Force hitters were Kathy Braun, who batted .500 with four RBIs, and Lindsay Ciullo, who hit .448 with two RBIs. Coach Cheryl Trapnell said the real key to her team's wins in the tournament was their outstanding play on defense.

"Our outfield that featured Candace Dugo, Karrie Warren, Schameka White and Jeana Whiteman was rock solid on defense," Coach Trapnell said. "Braun also stopped everything and had an error-free tournament."

Coach Trapnell said several inexperienced players pitched in to contribute to the team's success, that needed to overcome scoring slumps during the tournament.

"We struggled offensively throughout the tourney except for the two games where we hit double digits," she said. "We had young players in key positions and they stepped up and did a great job too." 

The men's squad started off the tourney with a 1-2 record, but finished strong with six consecutive wins.

Coach Steve Shortland said his team was determined not to give up after they lost two games early in the competition.

"We won our first game, and then we lost two in a row," Coach Shortland said. "We controlled our own destiny after that and we got it done. We didn't need any other team's help to win."

Coach Shortland emphasized that the Air Force players put together a great team effort and hung tough after losing their focus a bit early in the tournament.

"It's really hard to single anybody out," he said. "We had six players on armed forces all-star team and five on the all-tournament team."

The Air Force team had five players selected to the all-tournament team, including Michael Melton, Kevin Basinger, Leonard Myers, Joshua Wiggs and William Mamourieh. Zachariah Turissini along with the other five all-tournament selectees from the Air Force team was also chosen for the Armed Forces Softball All-Star team.

Air Force players selected to the 2009 Armed Forces Softball All-Star team will remain at Naval Air Station Pensacola to participate in the Armed Forces Team Training Camp this week. They will represent the armed forces at the 2009 Amateur Softball Association of America's National Championship Oct. 1 in Oklahoma City.