Air Force claims gold in women's softball

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Amber Balken
  • 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force Women's Softball Team took home gold medals as they won the 2007 All-Armed Forces Women's Softball Championships with a record of 7-2 held Sept. 18 to 20 at Hill Air Force Base.

For the second time in three years, the Air Force won the tournament with power hitting and solid defense.

Coming in second for the tournament was the Army with a record of 7-2, but since the Air Force beat the Army twice, the Air Force won the championship. The Navy took third with a 3-6 record, and coming in forth was the Marine Corps at 1-8.

The Air Force began the tournament with a 28-2 win over the Navy. The Air Force started the game strong with six runs on six hits including a home run by Staff Sgt. Latricia Munday from Lajes Field, Azores. Leading the Air Force was Tech. Sgt Karrie Warren of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., going 5-for-5 batting and driving in four runs, and Senior Airman Carly Edwards from Osan Air Base, South Korea, who went 4-for-5 and drove in one run.

The Air Force's biggest challenge of the day would come when they would face the Army.

The game started out with the Army taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning. The Air Force answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. For the next five innings it was a battle of the bats. Both teams were consistent in batting as well as base running.

Going into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Air Force had a 9-7 lead. The Army scored once and was threatening to score again with two on base when Spc. Shannka Taylor hit a three-run home run to put the Army up 11-9 going into the top of the seventh.

The Air Force once again turned to their batting. With two outs, Master Sgt. Laurie Doughty hit a double to right field scoring two and tying the game. The Air Force used smart base running to score four more runs before going into the bottom of the seventh with a 15-11 lead.

"My heart was pounding," Sergeant Doughty said. "I kept saying, 'I can do this. I can do this.' Then, I just took my pitch and drove it."

Army Capt. Kendra Allen hit a triple to start the inning for the Army. The defense of the Air Force was too much for the Army, though, as the game ended with a strike out, sacrifice fly and a fly ball.

The Air Force was undefeated after the first day with the 15-12 win over the Army.

The next time the two teams met would not be so favorable.

The Army team came out motivated and immediately took control of the game. They combined the power of their bats and their solid defense to take an early lead over the Air Force. The Air Force threatened to make a come back in the bottom of the second inning with the bases loaded, but the Army turned a routine ground ball into a triple play to close out the inning.

The hitting for the Army continued through the game with a single home run by Specialist Taylor in the top of the fourth inning and an inside-the-park home run by Cpl. Roxanne Finks in the top of the fifth.

The Army gave the Air Force their first loss, 13-5.

The next opponent for the Air Force was the Navy. Winning 11-4 going into the top of the sixth inning, the Navy batted through their line up and scored 11 runs on 12 Air Force errors.

The Air Force threatened to make a come back, scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Navy hitting and solid defense was too much. The Navy handed the Air Force their second loss of the day, 17-14.

The third day was make or break for the Air Force as they faced the Army in the first game. The Air Force would need to win all three games to clinch the title. The Army would need to beat the Air Force to clinch the title.

The Air Force set the tone for the entire game with a string of three triples and home run by Staff Sgt. Sarah Ryan from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The Air Force used basic fundamental softball to hand the Army a 13-0 loss, the first shut out of the tourney.

"The team regrouped and we came out determined and with intensity," Sergeant Ryan said. "We weren't going to give up and we showed that."

The Air Force clinched their second gold medal in three years with two wins over the Marines and the Navy.

"The ladies came out today with the intensity and hunger they had the first day," said Rob Hoffman, the Air Force assistant coach from Hurlburt Field, Fla. "The entire team played well, they communicated and played fundamentally sound softball."

"The ladies showed great heart," said Air Force coach retired Senior Master Sgt. Cheryl Trapnell. "Everyone on the team stepped up, and never gave up."

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

View the comments/letters page