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Air Force Grabs Victory at Women's Softball Championship

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Mike Jones, USN
National Guard Bureau

NAVAL AIR STATION JACKSONVILLE, Aug. 14, 2002 – The overcast skies and occasional sprinkles couldn't dampen the spirits of the military women's softball teams when they met here Aug. 7-9 for the 2002 Armed Forces Women's Softball Championship.

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Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Sara Nolen, Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., slides safely into 2nd base as Air Force Airman 1st Class Autumn Brown catches the ball during the 2002 Armed Forces Women's Softball Championship Tournament at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. Aug. 7 - 9. (Photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Clay)

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The Air Force team dominated the field, sweeping the series 9-0 and taking first place from the defending champion Army squad.

Led by head coach Master Sgt. William Hardy of Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., and his assistant, Master Sgt. Mark Asbury, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the team snared the lead in a 26-13 win over Navy in Game 1. Thanks to a coordinated outfield, and several homers by Senior Airman Monica Everett, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., the group remained undefeated in the tournament.

The Army women's team, led by head coach Gerald Corcoran, York, Pa., took second place overall at 4-5. The Marine Corps women's team, coached by Master Gunnery Sgt. Dave Heald of Camp Lejeune, N.C., went 3-6 and Navy, behind Master Chief Petty Officer Jim Butters, Afloat Training Group, Naval Station Mayport, Miss., rounded out the field at 2-7.

In other first day action, sixth-inning base hits by Staff Sgt. Denise Tevepaugh of Lejeune and Lance Cpl. Elisa Bomer of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., gave the Marines a four-point lead to help seal the victory in Game 2 over Army, 10-6. A two-run homer by Everett of Moody Air Force in Game 3 was quickly answered by one from Army Sgt. Heather Carr, Fort Irwin, Calif., in the sixth inning. It wasn't enough, however; Air Force won 13-6. Carr finished the competition with six homers.

Navy beat Marines 11-2 in Game 4, Army toppled Navy 16-4 in Game 5, and Air Force stomped the Marines 17-2 in Game 6 to round out Day 1.

Day 2 began with an Army victory over the Marines, 12-7, in Game 7. Air Force took Game 8 over Navy, 12-7. Several base hits from the Navy, and an infield homer by Navy Lt. j.g. Tawyna Tschache, Naval Military Personnel Command Millington, Tenn., in the third inning clinched the 11-1 win over Marines in Game 9.

Air Force edged out Army 11-10 in Game 10 and then turned around and clobbered Marines 21-1 in Game 11. Army returned to defeat Navy 12-8 in Game 12 to end Day 2.

By the third and final day, and absolutely no hope of anyone loosening Air Force's death grip on the crown, focus shifted to second place. Air Force dumped Navy 15-4 in Game 13. The Marines rallied to beat Army 11- 9 in Game 14 and then Navy 2-1 in Game 15. Another Everett homer in the third inning of Game 16 helped Air Force edge Army 9-8. Army came back in Game 17 to beat Navy 9-6, and the Air Force won over Marines 7-6 in Game 18.

"Our hitting has kept us in the game. It's made the difference," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Rhonda Hayes, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. "We played well as a team. We have excellent talent."

The chance to compete against members of the other services made the event worthwhile, said Marine Lance Cpl. Miranda Hamby of Camp Geiger, N.C. "No matter what the outcome, we've worked really hard. We get along really well. It was a great experience."

"We played awesome," remarked Navy Petty Officer 2nd class Ashley Camp, USS Ronald Reagan. "We'll all keep in touch."

Chosen for the all-tournament team in each position were pitcher, Air Force Staff Sgt. Laurie Doughty, Fort Bragg, N.C.; catcher, Army Sgt. 1st Class Lucy Geidner, Alexandria, Va.; first base, Tschache; second base, Air Force Airman 1st Class Autumn Brown, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.; third base, Carr; and shortstop, Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Cheryl Trapnell, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

Outfielders chosen were Watkins; Air Force Staff Sgt. Karrie Warren, Tyndall Air Force Base; Everett; and Air Force Senior Airman Toni Owens, McChord Air Force Base, Wash. Air Force Capt. Marcy May of MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. was named as an extra hitter.

Service representatives picked 15 of the players to an armed forces team that will compete Aug. 15-18 at the National Women's Championships in Tifton, Ga.

Members of the armed forces softball team are Doughty, Geidner, Brown, Carr, Trapnell, Owens, Watkins, Bomer and May; Army Sgt. Michelle Saunders, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Air Force Airman 1st Class Virginia Gowin, Hurlburt Field; Army 2nd Lt. Kendra Allen, Camp Carroll, South Korea; Army Sgt. Michelle Murga, Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; Army Staff Sgt. Charisa Jordan, Kaiserslautern, Germany; and Army 1st Lt. Angie Diebal, Fort Hood, Texas. Corcoran was named head coach and Asbury, the assistant coach.


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