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Navy Takes Men's Armed Forces Softball

By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 1996 – An eight-game winning streak, a crucial 16-14 victory over Army in its seventh game and a little help from Air Force gave Navy the 1996 men's armed forces softball title.


After losing its first game to Army 31-14 in the tournament opener, Navy never lost another game. Navy hammered out eight straight wins in claiming the men's title at Northeast Creek Park near Camp Lejeune, N.C., Aug. 12-16.


In a crucial seventh game, Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Jeff Roberts (Yorktown, Va.) hammered two home runs, scored twice and knocked in four runs to lead Navy to a 16-14 victory.


Roberts, one of seven Navy players named to the 1996 all-tournament team, got offensive help from Petty Officer 3rd Class William Burrell (Quantico Marine Corps Base, Va.) and Petty Officer 1st Class James Presley (Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Fla.).


Both Burrell and Presley drove in three runs in Navy's win over Army. Burrell used a pair of RBI singles in scoring three, while Presley used a single and a two-run homer. Petty Officer 1st Class Harold Koudelka (USS Shenandoah) also homered for Navy.


Navy also survived a home run barrage that saw Army hitters smash eight home runs in their final meeting. Two hitters -- Master Sgt. Walter Reaves (Fort Hood, Texas) and Chief Warrant Officer John Watts (Fort Bragg, N.C.) -- smacked two homers each.


The Navy victory was important. By winning the 16-14 decision, Navy broke a 5-1 deadlock atop the men's tournament standings and took a one-game lead into the final day. With two games remaining, all Navy needed was to win their final two games against Marine Corps and Air Force to clinch the title.


But Navy's celebration began one game early as Air Force pulled a 23-22 upset victory over Army in the tournament's 15th game. Navy then clinched the title by crushing Marine Corps 19-7, to take a two-game lead with one game to play.


Army (6-3) finished second after winning the tournament the past three years. Air Force (3-6) finished third, followed by Marine Corps (1-8).


Navy placed seven players on the armed forces all-tournament team. Besides Roberts, Presley and Burrell, others named to the squad include Petty Officer 1st Class John Bernhard (San Diego Naval Base) and Petty Officers 2nd Class Early West (San Diego), Ray Shelley (Oceana Naval Air Station, Va.) and David Williams (Portsmouth Naval Hospital, Va.).


Navy coaches Petty Officers 1st Class Daniel Rotenberry (Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, Va.) and Brad Hamilton (Dam Neck Fleet Training Center, Va.) also earned coaching positions.


Despite finishing last, the Marines placed four players and a trainer on the all-tournament team. The Marines sent Gunnery Sgt. Ronnie Desmarais (Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, N.C.) and Sgts. Cherylton McRae (Henderson Hall, Va.), Thomas Carlo (New River Marine Corps Base, N.C.) and Eric Stinson (Parris Island, S.C.) to the players' roster. Marine Corps coach Master Sgt. Michael Turney joins the all-tournament team as a trainer.


Army and Air Force added three players each. For Air Force, Capt. Eric North (Robbins Air Force Base, Ga.) and Staff Sgts. Dale Back (Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.) and Brian Kaiser (Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz.) earned positions. Army added Reaves and Staff Sgts. Albert Kemp (Yongsan, South Korea) and Doug Ware (Fort Hood) to the team.

Final Standings     

              W     L     PCT.     GB

Navy          8     1     .889     --

Army          6     3     .667      2

Air Force     3     6     .333      5

Marine Corps  1     8     .111      7

Tournament Scores

August 12

Marine Corps 34, Air Force 25

Army 31, Navy 14

August 13

Navy 32, Marine Corps 25

Army 27, Air Force 20

Navy 12, Air Force 0

Army 14, Marine Corps 9

August 14

Air Force 26, Marine Corps 24

Navy 22, Army 17

Navy 18, Marine Corps 14

Army 17, Air Force 16

August 15

Navy 26, Air Force 14

Army 7, Marine Corps 0 (forfeit)

Navy 16, Army 14

Air Force 16, Marine Corps 3

August 16

Air Force 23, Army 22

Navy 19, Marine Corps 7

Army 15, Marine Corps 10

Navy 20, Air Force 19

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