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Army Women "Soar Winners" at Eglin Softball Meet

By Heidi Gryzen
Special to American Forces Press Service

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., Sept. 2, 1999 – A friendly rivalry constantly raises the question as to what branch of service "soars" above the rest. An Army squad left no doubt they're in the stratosphere at the Women's Armed Forces Softball Tournament here Aug. 25-27.

Army women chalked an 8-1 record to win their 14th title in the 15-year tournament history. The Air Force placed with 7-2. The Navy wrapped up 2-7 and the Marines trailed 1-8. Each team played three games a day throughout the round- robin tournament.

The deciding game came the second day between undefeated Army and the Air Force, whose only loss to that point had been to Army. Prior to the game, Air Force coach Steve Shaw predicted an Army win could wrap up the tournament.

And that's exactly what the Army women did.

"This was the game it came down to and the game we had to win," said Army coach Jerry Corcoran, after his team snagged the win by five runs. "Our hitters executed well and we picked on their weaknesses. But our defensive game won it for us. We held a really good team to three runs."

Shaw agreed. "Our best hitters failed to produce against the Army and that proved to be the difference," he said. "Three of our returning All Americans were collectively three for 22 at-bats against the Army."

The Air Force regained credibility as a force to be reckoned with by handing Army its lone defeat by one run in extra innings on the last day of the tourney. It was not, however, enough to steal the title from the Army.

Despite the Army's clear dominance, the annual tournament symbolizes more than just winning.

"It is a great opportunity for the younger women to meet others from different branches of service," said Sheryl Trapnell, an Air Force team tournament player since 1981. "It's exciting to see the camaraderie of the teams get better every year."

And according to Marine Corps first baseman Tara Wells, the tournament is all about the immense pride she feels every time she walks on the field, because she is representing her branch of service.

Women's All-Tournament Team

1B: Maryls May, USAF

2B: Donna McLamb, USAF

3B: Pam Smith, USA

SS: Roberta McGuiness, USA

OF: Angela Carroll, USA

OF: Rayshanda Jennings, USMC

OF: Monica Everett, USAF

OF: Patricia Esquivel, USAF

EH: Heather Carr, USA

C: Carmella Williams, USA

P: Laurie Doughty, USAF

Women's Armed Forces Team: Doughty, Williams, May, McLamb, Smith, McGuiness, Carroll, Esquivel, Carr; Amy Lockhard and Stephanie Minix-Renner, both USN; Shelly Mullin, USMC; and Mary King-Espinal, Terri Andreoni and Vivian Colbert, all USA. Coaches: Gerald Corcoran and Jennifer Mercier, both USA.

[Heidi Gryzen is a staff writer at the "Eglin Eagle," Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.]

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