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News > AF fails in bid for 4th straight military softball title
All-Air Force Softball
All-Air Force first baseman Josh Wiggs hits a home run in the sixth inning of the All-Air Force softball team’s exhibition game against the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, varsity team at JBSA-Randolph’s Rambler Field Sept. 6. (U.S. Air Force photo/Alan Boedeker)
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AF fails in bid for 4th straight military softball title

Posted 9/27/2012   Updated 9/27/2012 Email story   Print story


by Jose T. Garza III
JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs

9/27/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- After 13 years of preparing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for the Armed Forces softball tournament, the All-Air Force softball team began its quest for a fourth-straight Armed Forces softball title by moving team tryouts and the All-Air Force camp to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland for the first time in more than 25 years.

JBSA-Lackland was selected to host the event over other suitable sites across the Air Force. The annual training camp was held here Aug. 28 through Sept 14.

But the change in venue did not produce the desired result.

After building team camaraderie through practices, scrimmages, and a few warm up tournaments during the two weeks of camp, the Air Force softball team failed in its pursuit of a fourth straight Armed Forces softball title. The team had to settle for the silver medal.

The two-week camp fielded the best 26 Air Force softball players before head coach Steve Shortland and his coaching staff trimmed the roster to the final 14 players who went on to represent the Air Force in the annual weeklong Armed Forces Softball tournament at Fort Sill, Okla., Sept. 16-20.

Although the eventual champion Army team and the Air Force tied with identical 7-2 records, the Army defeated Air Force two of three games in the triple round-robin tourney.

Third baseman Michael Charvat, the lone player from JBSA-Lackland to make the All-Air Force team, was not satisfied with the team's silver medal performance, especially after being part of the 2010 Armed Forces softball championship team.

"From Day One, the whole objective was to win gold; anything less would be a failure," Charvat said.

Shortland said he's not disappointed in his team's shortcomings this year. He praised the Army for being a strong team throughout the tournament.

"We just came up a little bit short," Shortland said. "Army was very strong this year, and they earned it.

"A hit here or a play there, and it could have been a different outcome in our favor, but that's why we play nine games in the tourney."

Shortland praised the 802nd Force Support Squadron for its hospitality to the team throughout the two weeks of camp at JBSA-Lackland.

The team adjusted to practicing in a new environment after being at Eglin for more than a decade, Shortland said.

"Being here at JBSA-Lackland was a bit of a culture shock after being in one spot for so long," Shortland said. "The climate, surroundings, and lodging were different.

"It wasn't anything that we couldn't overcome. The longer we can have training camps here, the better our relationship with this base can be after practicing at Eglin for so long."

If the 802nd FSS decides to put in another bid to host a second straight All-Air Force softball camp, Shortland would welcome the opportunity to coach another camp here on base.

"The support was great," Shortland said. "The 802nd FSS and its people are eager to help and are willing to make the experience better for us. I'm excited about the possibilities of coming back next year."

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