Senators prepare for 2017 World Armed Forces Tournament

(U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

(U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Senior Airman Patrick Asbell, 82nd Logistics Readiness Squadron logistics planner, competes with the Sheppard Senator softball team in the Band-Aid tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 9-11, 2017. The Senator team will represent Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, in the varsity B division in the Worlds Armed Forces Tournament Aug. 10-13, 2017. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Senior Airman Patrick Asbell, 82nd Logistics Readiness Squadron logistics planner, competes with the Sheppard Senator softball team in the Band-Aid tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 9-11, 2017. The Senator team will represent Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, in the varsity B division in the Worlds Armed Forces Tournament Aug. 10-13, 2017. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

(U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

(U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Dan James, 364th Training Squadron fuels instructor, competes with the Sheppard Senator softball team in the Band-Aid tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 9-11, 2017. The Senator team will represent Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, in the varsity B division in the Worlds Armed Forces Tournament Aug. 10-13, 2017. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Dan James, 364th Training Squadron fuels instructor, competes with the Sheppard Senator softball team in the Band-Aid tournament in Colorado Springs, Colo., June 9-11, 2017. The Senator team will represent Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, in the varsity B division in the Worlds Armed Forces Tournament Aug. 10-13, 2017. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

The Sheppard Senators Varsity softball team is gearing up for the largest military tournament offered to DoD personnel. This tournament usually sees approximately 70 teams compete in various division, while representing their military installations. Some teams will even travel from overseas locations to compete in this highly competitive event.

The Senator team will represent Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, in the varsity B division. This means that all members of the team must serve on, or in, very close proximity to Sheppard.

The team’s overall winning percentage is slightly north of 60 percent. New, gifted ball players allow Sheppard to reload, instead of rebuild. As their experience grows, so does their capacity to compete with the best. The major challenge this year, for Sheppard, is that the team faced a 50 percent turnover in personnel. While there was no drop in overall talent, the drop in varsity game experience was significant.

This year’s teams found its share of success, to include its most recent outing. The Senators finished 2nd, out of 10, in the July 24th Rowlett Texas Ironman softball tournament. This was one of the team’s toughest outings because not only did they battle intense competition, but playing in 100 degree weather presented an additional obstacle.

Displaying their trademark, “#WeDemBoyz toughness,” the Senators averaged a tournament best 16 runs per game. They overcame huge deficits in two early games to post a tournament 5-1 record, losing the last game to a team they had previously beat, in the single elimination championship.

Last year’s Texas military state defensive MVP, Staff Sgt. Andrew Purshock comments, “We displayed more aggressiveness, especially at the plate. Smart pitch selection was key, but when we saw our pitch, we jumped on it, despite the pitch count. We must play to win, and not just hope they lose.”

Coach Tech. Sgt. Kyle Beisner, commented by saying, “We have the core of a very good team. We have struggled, learned and grown as a team, but no doubt, we have incredible grit and determination. We just show up to play the team on the other side, regardless of who they are.”

To illustrate Beisner’s point, during the current season, the Senators have faced the top two teams, according to the power rankings, in the varsity B division. They won against number two Wright Patterson, but fell short against the number one team Luke Air Force Base by only five runs.

Team Captain, Ron Brown adds, “We are ranked in the top third of 70 varsity B teams worldwide. That’s an accomplishment in itself, but we know, we have the talent to beat anyone and it’s a little frustrating that we don’t have more big wins under our belt right now.”

The World Armed Forces tournament will have a total of 130 teams competing, 41 of which will be in the varsity B division. It will take place August 10 – 13, in Augusta, Georgia. Brown also stated, “We owe a lot to the supervisors and commanders, who provide their troops, the very rare opportunity to compete, by giving players time to practice, compete and travel. This is a chance to build morale and allow some of Sheppard’s finest to represent the base."