The road to the title: Senators take second at Lackland’s Texas Military Tournament

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Sheppard’s men’s varsity team placed second against top competitors at the Texas Military Tournament at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, July 9-10.

The tournament featured nine teams from across and lone Star state and beyond to include a team from Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico­­ - the ABQ Militia.

“This may be considered as one of our best performances,” Dr. Ronald Brown, 363rd Training Squadron training development and element chief and Sheppard Senators’ co-captain said. “We made, what seemed to be an improbable run at the Texas Military State Championship and came out in second.”

The perception of improbability came when the Senators started the tournament off with a 4-1 loss against Fort Hood, which landed them immediately into the loser’s bracket, Brown said.

The team’s start in the loser’s bracket meant that they would have to win six games in a row and beat the undefeated Lackland Air Force Base Warhawks team twice in order to reach the championship game, Brown stated.

“The incredible hole we were forced to climb out of was only made more daunting by the fact that Lackland is a Varsity ‘A’ team, while the Senators compete as a Varsity ‘B’ team,” Brown said.

In the last update of the Sheppard Senators’ road to the world title, it stated that Varsity ‘A’ teams are comprised of individuals from all over while Varsity ‘B’ teams could only consist of individuals stationed at the same base.

But as the Sheppard Senators have made it clear before, they are determined to always give it their best.

“If there is one thing I’ve learned about ‘Dem Sheppard Boyz’ it is that they just won’t give up,” Brown said. “This team fights harder than any team I have ever seen and never falter on their ability to play with professionalism.”

In addition to their drive and professionalism, it has become common knowledge in the military softball circles that no team plays a stronger or more consistent defense than Sheppard, Brown said.

According to Brown, the Senators held their opponents to an average of 3.67 runs per game over the course of their nine games.

“That is a remarkable statistic,” Brown said. “Especially given that this is slow pitch with a high skill level from the teams.”

The Senators were the only team to hold an opponent scoreless, not once, but twice. Those two teams were ABQ Militia with a score of 11-0 and Lackland AFB GI-40 with a score of 13-0.

As the Senators fought their way back from the loser’s bracket, they avenged the loss to Fort Hood by defeating them 8-3, which also put them out of the tournament, Brown said.

The avenged win against Fort Hood pitted the Senators up against the Lackland AFB Warhawks – a Varsity ‘A’ team.

 “There was no denying that the number of games and heat, were and continued to be major factors,” Brown said. “The Warhawk’s success allowed them to rest and wait. To their credit, by being undefeated, they only had to play three games in two days going into the championship.”

Despite fatigue and coming from the loser’s bracket, the Senators were able to hand the Warhawks their first and only loss of the tournament with a score of 8-3.

Unfortunately, Sheppard had to play the Warhawks twice to claim the top spot because they came from the losing bracket.

“The strong Lackland team and ninth game in two days were too much to overcome, giving the Senators 10 – 0 loss,” Brown said.

Even with the loss, the hard work of the team was noticed as four players, Staff Sgt. Andrew Purshock, 362nd Training Squadron; Tech. Sgt. Kyle Beisner, 364th Training Squadron; Master Sgt. Junico Cacal, 82nd Aerospace Medical Squadron; Mr. Clarence Keski, Sheppard Commissary; earned All-Tournament honors.

Purshock was also named the tournament’s Defensive MVP.

 “We are only getting stronger and continuing to perform for our upcoming World Armed Forces tournament competition in August,” said Brown. “We working to get better and focus on representing Sheppard well and with pride.”