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
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."