All-Army women put 6 players on All-Interservice Softball Team
By Tim Hipps
IMCOM Public Affairs
NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla. – The All-Army women’s team won the silver medal and put six players on the All-Interservice Team at the 2011 Armed Forces Softball Championships played Sept. 18 through 22.
Staff Sgt. April McGarity, a native of San Antonio who is stationed at Fort Meade, Md., is the 2010 Army Female Athlete of the Year. She batted .474 and was selected to the All-Tournament Team, along with Cpl. Ashley Caswell (.458) of Fort Richardson, Ark.
McGarity and Caswell also were named to the All-Interservice Team, as were All-Army teammates Staff Sgt. Shaqina Smith (10 runs, 10 RBI) of Fort Bliss, Texas; Pfc. Trina McGee (.417, 8 RBI) of Fort Campbell, Ky.; Pfc. Tonya Russell (.381) of Fort Bliss and pitcher Pfc. Ebony Ball of Fort Benning, Ga.
They will help represent the Armed Forces at the Amateur Softball Association of America’s National Championships Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 in Oklahoma City.
After their final game was cancelled by rain, All-Air Force (7-1) took the gold medal and All-Army (6-2) settled for the silver. They were followed by All-Navy (4-5) and All-Marine Corps (0-9) in the triple round robin tournament.
In what manager Sgt. 1st Class Rob Bailey called their “most complete game of the tournament as a team,” leadoff batter Spc. Jenna Martin of Fort Hood, Texas, went 4-for-5 with three RBI and scored two runs to lead All-Army to an 11-0 victory over All-Navy on Sept. 21.
Massachusetts National Guard 2nd Lt. Britnee Arvella of Boston went 3-for-4 with three doubles and two RBI. Smith was 2-for-5 and scored twice.
“The old saying goes that you don’t win championships with individuals, you win championships with a team,” said Bailey, the 2010 Army Coach of the Year from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. “And our problem throughout the tournament is we haven’t played as a team. In this game, we played as a team, offensively and defensively.”
Eight players returned from the 2010 All-Army Team, but the young squad remained crowded with 22- to 25-year-olds who faced a much more experienced All-Air Force team.
All-Air Force defeated All-Army, 15-5, in five innings to set the tone for the tournament on Sept. 20. Caswell went 2-for-3 with an RBI but got little offensive support. All-Air Force capitalized on three All-Army errors and batted around for 10 runs in the fourth.
“It’s not about making the ESPN play,” Bailey said. “It’s about making the routine play. And they made every routine play.”
Smith, McGee and Pfc. Leina Braxton of Fort Bliss each had two hits as All-Army scored 12 runs on 12 hits in the first inning of a 19-1 victory over All-Marine Corps on Sept. 20. Caswell went 4-for-4 with a triple and three RBI. Smith was 3-for-4 with two triples, a walk, and four runs.
Terri Andreoni of Fort Riley, Kan., and McGarity each had two hits as All-Army rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the seventh inning for a 6-5 victory over All-Navy on Sept. 19. McGee’s blast up the middle scored pinch runner Staff Sgt. Nichole Flory of Fort Campbell, Ky., from second with the winning run.
“We really thought that was the wakeup call,” said Bailey, who “was shocked” to lose the next night to All-Air Force. “We just didn’t hit in that one, bottom line.”
Defense was the key to two All-Army victories: 13-3 over All-Marine Corps and 7-2 over All-Navy. Smith, Braxton and Arvella each had two hits against the Marines, as did Caswell, McGee and Russell against the sailors.
“In all the years I’ve coached, I think this is the greatest parity, on both the men’s and women’s sides,” said Bailey, a five-time All-Army women’s manager. “In the past, it’s been a two-horse race, but I think the Army, Air Force and Navy teams were very equal.”