<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/usag-yongsan/3569016043/" title="Maj. David Myrda of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Red Cloud plays infield for the Warriors during the 19th Annual Pacific-Wide Softball Tournament May 23. The tournament attracts more than 500 players each year. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Lee Min-hwi"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3638/3569016043_41bea4c8b7_m.jpg" width="240" height="159" align="right" hspace="10" alt="Maj. David Myrda of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry Division, Camp Red Cloud plays infield for the Warriors during the 19th Annual Pacific-Wide Softball Tournament May 23. The tournament attracts more than 500 players each year. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Lee Min-hwi" /></a><strong>YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea</strong> - Nearly 700 softball players converged on Yongsan to play in the 19th annual Pacific-wide Softball Tournament May 23-25 at the sports fields at Collier Field House on South Post. The official opening ceremony kicked off the tournament May 23.

"We had this softball tournament for 19 years in Yongsan and we are very proud and happy to host it," said Director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Paul Robinson. "It brings teams from many different places like Taiwan, the United States, Shanghai, Japan and also here in Korea."

"Winning is important, but that is not what is most important. I hope that everyone would play safe and fair," said U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan Command Sgt. Major Ralph Rusch in the opening remarks. "Welcome to Yongsan and enjoy the games."

This year, 24 male teams and 18 female teams were competing for the title of the Pacific-wide Men's and Women's Softball Tournament champions in the four-day-long sports event.

"You are going to see the best softball plays you have never seen. Probably the biggest tournament in the military today," Robinson said.

"This softball tournament originated back in the early 1970's in Philippines," said Bennie Jackson, Yongsan Garrison sports director. "What started to give Soldiers an opportunity for recreation has become such as a huge tournament that everyone expects to enjoy it."

"We are going to win the whole game," said Cpt. Eddie Byrd, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Combat Aviation Brigade. "I am really looking forward to it because we've got wonderful weather and everyone is out here to enjoy together."

"There are a lot of good teams out here, so I think that I would have a lot of fun," said Tara Ballard, a supply clerk from Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan on her first visit to Korea.

The Guzzlers team has won the softball tournament title for five straight years. Greg Zayas, one of Guzzlers' players, was expecting to win this year as well.

"This is my sixth straight year to visit Korea for this tournament," Zayas said. "We hope that we could win this year's game again. I think that we have a really great team and we have a good chance to win this tournament."

Zayas' aspirations were dashed in an upset, though.

The men's title went to the American Legion and the women's title went to the Lady Guzzlers at the end of the tournament May 25.

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Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16