Fort Rucker softball 'Flyerettes' heads to military championship
"Flyerettes" shortstop Katrena Smith makes a catch during the team's practice Aug. 5 at Enterprise Recreational Park. The team is preparing for USSSA Military World Tournament Aug. 20-22 in Panama City, Fla.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Ladies softball players from Fort Rucker and Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., are heading to the United States Specialty Sports Association Military World Tournament in Panama City, Fla., Aug. 20-22.

The combination team, called the "Flyerettes," finished second in the Slamfest Military National Invitational Softball Tournament in Montgomery, Ala., July 10, according to coach Eunice Knight. It was the first time in 15 years the team placed that high in the military worlds qualifier.

"Working with this group has been great," Knight said. "We've accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. The ladies have really come together as a team."

Figuring out a workable practice schedule for the team has been the biggest challenge for Knight and her assistant coach, Eddie Coleman. So far, the ladies have only been able to practice a couple of times since the tournament in Montgomery.

"Distance is really the most difficult part for us," Coleman said. "We usually have practices with the ladies that are here and the ladies in Montgomery have their own practices there."

Coleman said the team shouldn't have any problems working together since they communicate effectively each week and talk about what kind of things were covered in each practice.

"I just tell them to make sure they have fun with what they're doing," Coleman said. "That's how you play good ball - just go out and have fun."

"Flyerettes" outfielder Kimber Evans is no stranger to softball tournaments. She is also a member of the 2010 Fort Rucker Intramural Softball champions, "Old Skool." She said pulling double-duty was more fun than challenging.

"I feel great about playing on this team," she said. "There's a little more pressure here, though. The expectations are higher, but I think we're going to do great at the tournament."

Some members of the team are making the experience a Family affair. Katrena Smith and her daughter, Ashlee, said they've enjoyed the time playing on the same team.

"My mom's really encouraging and motivating on the field," Ashlee said. "We work really well together."

Katrena said the time spent with her daughter has brought them closer together while having a good time. She added she thinks the team is more than prepared for tournament play.

"We've got a really good group," she said. "It's amazing that we've been able to come together so quickly and make this work."

Page last updated Fri August 13th, 2010 at 12:20