NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Several San Antonio athletes won medals and accolades at the 2011 Armed Forces Softball Championships played Sept. 18 through 24 between all-star teams from the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Sgt. April McGarity, the 2010 Army Female Athlete of the Year stationed at Fort Meade, Md., is from San Antonio. McGarity was named to the Armed Forces All-Tournament Team and the All-Interservice Team that will compete at the Amateur Softball Association of America's National Championships Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 in Oklahoma City.

Senior Airman Alexis Vincent of San Antonio helped the All-Air Force women (7-1) win the gold medal and was selected to the All-Tournament and All-Interservice squads. Sgt. Martha Simon of Fort Sam Houston played for the silver medalist All-Army women (6-2).

Manager Steve "Pup" Shortland of Randolph Air Force Base led the All-Air Force men's squad (7-2) to a third consecutive gold medal with a 20-19 victory in extra innings over All-Army (6-3) in the final game of the triple round robin tournament.

Shortland, a veteran of 13 Armed Forces Softball Championships who will manage the men's team in Oklahoma City, had never witnessed such a bizarre finish as the tournament finale in Pensacola.

"This is by far the strangest, weirdest game I've ever seen, just based on the plays and everything that happened -- the ups and the downs," Shortland said after the All-Air Force men rallied from 10 runs down with six outs remaining in regulation to defeat All-Army with back-to-back home runs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. "But as far as exciting, it's also the most exciting game I've ever been in.

"We both came into the game with two losses and we both had lost to the Marine Corps, so we knew this game was going to be epic. The way it started, I thought it was going to be an epic win for the Army."
All-Army led 8-0 after three innings and 16-10 after six. With two outs in the eighth, All-Army was clinging to a three-run lead, 19-16. Staff Sgt. Michael Quinby of Hill Air Force Base, Utah, doubled off the fence in left-center, leaving runners at second and third for batter Kiel Kauffeld of Misawa Air Base, Japan.

Kauffeld homered to right center, making it 19-19. And Wyoming Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Travis Wollison followed with a walk-off shot to end the tournament.

"My heart's still thumping," Shortland said. "Think I'm going to have to make an appointment with a cardiologist come Monday."

Page last updated Tue September 27th, 2011 at 17:25