Army women win Armed Forces Softball Championship
September 27, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla. (Army News Service, Sept. 27, 2012) -- Terri "Mama T" Andreoni, a 40-year-old, hard-hitting pitcher, led the All-Army women to a 5-4 victory over defending champion All-Air Force in the gold-medal game of the 2012 Armed Forces Softball Championships, Sept. 20, at the Cannoneer Complex here.
"She had one heck of a tournament," All-Army women's manager Kenneth Fairley said. "People don't realize there's a big difference when you're pitching the ball and hitting spots versus just throwing it up there. That's a big plus."
"And she knows the game," Fairley continued. "She did a super job. She's a big, big reason we won, and she hit the ball. She is awesome."
Andreoni led All-Army with a .615 batting average, 16 hits and 13 RBI. In her eighth season of All-Army softball, she has won four gold and four silver medals.
"It's all about fundamentals," Andreoni said. "I've been listening to coaches and listening to guys who already know how to cut the rock. It's all about physics. Really, it is all about angles and kinetic energy and how you turn your body.
"All-Army has made the ballplayer that I am," added Andreoni, a 1990 graduate of Memorial High School in St. Marys, Ohio, who made her All-Army debut in 1999.
"I've been playing ball for 32 years, longer than most of our players have been alive, but I feel really good," she said. "I played young. I feel like I'm 28 today -- and I have arthritic knees, but they haven't been bothering me."
All-Air Force came out swinging and running to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the gold-medal game, courtesy of a couple misjudged fly balls by All-Army outfielders.
In the bottom of the third, Massachusetts National Guard 2nd Lt. Brittnee Arvella led off with a single up the middle, followed by Staff Sgt. Shannika Taylor's single to left. One out later, Martin delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Arvella with All-Army's first run.
Andreoni opened the fourth with a single, and Cpl. Ashley Walker of Fort Richardson, Ark., followed with a double. Staff Sgt. April McGarity of Fort Meade, Md., delivered a two-run triple for a 3-2 lead before getting thrown out at home plate. Arvella and Ashley Gonzales of Camp Carroll, Korea, followed with RBI singles to give All-Army a 5-2 lead they would not relinquish.
All-Army survived a scare in the sixth inning when All-Air Force scored two runs and stranded three base-runners.
All-Army (8-1) lost its first game of the weeklong, triple-round-robin tournament 6-5 to All-Air Force (7-2) before reeling off eight consecutive victories. All-Navy finished 3-6 and All-Marine Corps went 0-9.
"I think we came out and represented the Army very well," said Lindsey Gerheim of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. "It was the usual last-inning, last-game, last-out kind of experience, and that's what it's all about. These teams don't die and don't give up, so it was a great experience."
Andreoni, Gerheim and Walker were joined on the All-Armed Forces Team by All-Army teammates 1st Lt. Alyson McWherter of Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Sgt. Jenna Martin of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. They will compete in the 2012 Amateur Softball Association National Championships, set for Sept. 28-30 in Oklahoma City.
McWherter, an All-Army rookie, helped the University of Washington win the 2009 NCAA Women's College World Series. She batted .520 with 11 runs and 11 RBI in her Armed Forces debut.
Master Sgt. Kenneth Fairley of Fort Sill will manage the All-Armed Forces squad and Sgt. 1st Class Andre Amantine, also of Fort Sill, will be his assistant. Capt. Justin Zimmerman of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., will serve as team trainer.
"Good teams become great teams when players sacrifice the me for the we," Andreoni said. "We talked about giving up your bat to manufacture runs and getting out of your comfort zone to manufacture runs for the team -- hit the ball to the right side to push a runner into scoring position. We did a lot of situational hitting, and that, I think, was the big difference.
"Air Force is a good team, but I think we have a more powerful offense than they do."
Martin, who batted a team-high .630 with 17 runs and five RBI, has won two gold medals and two silvers in four seasons of All-Army softball.
"It's nice to bring it back home, along with the men, and on Fort Sill," said Martin, 24, a native of Mount Pleasant, Texas, who said she enjoyed playing before family members from Dallas who made the trip to Oklahoma to see the All-Army men and women strike gold.
Fairley, who pitched nine years of All-Army men's softball, cherished the opportunity to manage the women's team to the gold.
"Words just can't explain," said Fairley, 55, who recovered from brain surgery in 2010. "I've got three gold medals with the men, but this with the women is lovely. It is so sweet because the girls worked real hard to get where they got and they closed the deal after blowing the first game.
"But I take my hat off to the Air Force. They made us earn it. We've got a great group of girls, and they fought hard."