By Molly Hayden, U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr Public Affairs July 3, 2013
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- They are the best in Germany, but you wouldn't know it from talking to them.
"Every game we say we are always one run behind," said 13-year-old Isabella Brasi. "Because you never have time to underestimate the other team."
That's the mentality of the SWAT (softball with attitude) team, an all-star softball team of the Junior Little League Division that brought victory to the Bavaria Military Community.
Hailing from Grafenwoehr, Vilseck and Hohenfels, the players range from ages 12-14. With less than a handful of returning players this year, they traveled around Germany to compete in division games, and dominated with a 15-0 record that culminated in the championship title.
According to the team's coach, Sgt. 1st Class Manuel Montanez, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, these girls are tough. They practice for two hours a day, five days a week, learning new techniques, fine-tuning old ones and scrimmaging against their parents.
But keeping with the mentality of always being a point behind, Montanez revealed the girls never knew they actually won these scrimmages.
"They love the competition though," he said. "These girls love the game and they have a lot of heart."
During practice on July 2, Col. James Saenz, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr, and USAG Grafenwoehr's Command Sgt. Maj. William Berrios stopped by to congratulate the team, handing out commander's coins for a job well done.
In return, the team offered their trophy for Saenz to display in the garrison's Headquarters Building.
"We're so very proud of you and that you can represent our Bavaria Military Community at the next level," said Saenz to the grinning teens.
The team will play their next game in Italy on July 10 to start the Europe-Africa Region qualifier. If they advance, they will continue on the road to the Little League World Series, held in Kirkland, Wash., later this year.
But for these girls, winning isn't everything.
"It's more about being a part of a team," said 13-year-old Catherine Ferguson. "It's about learning to work together."