USAG-RED CLOUD - The USAG-RC women's softball team won the Firecracker Shootout Interservice Softball Tournament in Okinawa, Japan, July 6, beating the host-side Okinawa Yardbusters, 27-16 in the final.

The tournament was held July 2 - 6 and was played in a round-robin format, with USAG-RC advancing to the knockout phase as the third seed after suffering two losses in the round-robin games.

Capt. Lauren Shaw, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry Division, said the team played two games opening day; with games held in the evening due to excessive heat.

Marines and Air Force teams also participated in the tournament, Shaw said, with the best teams from the Pacific region invited to compete.

Left-center outfielder (Staff Sgt.) Kathleen Hedges, HHC, Division Special Troops Battalion, who, along with Shaw, captained their post team, the Casey Warriors, said the Firecracker tournament was a turning point for their team. "Consistency has been a problem for us all season," said Hedges. "Winning this tournament after two early losses was a pivotal moment."

The Warriors had lost only one game in their post-level season and are on their way to winning their league, according to Hedges.

Hedges and Shaw are two of four players from the Warriors hoping to be selected for tryouts to the All Army softball team in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa, in August. "Our biggest strength is our versatility," Hedges said. "My biggest contribution is leadership and being a well rounded player."

Shaw said hopefuls must fill out an application online, which is reviewed by Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and then reviewed by the company commander. The application must also be endorsed by their coach.

"I feel I'm as good as anyone else trying out," Shaw said. "I was recruited to play softball for West Point when I first joined the Army in 2000."

Hedges said she feels confident of All Army selection, having grown up playing softball and later starting for the University of Maine during her college years.

"The Warriors have two more series in August," said Hedges, "so I will be polishing myself for the tryouts if selected."

Pvt. Jirleah Showman, Camp Hovey, HHC, 1st Brigade, 2ID, was named the tournaments most valuable player.