CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait — When there is more than just talent in any organization, things tend to fall in place. That was the case with the “Alibis or Sabot Rounds”—or Alibis—as they won an Oct. 23, 2021 slow pitch softball championship here, earning the title as the best team on the installation.
The team is composed of Soldiers assigned to 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, who are currently deployed out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, serving in support of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command.
The team was led by Maj. Ryan Jones, the maintenance and materials branch officer in charge, 1st Lt. Kenyata Coleman, an officer in the distribution integration branch, Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Hefner, the theater food service noncommissioned officer in charge, and Sgt. 1st Class Eric Klocinski, the theater mortuary affairs noncommissioned officer in charge.
During September and most of October, the Alibis competed in the morale, welfare, and recreation-sponsored Camp Arifjan Slow Pitch Softball League. Out of the two divisions—the north division had nine teams and the south had ten teams—the Alibis were placed in the south, where they were tied with a division record of 9-1.
The team lost their only intradivision game against the north division’s best team, ending the regular season with a 9-2 record.
Hefner credits the Alibis’ success to the “chemistry and the talent" of his teammates. “There’s a lot of players out here, a lot of athletes,” he said.
Klocinski praised Jones’ abilities to teach Soldiers to become better hitters and fielders.
Coleman gave credit to the two losses the team had during the regular season.
“Those two games showed us that no matter how good you are, you still can lose,” Coleman said. “It drove us, as we saw that we couldn’t just show up and expect us to win.”
During the double-elimination tournament, the south division teams were quickly eliminated within the first two rounds, except for one. The Alibis battled through the playoffs as they faced off against the north’s best teams.
The team progressed through their second, third, and fifth seed contenders with few complications. Then came the championship, where the team faced off against the “Straight Hittas,” a team comprised of Soldiers assigned to the 401st Army Field Support Battalion. The team had previously defeated the Alibis during a regular season game, 19-15.
The Alibis did not disappoint their fans. Throughout the game, there were plenty of runs scored, but the most important runs came with two outs in the top of the last inning. The Alibis were down 13-15 with two outs.
Then came the rally.
The Alibis scored seven runs to make the game 21-15 going into the bottom of the last inning. The momentum had shifted to the Alibis’ favor and the team got three of the next four batters out to end the game.
As the game concluded, there were smiles on the faces of the team’s fans, and there was celebration on the field.
Klocinski said that the win was “huge.”
"This was the overall goal of the season, to show that even though we are a bunch of support guys, we can come out here and play with anybody,” Klocinski said.
Hefner was proud of the level of character his teammates embodied.
“We pick each other’s heads up after an error and do not let it dictate within, we lose or win,” Heffner said.
When questioned about the team’s name and the history behind it, Coleman did not hesitate to explain that their name came from Brig. Gen. Lance G. Curtis, the deputy commanding general of 1st Theater Sustainment Command.
Talking briefly to the coaching staff on what drew them to want to play in the softball league, each of the coaches gave similar answers.
“It’s something to do, it gives us a little taste of normalcy as they have leagues back home and stuff like that,” said Coleman.
“It gets me out of the room other than the gym and chow hall and breaks up the monotony of work,” Klocinski added. “We go out here and have fun, we call each other by first name and have fun without rank being involved.”
The Alibis faced off against the Hittas here again on Oct. 24, in the “Best of Kuwait” championship game. The Alibis defeated the Hittas, 29-19, to earn the title.