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All-Navy Softball Teams want Gold at Home
PENSACOLA, Fla. – Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen from around the world have all converged on Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola to participate in the 2019 Armed Forces Softball Championships from Aug. 13-17, 2019.
Two NAS Pensacola-area Sailors – Chief Aircrew Survival Equipmentman Brandon Sterns from the Naval Survival Training Institute (NSTI), a component of the Navy Medicine Operational Training Center (NMOTC) and Lt. j.g. Monica Shifflet, attached to Aircraft Flight Training Squadron (VT) 86 were selected for the All-Navy Team and will be gunning for the Armed Forces gold.
In his second season with the All-Navy team, Sterns said, “The intensity (of the games) is incomparable. We have guys from everywhere across the globe coming here to compete for a spot on this team and the cool thing is, especially when you play longer and more competitive at the higher military levels, everyone knows each other on the other teams. It’s the brotherhood you develop with people around the world, a chance for a gold medal and the honor to represent your service.”
The All-Navy Men’s team has high hopes this year after a heartbreaking defeat in the gold-medal game last year.
“We have a great squad again this year,” said All-Navy Men’s Head Coach, K.J. Johnson, NAS Whidbey Island sports coordinator. “We have a really good chance to win the gold this year for the first time since 1996.”
The women’s team is feeling pretty confident in their chances this year too, despite having a relatively new team.
“The team has only six veterans,” said All-Navy Women’s Head Coach, Operations Specialist 2nd Class Olivia Arellano, stationed aboard USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), homeported in San Diego. “Even with the majority of the team being fairly new, we all have the talent, we work together and communication is great, so this year I have a really good feeling about it. I definitely expect to medal and hopefully come out on top with the gold.”
Each team will play nine games. The number of players from each team that get to go on to represent the military as a whole for the All-Armed Forces Team depends on where they finish in the tournament.
Sterns said that he saw thousands and thousands of people watching via Facebook Live from all over the world last year, but they would love the support in the stands to give them that home-field advantage.
For approximately 25 years, Pensacola Morale, Welfare and Recreation has hosted the All-Navy Men’s and Women’s Softball Team for tryouts and training camp. After this year, the All-Armed Forces Championship will be headed to a different service’s base and the Navy will not host it again until 2026.
Historically there has not been very much support in the stands for the tournament. The tournament is open for all spectators with base access to come out and support their respective service team.
“We encourage anyone to come to the Barrancas Field onboard NAS Pensacola,” said Brett Pelfrey, NAS Pensacola & Corry Station Sports Coordinator.
The schedule for the tournament can be found at: https://www.navymwrpensacola.com/programs/195abb9c-1616-4f40-85cd-ae0fe2c11f49
The Facebook Live stream can be watched at: https://www.facebook.com/mwrpensacola/