Scott Sandlot softball team wins Armed Forces tourney

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The Scott Sandlot softball team won the World Sports League Heartland Armed Forces National Invitation Tournament in Columbia, Mo., July 15.

The tournament included base teams from the Midwest region. Scott Sandlot finished with a perfect 6-0 record, beating Little Rock AFB 22-3, Whiteman AFB 23-16, Little Rock AFB 15-5, Kansas City Veterans Team 30-6, Fort Leonard Wood 19-8 and Whiteman AFB 16-4.

“It was exhilarating; winning this tournament was long overdue,” said Jarred Cronin, a Senior Airman with the 15th Operational Weather Squadron. “We participated at a similar tournament in Arkansas and didn’t live up to expectations, so winning the WSL in Missouri proved a major point to ourselves and other competitors. Now we have a target on our back, but it’s a good feeling; it shows you’re the top dog and our team thrives under pressure.”

This is Scott Sandlot’s first season, and the team has won six of the 10 tournaments it has played in to date. Other wins include three U.S. Specialty Sports Association Triple Play events, a United States Specialty Sports Association Demarini Stock bat challenge and a New Breed Fundraiser.

“Most teams only win one or two tournaments a year,” said Master Sgt. Chris Thompson, a First Sergeant with the 375th Medical Support Squadron and Scott Sandlot’s coach. “This is a great accomplishment for a first-year base team.”

The team’s season started in March and will run through October. Scott Sandlot plays in a league game every Wednesday and two tournaments a month against local civilian teams. The team also practices once a week to prepare for games.

“One of my favorite things about playing for this team is the level of competition at which we play,” said Cory Graham, a Staff Sergeant with the 375th Communications Squadron. “Getting to travel and compete against other bases around the country is an awesome feeling.”

The time spent on and off the field with teammates has helped build a strong bond with those on the team, which is part of the squad’s success.

“The Scott Sandlot team is like a second family to me,” said Graham. “All the guys are like brothers to one another and even though we joke around a lot, all the guys are quick to pick anyone up if they are having an off day. It’s definitely a welcoming atmosphere.”

Team members have found the experience and commitment to softball rewarding, and they enjoy displaying their talents outside of the base.

“It’s nice to be able to put in work on a different platform,” said Cronin. “I enjoy my everyday job, but being able to represent not only Scott, but also the Air Force, is a dream many of us wish we could be a part of.”