SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
The Spangdahlem Air Base men’s and women’s softball teams protected their home fields and both dominated the Cinco de Mayo Softball Championship held here May 4 to 6, 2018.
“I talked about it a few weeks ago with the men’s team,” said Staff Sgt. Joseph Campbell, Spangdahlem women’s coach. “We said we’re going to win this championship for both the men and women. It had never been done before so we made it our goal and dedicated ourselves to it.”
Both teams experienced and overcame adversity on their way to becoming champs. Just two weeks ago, the men’s team played in a tune-up tournament, winning all their early games only to end up losing two games in a row to Royal Air Force Lakenheath, ultimately losing the tune-up.
“In the tune-up tournament, we were in the driver’s seat and went into the championship games knowing they had to beat us twice,” said Raymond Aguon, Spangdahlem men’s team coach. “And then it happened and they beat us twice in a row, so that was a big concern for us.”
This past weekend, the men’s team got their chance for a rematch in their home Cinco de Mayo tournament, entering the championship game as favorites against RAF Lakenheath, the same team that beat them in the tune-up. To make things especially challenging, they found themselves without their starting pitcher due to injury. Their second baseman, Airman 1st Class Terrell Pinkston, played a big role in the outcome of the game.
“This time we knew we couldn’t lose again,” Pinkston said. “This was our biggest tournament of the season because it’s our field and we have a lot of people watching us. We spent all offseason working to win this one.”
Pinkston hit a home run in the bottom of the 6th inning, allowing himself and two other teammates to score. After that, RAF Lakenheath didn’t score another point, and this time around, the Spangdahlem men’s team defeated RAF Lakenheath, 21-19.
Meanwhile, the Spangdahlem women’s team made it to the championship game unscathed, only to find themselves down 7-3 in the 4th inning against Ramstein Air Base.
“I pulled them aside and said to them that we need to play like the Sabers I know we are,” Campbell said. “I put them in these situations in practice, we practiced being down a lot, so this wasn’t any different. They were very resilient and didn’t allow Ramstein to score another point after that. It really speaks volumes for them to not give up with only three innings left and to come back and win.”
In three innings, the women’s team scored 9 runs while shutting out Ramstein. The final score was 12-7.
Both teams showed dedication, resiliency and trust, things that directly relate to being Airmen and Sabers.
“If something impacts you at work or with family, it’s possible to get down for a bit,” Campbell said. “But with the right teammates, and the wingman concept, you can bounce back from anything.”