Team Georgia wins Air National Guard softball tourney

Master Sgt. Robbie Robinson from the 601st Air and Space Operations Center presented Team Georgia with the open championship trophey for this years 43rd Annual Air National Guard Softball Tournament. Photo taken by Mr. Cliff Fallico.

Master Sgt. Robbie Robinson from the 601st Air and Space Operations Center presented Team Georgia with the open championship trophey for this years 43rd Annual Air National Guard Softball Tournament. Photo taken by Mr. Cliff Fallico.

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 116th Air Control Wing's Team Georgia men's softball team won the open championship at the 43rd annual Air National Guard Softball Tournament with a 21-19 victory over New Jersey's 108th Air Refueling Wing on Aug. 9, 2008, at Frank Brown Park.

Team Georgia continued its dominance of the Air National Guard softball tournament walking away with its seventh championship since 2001.

The 116th ACW entered the tournament championship undefeated, but New Jersey tested the club keeping the score knotted at 12 through the sixth inning. Team Georgia broke the game open in the seventh inning with a nine run flurry.

"We had someone different stepping up every inning," said Tech. Sgt. Russ Hearst, an air maintenance supervisor at the 116th ACW and Team Georgia coach. "We can be down or tied, and it doesn't matter. We just play. We gave up 10 runs in the base championship and came back to win."

Hearst drove in four runs on a grand slam home run in the fourth inning.

The 108th ARW responded at the bottom of the seventh with seven runs, but fell short before Georgia recorded the third out to end the game.

Chief Master Sgt. Bill Messer, an airfield manager at the 116th ACW and the team's assistant coach, said that Georgia came in very confident of their chances.

"We always have a chance with this team," said Chief Messer. "We were tested physically and mentally in this tournament. We played until midnight (Aug. 8) and returned at eight. It was tough. We were playing on little sleep, quick snacks and a lot of heat."

The 601st Air and Space Operations Center, which hosted the tournament, was in contention in all of the divisions, taking home three of five trophies.

The 601st AOC won the 35+ tournament beating the 116th Air Control Wing 8-6, defeated Ohio 15-3 to capture the women's title, and topped the 123rd Airlift Wing 13-7 in the co-ed championship.
Delaware's 166th Airlift Wing captured the 45+ title winning three games in a best of five game championships.