Airmen to represent Air Force in tournament

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah-- Staff Sgt. Darleen Rayburn, stationed at Kadena Air Base, Japan, takes a cut during a recent softball action here. Sergeant Rayburn will be one of 15 ladies who were selected to represent the United States Air Force in the 2007 All-Armed Forces Women’s Softball Championship here Sept. 18-20. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Amber Balken)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah-- Staff Sgt. Darleen Rayburn, stationed at Kadena Air Base, Japan, takes a cut during a recent softball action here. Sergeant Rayburn will be one of 15 ladies who were selected to represent the United States Air Force in the 2007 All-Armed Forces Women’s Softball Championship here Sept. 18-20. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Amber Balken)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah-- Master Sgt. Laurie Doughty, stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., prepares for the ball during a recent softball practice here. Only 15 women, Air Force-wide, were selected to represent the United States Air Force in the 2007 All-Armed Forces Women’s Softball Championship here Sept. 18-20. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Amber Balken)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah-- Master Sgt. Laurie Doughty, stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., prepares for the ball during a recent softball practice here. Only 15 women, Air Force-wide, were selected to represent the United States Air Force in the 2007 All-Armed Forces Women’s Softball Championship here Sept. 18-20. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Amber Balken)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah-- Air Force coach, retired Senior Master Sgt. Cheryl Trapnell, speaks to the newly selected Air Force team while assistant coach, Airman Rob Hofmann, stationed at Hurlburt Field, Fla. concurs. Only 15 women, Air Force-wide, were selected to represent the United States Air Force in the 2007 All-Armed Forces Women’s Softball Championship here Sept. 18-20. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Amber Balken)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah-- Air Force coach, retired Senior Master Sgt. Cheryl Trapnell, speaks to the newly selected Air Force team while assistant coach, Airman Rob Hofmann, stationed at Hurlburt Field, Fla. concurs. Only 15 women, Air Force-wide, were selected to represent the United States Air Force in the 2007 All-Armed Forces Women’s Softball Championship here Sept. 18-20. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Amber Balken)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Fifteen Airmen have been selected to represent the Air Force in the 2007 All-Armed Forces Women's Softball Championship here, Sept. 18-20.

Twenty-six women from across the Air Force gathered here to compete for a spot on the All-Force team. At the end of the week-long camp, 15 women were chosen to compete for the gold at the softball championships.

"The camp was quite challenging," said Airmen 1st Class Brandi Jackson, a rookie on the team from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.  "Overall, this has been a great opportunity." 

The training camp has been tough but fair, according to head coach retired Senior Master Sgt. Cheryl Trapnell. She and her assistant coach, Airman Rob Hofmann, from Hurlburt Field, Fla., have implemented what she refers to as the "Jack Hayes" coaching style, a system based on statistics.

During the nightly scrimmages, the coaches allowed the team to self-coach while they documented statistics on each player. When it came time to make the cuts, the coaches had concrete evidence to support their final team line up decision.

"These scrimmages brought out the inter-squad competition and allowed the team to really work together," said Coach Trapnell. "They also allowed us (coaches) to see who would step up and become a leader for the team." 

The women were selected for training camp on the talent that they already possess, explains Coach Hofmann. "We are not here to build ballplayers -- we are here to build the best possible team to represent the Air Force."

"One of our challenges will be the age gap between veteran players and newly-recruited rookies,"said Tech. Sgt. Karrie Warren, from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. "We are a young team, but very talented."

"These are 15 of the best softball players the Air Force has to offer," said Coach Trapnell. "It is an honor to be on this team, an honor to be invited to camp."

The All-Armed Forces Softball Championship is scheduled to begin Sept. 18 at 8 a.m. with the Army vs. the Marine Corps. The Air Force will face off against the Navy immediately following.