Story by Steven Dinote on 08/28/2018The U.S. Armed Forces Women's Softball Team reached the finals once again and earned silver at the 2018 USA Softball National Women's Open Championship at the WVO Softball Complex in Portland, Ore. on August 26.
Going undefeated in their first three games of the double elimination tournament, the U.S. Women reached the finals in the second straight year.
"My very first expectation was to get this group of military all-stars to gel as a team and to embrace the armed forces Team First' family concept", said first-year coach Mr. Michael Richardson of Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
"We knew if we could get that accomplished and establish the team chemistry, that we had the talent to win the National Championship."
The U.S. Women faced a familiar opponent in the Derby Girls from Seattle, Wash. Looking to defend the title, the Derby Girls faced the U.S. Women for the fifth time in the finals since 2012.
Looking to seal the deal, the U.S. Women lost 18-14 in their first meeting. In the elimination game for the title, the U.S. Women lost 16-1 to take silver.
"We came up a little short of the team's end goal", said Richardson, "but we accomplished our overall mission and that was to represent the United States Armed Forces with honor, dignity, and class."
The U.S. Armed Forces Women has faced the Derby Girls in the finals in 2017, 2015, 2014 and 2012, with the U.S. Women winning the gold in 2015.
Over the last 15 years, the U.S. Armed Forces Women's Softball Team has reached the finals 13 times, winning gold twice and taking home ten silvers.
"I couldn't be more pleased with the overall performance of our team," said Richardson. "These ladies put it all on the line and played for the name on front of the jersey and not the name on the back. They were true ambassadors to the Armed Forces Sports Program receiving the highest praise from everyone they met."
Earning All-American honors for the U.S. Women were Air Force Staff Sgt. Kasey Pettit-Castor of Royal Air Base Lakenheath, United Kingdom; Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Val Proulx of Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.; Cpl. Nikki Mills of the Army Reserves; Air Force 1st Lt. Carmen Fowler of Nellis AFB, Nevada; Marine Capt. Nikki Frieberg of MCB Camp Butler, Japan; and Navy Lt.jg. Jessica Kallander Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Mills and Proulx also earned All-Tournament team honors for their outstanding performances.
The 2018 U.S. Armed Forces Women's Softball Team was selected by the Service Representatives at the 2018 Armed Forces Women's Softball Championship held at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla.
Air Force, coached by Richardson, won the Armed Forces gold earning him head coach honors of the Armed Forces Team.
Richardson selected Army head coach and legendary player Lt Col. Terri Andreoni of Fort Belvoir, Va. as his assistant coach.
The U.S. players return to their respective duty stations having left a lasting impression on this year's tournament and participants.
2018 Armed Forces Women's All-Tournament Team:
Sgt. Michele Cox, NAS Pensacola, Fla. Marine Corps
PO3 Valerie Proulx, NAS Oceana, Va. Navy
Lt. j.g. Jessica Kallander, Kaneohe, Hawaii Navy
1st Lt. Dana Vahey, Fort Meade, Md. Air Force
Sgt. Allison Lotz, MCAS Yuma, Ariz. Marine Corps
Senior Airman Megan Hinds, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman, Hawaii Air Force
Cpl. Nicole Mills, U.S. Army Reserves Army
1st Lt. Carmen Fowler, Nellis AFB, Nevada Air Force
Pfc. Brittany Stein, Camp Carroll, Korea Army
Senior Airman Tori Tilley, Holloman AFB, N.M. Air Force
Staff Sgt. Kasey Pettit-Castor, RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom Air Force
Capt. Nicole Freiberg, MCB Camp Butler, Japan Marine Corps
Sgt. Lora Schulze, Fort Stewart, Ga. Army
Spc. Clarice Horschel, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii Army
Sgt. Claudia Robles, Marine Barracks 8th & I, Washington, D.C. Marine Corps
Head Coach: Mr. Michael Richardson, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas Air Force
Asst. Coach: Lt. Col. Terri Andreoni, Fort Belvoir, Va. Army