86th CEG wins championship title

Story and photo by Airman 1st Class Hailey Haux
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The sun beats down on the softball field as a batter steps to the plate. He wipes sweat off his brow and digs his foot into the batter’s box to get ready for the pitch. It’s the final game of the Ramstein Intramural Softball Tournament and his team only needs one more run to win the trophy.

The pitch floats in and he smashes the ball, earning himself a home run and ending the game. Members of the 86th Civil Engineer Group clear the stands and rush the field to celebrate the victory.

With 12 teams total and more than 60 games played, the 86th CEG were named the champions of the tournament July 22.

“All I was thinking about was getting a base hit,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Elliott, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron structural craftsman. “When I hit that home run, it was a good feeling to be able to do that.”

Winning the championship title is a major accomplishment for the 86th CEG.
“It feels amazing to win against such great competition,” said Staff Sgt. Drew Sturgeon, 786th CES team captain. “The teams were all consistent so we had to be on top of our game the whole tournament.”

Cheered on by a bleacher of boisterous fans, the 86th CEG rallied after a 20-1 loss against the 1st Combat Communications Squadron crushing them 10-0 in the second game for the championship title.

“Teamwork is key,” Sturgeon said. “Each guy had their ups and downs, but it’s our job as a team to pick them up and work through those downs.”

Pull-over jackets and hats were given to the top teams in the tournament.
“We hold this event for the players,” said Master Sgt. Chris Tipton, 721st Ariel Port Squadron and head coach for the Ramstein Rams. “We try to make sure everyone is having a good time and we do all the officiating, provide the prizes and softballs for all the games.”

The teams came from all over Europe, including Belgium and Bamberg, to participate in the tournament.

“Having units from different places brings a sense of camaraderie,” Tipton said. “It’s not just Air Force in the tournament; there were some Army units here as well.”

The Ramstein Renegade Softball Tournament is scheduled to start today at the Southside Fitness Center and Kapaun softball fields.

A total of 16 teams are expected to attend from all over Europe, including the 86th CEG, Tipton said.