Sembach Tigers traveled to Italy in August and came back with the 2007 U.S. Air Forces in Europe softball championship title.
***image2***The Tigers were among ten the best “small unit” teams − the most in recent history − from around Europe that traveled to Camp Darby, Italy, in August.
The games began for the Tigers in the round-robin portion of the tournament against the defending champs, the Croughton Croutons. The Tigers learned early what it would take to beat the champs, as the Croughton set the bar high with a 20-14 victory.
Some teams might have been down on themselves after a defeat like that, but not the Tigers. They rebounded with three straight victories against Menwith Hill, Lajes, and Kleine Brogel to close out the round-robin with a 3-1 record and a No. 2 seed going into the double elimination round.
“It was awesome to see the guys come together like that and scratch back after that first loss” said Airman 1st Class Andy Sylvester. “I shouldn’t be surprised though, that is what tigers do, raarrr. I’m just glad I could contribute.”
The double-elimination pitted Sembach against a very formidable Alconbury team. The Tigers showed their might, advancing to the next round with a 20-11 victory.
Next, they went up against the 2004 and 2005 champions, Camp Darby. Darby was undefeated up to this point of the tournament. The Tigers put them down 19-17 and advanced again.
The next game was the big one, the winner was guaranteed a spot in the championship game.The Tigers faced defending champions − and the only team to beat them in the tournament − Croughton. The game started out close, but the Tigers made a statement late in the game and beat Croughton 25-12.
“That game was huge,” said Master Sgt. Brian Schramm, who was 4-4. “It feels good to finally beat our nemesis; it proves we can beat anyone.”
The next two games against Croughton were back and forth with Croughton winning one 20-16. In the next game, the Tigers clawed their way back and won 40-31 in the highest scoring finale in the history of the tournament.
“I feel lucky to have played with such a great bunch of fighters,” said Tech. Sgt. Marvin Oliva. “A lot of people think us Intel types are just braniacs with no athletic skills. Well, anyone that saw what we did here in this tournament would be convinced otherwise.”