Prepare to defend, All Army Softball once again seasoned with Aloha

| August 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

Capt. Chad Agustin, a 2014 All Army catcher for the Men’s All-Army Slow-Pitch Softball Team, from Hawaii hits a line-drive during the championship game against the U.S. Marine Corps, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He earned All Services honors and team membership for his play. He returns to the 2017 All Army Trials later this month.

Five-time Armed Services champions readied to extend record winning streak

Jack Wiers
Pau Hana Editor
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — A lazy late-summer heat typically can make softball here in the islands a leisurely pastime.

On this afternoon at Stoneman Field, here, that is not the case. There is work to be done, this day, for two veteran players and their coach.

Staff Sgt. Eric Sessom and Master Sgt. Thomas Fuss, both of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, understand from experience the level of preparation that is needed for the upcoming All Army Softball Trials later this month at Fort Sill.

Five members with Hawaii ties are among 25 invitees that will compete for 15 final spots, and one alternate spot, for the All Army Team.

All Army has won the Armed Services Championship a record five years in a row.

They are committing themselves to be a member of a team that is favored to win for a sixth straight year.

Sessom
“I can pretty much play anywhere, and that’s my greatest value to the team,” said Sessom.

He takes an average of 400-500 ground balls a week, and on this afternoon, he glides with an assured ease.

“This is my fourth tryout,” he added. “I made the team the last two years.”

And he has learned what it takes to succeed after missing the cut in his first try four years ago. Now he trains nearly nonstop around the year to prepare for the physical and mental competition.

Staff Sgt. Eric Sessom, HHBN, 25th ID, prepares, Aug. 2 at Stoneman Field, for the upcoming All Army MenÕs Softball Trials that begin Aug. 22 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

“You go (to Fort Sill) and you have to be ready to perform immediately,” he added. “The first year I wasn’t prepared for the level of competition. It’s intense.”

Coach Cabrera
“Camp is very strenuous,” said Sgt. Maj. Jim Cabrera, HHBN, 25th ID. “You think it’s hot here? … Go to Oklahoma!”

Nearing active duty retirement, Cabrera also knows what’s required. He was a member of the All Army team for 12 years from 1990-2002. His growing responsibilities as a senior enlisted officer, along with world events, including Desert Storm, shortened his All Army Softball shelf life.

This year he is back as an assistant coach.

Hawaii-based Soldiers leave Aug. 20th for Oklahoma.

Fuss
Also preparing for the oppressive Oklahoma August heat is Master Sgt. Fuss.

“Still feeling it … ,” said Fuss to his coach about the blisters that made batting cage practice swings more challenging. The previous day he took 200 swings.

“I’m pretty much here for my bat,” he explained.

That is perhaps a humble understatement, given his credentials.

In 2012, his first year as a member of All Army Softball, his 12 tournament home runs fueled the Army’s title run. The Army stars have won every title since.

Hawaii Six-O
The first goal is earning a team membership at the official Trial Camp at Fort Sill, Aug. 22 through Sept. 16. Once that’s accomplished, this year that Armed Forces Men’s Softball Championship will be held at Joint Base San Antonio, Sept. 17-24.

Once a champion is selected, players from all services will be selected to the All Armed Forces team and further play against national civilian competition that continues into the fall.

Assistant Coach Cabrera helped select the 25 invitees from an initial list of 110 applicants.

He knows there’s a natural advantage for island-based Soldiers.

“These guys got an advantage here in Hawaii. … It’s beautiful and you can play year-around,” Cabrera said.

The sergeant major was also quick to add, “First, you have to be a good Soldier.”

IMCOM Pacific/Hawaii Invitees

Five of the 25 invited players for the Aug. 22-Sept. 16 All Army Men’s Softball Trials are Hawaii-based or have Hawaii ties, along with one member of the coaching staff.

  • Sgt. Major Jim Cabrera (Assistant Coach), Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division.
  • Capt. Chad Agustin, Kansas City Army Medical Recruiting Company (from Honolulu).
  • Master Sgt. Thomas Fuss, HHBN, 25th ID.
  • 1st Sgt. Shawn Moriarity, C-Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th ID.
  • Staff Sgt. Eric Sessom, HHBN, 25th ID.
  • Master Sgt. Benjamin Kahalehoe, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Army National Guard, Schofield Barracks.

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