JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Tx –
The defending Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Intramural Softball Champions 149th Fighter Wing Gunfighters are a jovial bunch whom enjoys each other's company with fun banter while partaking in cold beverages.
After the team defeated the 543rd Support Squadron Spartans 4-1, June 17, shortstop Tech Sgt. Ralph Chavez, a fuels handler who gasses up aircraft, quipped with coach Senior Master Sgt. Oscar Macias, operations superintendent; about his occupation, telling him that his job duty is to "pass gas."
They later bring third baseman Master Sgt. Jason Session, who they picked up in the player's pool years ago, into the conversation and tease him about missing an "S" at the end of his last name because it sounds better.
The ribbing is all in good fun.
"We all like to joke around and talk smack with each other," said Chavez. "A little joke here and there doesn't hurt anybody. We try to keep it lively."
The Gunfighters' relaxed attitude has boded well for them this season. The champions are 7-0 so far.
Macias attributes the successful start to having a team of good and dedicated players who show up ready to play on offense and defense.
"We have always had a great defense throughout the years here, and everyone knows how to get base hits," he explained. "Everybody stays within their role on this team and knows where to hit."
"We have come together in key moments of a game," the shortstop remembered. "For instance, the first game we played (a 10-9 victory over 543rd SPTS), we played the starters for three innings then took them out and put the backups in. We ended up going extra innings.
"The young guys that were in came through in the end to pull the game out."
One of the young contributors on the team is outfielder Tech Sgt. Juan Flores.
A first year player on the team, he had been looking to join the Gunfighters for awhile, but school and work commitments prevented him from playing.
When the Gunfighters were seeking players to join the team, Flores jumped at the chance and signed up.
"They have a good reputation," said Flores, a 149th FW recruiter. "I always heard about them since I have been in the unit and I always wanted to be a part of the team, but I couldn't because of my schedule. Now that I am a part of this team, it feels good. I can see these guys are real tight."
The team's reputation as a cohesive unit is why Macias has the confidence they can repeat as intramural champions this year.
"You always have to have that mindset that you are going to repeat as champions," the coach noted. "We have done it before and other squadrons have done it before. Maybe this year is our turn to repeat."
Win or lose, the good times will continue rolling.