JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
It had been a long time since the 149th Fighter Wing 'Gunfighters' intramural softball supremacy here.
July 24 was the day the Gunfighters rose back to prominence when they defeated the Navy Information Operations Command, 10-8, winning the base softball championship.
The Gunfighters advanced to the championship by defeating the 737th Training Group and the 433rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.
As the third best team in the National League, the Gunfighters coach Jesse Rodriguez, a 22-year player on the team, said the team surprised the opposition by making it to the playoffs after a slow start to the regular season. Active duty and personal commitments led to the team's early struggles.
The Gunfighters had to search the player's pool to find players available to contribute to the team.
"I think we were struggling to find our team chemistry," Rodriguez said. "As a seasoned team, we peaked at the right time to make it into the playoffs and took the championship by surprise.
"We just played one game at a time, and everyone thought we were the underdogs. We started off slow, but we hung in there and made the playoffs."
One player became a part of his first base softball championship after being drafted from the player's pool.
Gunfighters third baseman Jason Session said it was a great feeling being part of a championship team.
"They are a great group of guys," Session said. "The team is so special because of the chemistry we have. No player on this squad thinks they are better than the next player
That unselfishness led the Gunfighters back to a base championship.
"We had our ups and downs, but we continued to give it our all with everybody on the team believing in one another and backing each other up," Rodriguez said.
The team's chemistry will be tested again in the JBSA intramural softball tournament slated to start Aug. 12. The Gunfighters, along with NIOC, will compete against the top teams from JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and JBSA-Randolph.
"We are ready (for the JBSA softball playoffs), and I think we have a good shot at it all because after each game in the base playoffs, we got better," Session said.