Play ball!

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The Sluggers softball team lifts the Independence Day Softball Tournament trophy high after winning the championship match of the annual tournament, presented by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation of U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, July 6. Soldiers from the Army Reserve's 602nd Military Police Company of Bossier, La., and the 428th Military Police Company of South Bend, Ind., make up the winning team.

Bossier reservists win in GTMO tournament

Story by Staff Sgt. Aaron Hiler, Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs

The Sluggers softball team lifts the Independence Day Softball Tournament trophy high after winning the championship match of the annual tournament, presented by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation of U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, July 6. Soldiers from the Army Reserve's 602nd Military Police Company of Bossier, La., and the 428th Military Police Company of South Bend, Ind., make up the winning team.
The Sluggers softball team lifts the Independence Day Softball Tournament trophy high after winning the championship match of the annual tournament, presented by the Morale, Welfare and Recreation of U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, July 6. Soldiers from the Army Reserve’s 602nd Military Police Company of Bossier, La., and the 428th Military Police Company of South Bend, Ind., make up the winning team.

NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – There is nothing more quintessentially American than going to the ballpark over the Fourth of July holiday. The crack of the bats rang across Cooper Field as the Guantanamo Bay Morale, Welfare and Recreation department-sponsored softball tournament took over Saturday, July 6.

“I’m thrilled about this year’s turnout,” said Jim Holbert, MWR Sports Coordinator. “Where I expected to get a maximum of around 10 teams for this year’s tournament, we actually got 13 teams participating.”

Softball teams from every service branch and many of the civilian support offices around GTMO fought the heat and strong winds for a full day of sportsmanship.

The championship match took place around 10:30 p.m. between the “Alabama Assassins” of the Alabama National Guard’s 128th Military Police Company and “The Sluggers” of the Army Reserve’s 602nd and 428th Military Police Companies out of Bossier, La., and South Bend, Ind.

“This has been a great experience for us,” said Spc. Jason Polovich, who coached “The Sluggers.”

Polovich and his fellow soldiers have been regular participants in the MWR sports leagues and tournaments, but had not made it into the finals until tonight. Their patience and perseverance has been rewarded.

With a final score of 16-4, The Sluggers prevailed over the Alabama Assassins and claimed the tournament trophy.

“We are so excited to have finally won a tournament here,” said Army Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Whitacre, another member of the “Sluggers” team. “This is particularly important to us as we start returning home this next week.”

Whitacre will receive another honor later this fall after returning home. He has been asked to sing the national anthem at the Cincinnati Reds baseball game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Trophy in hand, the soldiers of the 602nd and 428th MP Companies will leave Guantanamo Bay and return home.