Tinker F5 overcome bleak tryouts, claim triple aces

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The lights were on but nobody was home.

Although it may not have appeared that way, tryouts for Tinker’s varsity-A softball team were well underway Monday and Tuesday nights. It just wasn’t the turnout head coach William Kaufman had hoped.

A mere five individuals answered the open invitation, of which only three got the nod.

Billy Kammerzell, outfielder, Bill “Mike” Hudson, infielder, and Jose Diaz, first baseman/outfielder, will all be joining the 2018 F5 roster.

But in retrospect, Kaufman said, November tryouts aren’t necessarily about the quantity of prospects so much as they’re about recruiting potential character players.

“We wanted to build cohesion and chemistry, so we figured if we’re together through the winter, kind of working out and practicing together, then we’ll be able to perform better in the tournaments,” he said.

The tournaments Kaufman referred to are held locally around the Oklahoma City area, as well as military-sponsored tournaments in Texas, Florida and Colorado such as the 28th Annual Band-Aid Softball Tournament that will take place in Colorado Springs the first weekend of June.

“I would say to be competitive, we’re about four players away,” Kaufman said prior to this week’s tryouts. “Typically, we go and we have a solid six, seven players that we know can perform on a high level. We either need the other four players to…kind of step up their game in the gym or on the field and actually come out and do the work or we need to find new players.”

He said while players interested in joining the team should be batting between .700 and .900, what he’s really looking for are people who can take criticism and who have the potential to mature as leaders.

Last year the team suffered for a lack of makeup between certain players, which ultimately seeped into game-play. In those situations, Kaufman said, a decision has to be made.

“Sometimes you’ve got to cut somebody who has amazing talent for the sake of the team,” he said.

For more information about the base team, contact Kaufman at william.kaufman.2@us.af.mil or 405-734-7707.

(Originally published in The Tinker Take Off)

Elliott Scott