Sixteen months after losing part of his right leg in an automobile accident, Tommy Carlo has played his way back onto the All-Marine men’s softball team.

Carlo, a four-time All-Marine outfielder who served as the team’s assistant coach in 2001, survived the final cut at the All-Marine camp at Cherry Point Air Station, N.C., and was one of 15 players selected for the team.

“This is not a sympathy pick,” All-Marine coach Scotty Cobb said by telephone from Cherry Point. “He is pounding the ball. He can’t get out there and run the outfield like he used to. He’ll be catching or DH-ing, but he’s hitting the ball and that’s what it’s about.”

Carlo, 38, a gunnery sergeant from New York, has done two tours on Okinawa, most recently in 1999, when he made the All-Armed Forces team while playing outfield for perennial Far East power Pacific Force.

He remained in the Marines after losing part of his right leg in an April 28, 2002, auto accident, and he’s served as an inspiration for the team.

“I told the rookies a couple of weeks ago, when they feel like they’re hurting, or on their last legs, I tell them to look at the guy who’s out there with one leg, that he’d set a goal and went out and achieved it,” Cobb said.

Joining Carlo will be catcher-first baseman Cherylton McRae, a 12-time All-Marine, 11-time All-Armed Forces pick and two-time Amateur Softball Association Class A All-American. McRae, 39, is a gunnery sergeant assigned to Futenma Marine Corps Air Station on Okinawa.

“Both of these guys are hitting the ball extremely well, and on top of that, they’re both leaders,” Cobb said. “They’ve both been here several times, and they’re leading the team in just about all categories.”

The Marines play in the All-Armed Forces tournament Aug. 18-23 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., hoping to regain the gold medal they last won in 1999.

The Marines lost the 2002 gold medal last August in a heartbreaking 36-35, eight-inning loss to the Air Force at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla.

Dexter High of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, made the All-Air Force team for a second straight year, Air Force team officials announced Friday at Eglin, site of the All-Air Force camp.

He was among five overseas airmen selected for the club, along with John Goff, also of Kadena; Joshua Wiggs of Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; Donnie Patrick of Ramstein Air Base, Germany; and Randy Wilhide of RAF Lakenheath, England.

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