Just when it seemed that Army had ended Air Force’s stranglehold on the All-Armed Forces men’s softball tournament crown, the airmen soared and snatched the title from the soldiers’ grasp.

Needing to win all three of its games Thursday and for Army (6-3) to lose at least twice, Air Force (7-2) got its wish, downing Navy 12-9, Army 10-5 and the Marine Corps 20-8 to sweep its way to the title.

The Marine Corps (4-5) threw the door open for Air Force when the Leathernecks edged Army 11-9 in the day’s first game.

It was the third straight year that Air Force has won the title in the three-day, triple round-robin tournament, and a heartbreaker for Army, seeking its first championship since the 2003 tournament.

Meanwhile, Army slugger Dexter Avery of Camp Carroll, South Korea, was chosen for the All-Armed Forces team for the ninth time, along with first-time selection Denver Edick of Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan.

They’ll join 11 others selected for the team, which will compete in the Amateur Softball Association’s Class A national championship, scheduled for Sept. 27-30 at Oklahoma City.

Avery and James Flagg of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, were All-Tournament selections.

2006 All-Armed Forces men’s softball tournamentAt Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

W L Pct. GB

Air Force 7 2 .778 —

Army 6 3 .667 1

Marine Corps 4 5 .444 3

Navy 1 8 .111 6

Tuesday’s games

Marine Corps 10, Navy 9

Army 14, Air Force 12

Air Force 17, Marine Corps 13

Navy 23, Army 16

Air Force 30, Navy 17

Army 18, Marine Corps 17

Wednesday’s games

Army 20, Navy 14

Air Force 23, Marine Corps 10

Air Force 32, Navy 12

Army 32, Marine Corps 31

Army 24, Air Force 23

Marine Corps 18, Navy 17

Thursday’s games

Air Force 12, Navy 9

Marine Corps 11, Army 9

Marine Corps 13, Navy 10

Air Force 10, Army 5

Army 9, Navy 4

Air Force 20, Marine Corps 8

All-Armed Forces team

(competing in ASA Class A national championship Sept. 27-30 at Okla. City)

Air Force-Joshua Wiggs, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.; Michael Jenkins, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; Chris Markey, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.; Zach Turissini, Hurlburt Air Force Base, Fla.; Kristopher Auger, McChord Air Force Base, Wash.

Army-Dexter Avery, Camp Carroll, South Korea; Johnny Valle, Fort Sill, Okla.; Jacob Jenkins, Fort Knox, Ky.

Marine Corps-Alonzo Baxter, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Lonnie Dillard, Norfolk, Va.; Denver Edick, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan.

Navy-Ron Cipriano, Key West Naval Air Station, Fla.; Juan Nevarez, Naval Munitions Command, Fallon, Nev.

All-Tournament team

P-Jacob Jenkins, Army, Fort Knox, Ky.

C-Jeff Oakley, Marine Corps, New River Air Station, N.C.

1B-Joshua Wiggs, Air Force, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.

2B-Juan Nevarez, Navy, Naval Munitions Command, Fallon, Nev.

3B-Alex Puskarich, Navy, Sigonella Naval Air Station, Sicily

SS-Johnny Valle, Army, Fort Sill, Okla.

OF-Dexter Avery, Army, Camp Carroll, South Korea

OF-James Flagg, Air Force, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa

OF-Alonzo Baxter, Marine Corps, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

OF-Randy Wilhide, Air Force, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany

EP-Scott Harris, Air Force, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz.

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