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PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The All-Air Force women’s softball team enjoyed a few minutes in the national TV spotlight as the featured guest on ESPN SportsCenter’s “50 States, 50 Days” series, which stopped at the tournament on Wednesday.

“It was awesome. It was great,” said All-Air Force assistant coach Danny Acosta of Kwangju Air Base, South Korea.

Prior to their second of three games on Wednesday, the All-Air Force team sat on a bank of bleachers near the softball field behind SportsCenter’s Linda Cohn, who narrated a series of Colorado-related pro and college sports segments as well as one on the tournament.

The team held up banners and cheered loudly throughout Cohn’s narration. The players also exchanged handshakes and hugs with Cohn, who introduced the 39th stop on ESPN’s 50-state tour by taking a swing at a practice pitch thrown by Brig. Gen. Richard E. Webber, commanding officer of Peterson’s host unit, the 21st Space Wing.

“With this altitude, I had to take a few cracks,” Cohn said, referring to Colorado’s “mile-high” elevation, before ripping a Webber offering to the outfield.

“We’re heckling her in the background, yelling, ‘No batter! No batter!’” Acosta said.

The stop in Colorado aired four times on American Forces Network-Sports on Thursday.

Cohn narrated a short segment of video contributed by AFN that spotlighted the renovation of athletic facilities in Iraq where soldiers from the American and Iraqi armies got together for friendly volleyball competition.

ESPN featured a three-minute portrait of All-Air Force player Schameka White in her own words. The daughter of a mother addicted to crack, White described growing up poor and needy in Montgomery, Ala., before becoming a high-school softball star and earning a scholarship to Columbus (Ga.) State University.

She graduated with a degree in criminal justice before joining the Air Force. The airman first class has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and now is assigned to Moody Air Force Base, Ga.

White went 3-for-5 in Air Force’s first game of the day but the glow of the ESPN spotlight was dimmed somewhat as Air Force fell to the same team that dethroned it last year. Defending champion All-Army took a six-run sixth-inning lead and held on to defeat Air Force 16-14 in the tournament opener.

Army “hit three out of the park. They’re hitting the ball. It was a see-saw battle all the way. Just a couple of key errors, a couple of dropped balls in the outfield killed us,” Acosta said.

With ESPN having moved on to Florida, the next stop on its 50-state tour, Acosta said All-Air Force now could better focus on the task at hand: needing to go 3-0 on Thursday to have any chance of forcing a winner-take-all battle with Army on Friday, last game of the tournament.

“Now we can concentrate on softball,” Acosta said.


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