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July’s nightmare turned into an August dream for Kevin Healy.

The shortstop for Marine Corps Base Camp Butler was selected Friday to the 15-player All-Marine men’s softball team, scheduled to play in the All-Armed Forces championship Sept. 8-10 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

His selection came after a lackluster performance in last month’s Marine Forces Pacific Regional Tournament on Okinawa, in which the speedy 25-year-old corporal batted just .286 (8-for-28) with no extra-base hits, three steals and several fielding errors.

All-Marine coach Darryl Shamble said he told Healy to put the regionals behind him and concentrate on doing what he does best during the three-week All-Marine tryout camp at Cherry Point Air Station, N.C.

“The first week, I told him to just hit the ball the way he does naturally, and he hit all right, batted around .400,” Shamble said by telephone from North Carolina.

What impressed Shamble the most during camp, he said, was Healy’s fielding and baserunning.

“He was taking away a lot of outs with his glove. And he’s been stealing a lot of bases,” Shamble said. “That’s why I kept him, defense and speed.”

Joining Healy on the All-Marine team is Cherylton McRae of Futenma Air Station, who leads all current active-duty military personnel in selections to an All-Service team. He’ll don the All-Marine uniform for a 14th time in his storied career.

The Marines will be looking to wrest the gold medal from Army and regain the championship they last won in 1999. The closest the Marines have come since then was two years ago, when they lost 36-35 in eight innings to Air Force on Aug. 24, 2002.

Players selected for the All-Armed Forces team will move on to the Amateur Softball Association Class A national championships, scheduled for Sept. 16-19 at Sanford, Fla.


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