Osan Airman makes AF softball team
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- As she steps onto the field, her body is overcome with an adrenaline rush. The winning, the losing, the years of competing at different platforms has pushed an Airman to continuously take her talents to a higher stage.
Senior Airman Amber Devlin, 694th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group program manager, was selected Sept. 3, 2014, to be part of the Air Force Women's Softball team during her first time trying out for the team.
"The highest level I played at before joining was on my high school team, then on the base team after joining the Air Force," Devlin said. "Trying out for the Air Force team was a challenge and something I've wanted to do after I enlisted."
Devlin's softball career began at a young age when her mother signed her up for T-ball. There weren't many opportunities for Devlin to continue playing fast pitch softball after high school, so she turned to slow pitch softball.
She began playing on a base team while stationed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. Wanting to continue to play at a competitive level, Devlin joined the women's softball team after arriving at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea in 2013.
Interested in playing at a higher level, Devlin spoke with a former teammate about the process and paperwork needed to try out for the Air Force Women's Softball team.
Prior to leaving for the tryouts, Devlin received training from Tech. Sgt. Justin James, 51st Logistic Readiness Squadron vehicle operations compliance manager, who has made the All AF team twice, winning a gold medal in 2010 and silver medal in 2012.
The two worked on Devlin's fielding, hitting and being able to hit the ball to different parts of the field.
"Having made the team twice has helped me know what it takes to play at that level, and I wanted to pass it on to someone (Devlin) with a lot of potential," James said.
The training was exactly what Devlin needed to have a better chance at making the team.
"I was able to place the ball throughout the field better than I have ever been able to," Devlin said. "That was a big part in what the coach looked for. He wanted us to be able to tactfully place the ball in certain areas that would help the base runners advance and put runs on the board."
The tryouts began Aug. 28 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, with 21 active-duty women. After six days of tryouts, the team was trimmed down to have a 15-player roster.
The team competed at the Armed Forces Softball Championship tournament Sept. 13 to Sept. 19 in Fort. Sill, Okla.
Devlin started at third base on defense, but was tasked to play middle infield--second base and short stop--during the tournament.
"It was my first time playing middle infield for military ball," she said. "The fundamentals are similar to playing third base. As a player it's all about communicating with your team, fielding and throwing the ball."
The team finished the tournament with an 8-1 record and took home the gold medal.
"It was a great experience to play in the tournament," Devlin said. "There were some amazing athletes I played against. We meshed very well and quickly as a team. Being able to come out with a gold medal was a great accomplishment."
Being part of the AF women's softball team has helped Devlin mature as a player.
"Playing on the team has helped me grow mentally," she said. "Like most sports, softball is mental; you have to know how to play defense, your fundamentals and how to hit the ball."