Sgt. Leonardo Aviles swings at a pitch during an All-Army softball game against the All-Marine Corps team at Fort Sill, Okla. PHOTO BY STEVE GALVAN.
By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
03 NOV 2012
What started out as something to do as a 6-year-old Army brat growing up in Killeen, Texas, culminated into being selected to play for the 2012 All-Army men’s softball team and on to represent the Army as a member of the All-Armed Forces team.
Sgt. Leonardo Aviles, a dental lab technician (68EN5) at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (ISR) Dental and Trauma Research Detachment, played outfield for the Army and helped lead the team to the Gold medal, taking the championship title from the Air Force team who were reigning champion for the last three years.
“It was a great experience,” said Aviles. “It was definitely one of the best teams the Army has had for a while because we run-ruled every game we won. In softball, if a team is leading by 15 runs in the fourth inning or 10 in the fifth, the game is won by the leading team.”
This was Aviles’ second year trying out for the All-Army softball team. Making the team is no easy task. First, potential players submit applications to the All-Army Sports office at the U.S. Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation at Fort Sam Houston, Texas where they are reviewed by the staff and team coach. This year, 250 applications were reviewed and 25 Soldiers were invited to attend the 2-week try-out camp, where 10 players were cut.
“I wasn’t prepared [for last year’s try-outs],” Aviles said. “I had just completed dental lab school and didn’t have too much time to practice and the pace of the try-outs was overwhelming.”
Aviles was determined to make the team. For a year, he honed his baseball skills by playing for his unit’s softball team while stationed at Fort Gordon, Ga. “I didn’t think I was going to get invited back,” he said. “I submitted my application and the coach called me and told me that I was invited to the try-outs.”
This time Aviles was ready. “I saw a lot of familiar faces and I was more relaxed and confident,” he said.
During the All-Armed Forces Championship tournament held at Fort Sill, Okla. in September, Aviles batted .731 and hit three homeruns. The Army won the tournament with a 7-2 record, and Aviles was invited to play with the All-Armed Forces team at the Amateur Softball Association of America National Tournament in
“Playing on the All-Armed Forces team was like icing on the cake,” said Aviles. “My main goal was to make the All-Army team and win the Gold medal. Then I found out that I made the All-Armed Forces team. That was awesome.”
After 40 straight days of playing softball, Aviles thought he was done playing for a while. A couple of days after returning from the national tournament, he was asked to play for a Fort Sam Houston intramural. He agreed to play, even though he doesn’t like playing at that level.
“I like playing at the Varsity A or B level, but they needed some guys so I decided to play,” he said. “This will help me stay sharp because I’ve been asked to submit an application next year and try out to play third base.”