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Softball tournament hits homerun with Misawa community

U.S. Air Force 35th Security Forces Squadron members square off against the 35th Medical Operations Squadron during the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. This softball tournament helped bolster teamwork and relations between different units through a sporting event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

U.S. Air Force 35th Security Forces Squadron members square off against the 35th Medical Operations Squadron during the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. This softball tournament helped bolster teamwork and relations between different units through a sporting event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Danielle Clemons, a 35th Medical Operations Squadron primary care office manager, warms up before the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament by catching and throwing pitches at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. Five teams competed giving Airmen the opportunity to connect with others and build team cohesion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Danielle Clemons, a 35th Medical Operations Squadron primary care office manager, warms up before the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament by catching and throwing pitches at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. Five teams competed, giving Airmen the opportunity to connect with others and build team cohesion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gregoriorafael Rodriguez, a 35th Security Forces Squadron trainer, prepares to run to home plate during the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. More than 73 participants played in the event which provided a way for fellow service members, family and civilians to build camaraderie and meet new people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Gregoriorafael Rodriguez, a 35th Security Forces Squadron trainer, prepares to run to home plate during the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. More than 73 participants played in the event, which provided a way for fellow service members, family and civilians to build camaraderie and meet new people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

The 35th Security Forces Squadron and 35th Medical Operations Squadron compete in a match during the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019.  Both teams played the opening match for the tournament, garnering spectators and supporting relations with neighboring units on Misawa Air Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

The 35th Security Forces Squadron and 35th Medical Operations Squadron compete in a match during the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. Both teams played the opening match for the tournament, garnering spectators and supporting relations with neighboring units on Misawa Air Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

A dog spectates inside a visitors’ dugout during the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. The tournament is one of many sporting events held on Misawa Air Base promoting teamwork and helping service members, family and civilians meet other families on the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

A dog spectates inside a visitors’ dugout during the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. The tournament is one of many sporting events held on Misawa Air Base promoting teamwork and helping service members, family and civilians meet other families on the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Malcolm Sharpe, the 35th Medical Operations Squadron mental health clinic NCO in charge, keeps his eyes on a game during the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. The tournament is one of many sporting events held on Misawa AB, promoting teamwork and helping Airmen meet others on the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Malcolm Sharpe, the 35th Medical Operations Squadron mental health clinic NCO in charge, keeps his eyes on a game during the 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. The tournament is one of many sporting events held on Misawa AB promoting teamwork and helping Airmen meet others on the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

Softball equipment rests on a fence beside the dugout during a 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. Five teams participated in the tournament supporting readiness and team cohesion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

Softball equipment rests on a fence beside the dugout during a 2019 Cinco de Mayo softball tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan, May 4, 2019. Five teams participated in the tournament, supporting readiness and team cohesion. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

Units from across Misawa Air Base, Japan, came together for a Cinco de Mayo softball tournament, May 3 to 5.

The Misawa AB umpire, Staff Sgt. Miguel Guajardo, a 35th Dental Squadron oral surgery technician, greeted the first two teams in the tournament, marking the official beginning of the 18 Cinco de Mayo softball matches.

“I’m ready to win,” said Master Sgt. Malcolm Sharpe, the 35th Medical Operations Squadron mental health clinic NCO in charge. “I think healthy competition brings everyone’s spirits up, and we get to meet fellow Airmen.”

The 35th Medical Group scored 17 points in the first game, bumping the 35th Security Forces Squadron down to the loser’s bracket. The tournament featured 73 participants including Airmen, spouses, Japanese nationals and other civilians, giving everyone a chance to connect with others they don’t normally interact with.

“This is the first sports game I’ve participated in on Misawa AB,” said Isabelle Nguyen, spouse of a 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron munitions flight member. “I don’t think I’m the best at sports, but I believe it’s a great way to meet with new people and enjoy the warmer weather.”

The Navy team journeyed through the loser’s bracket, facing off against the munitions flight and losing with a final score of 4-8.

Afterward, the munitions flight and the 35th MDG faced off in a final match, ending 22-12 with the 35th MDG as the tournament champions.

“I know Cinco de Mayo isn’t a big holiday in Japan, but it’s about bringing our people to an event to gather and reinforcing relationships,” explained Sharpe.

Sporting events like this softball tournament serve as an opportunity for the community to come together and share in a relatively stress-free experience. People bonded in the wins and losses refreshed as one unit…Team Misawa.

“Everyone won in this tournament because they had a great time,” said Sharpe.