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thedrifter
04-10-09, 09:22 AM
Midnight Madness tournament has Marines, sailors loving night life
Lance Cpl. Shelby Shields

CAMP KINSER, Okinawa (April 10, 2009) -- It is Friday midnight on Camp Kinser, the streets are mostly dark and there is little action to be seen - except for softball field four. Over the field, lights are glaring, red dust fills the air and the cheers of fans and cracks of bats pierce the night.


This was the scene for the Kinser "Midnight Madness" open softball tournament. The tournament began April 3 at 6 p.m. and continued through the night into the early hours on Saturday.

Players took their only breaks between games or in some cases, between innings.

The all-night format was a first in recent years for Camp Kinser and added an extra element of endurance and excitement to the game, tournament organizers said.

"You eat when you can, and sleep when you can," said Ray Hamilton, sports coordinator with Marine Corps Community Services Semper Fit on Camp Kinser.

Several military teams competed in the tournament including seven Marine Corps teams and two Navy teams. The 14-team field was rounded out by five teams sponsored by organizations such as Army and Air Force Exchange Service and American Legion.

After 26 games spanning 14 consecutive hours, the American Legion team came out on top, defeating Club Red in the championship game 23-4. Yellow Box finished third.

Navy and Marine Corps teams went down swinging early in the double-elimination tournament.

"Even though we lost we had fun," said Clifton Setty, the NMBC-40 team coach. "Not sleeping is fine for me, it's a good time and its better than working."

The competition remained intense throughout the tournament but it was the spirit of fun Hamilton hopes carried the night.

"The best part of the tournament was watching the teams compete through all kinds of conditions like fatigue, motivational issues, hunger and many other things," Hamilton said. "But most of all watching them have fun with it."

"Midnight Madness" was deemed a success and teams enjoyed the glow in the dark shirts they received, Hamilton said.

The chances of repeating the tournament next year look promising.

"When you get this kind of participation, you keep it rolling," Hamilton said.

Ellie