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CCC named to USA team
"What an honor to represent the USA. I didn’t think it would get better than coaching the Armed Forces teams.," Chief Master Sgt. Randy Raper 56th Fighter Wing command chief. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Staff Sgt. Ian Dean)
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Command chief named to USA team coaching staff

Posted 4/2/2009   Updated 4/2/2009 Email story   Print story

    


by Master Sgt. STEPHEN DELGADO
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


4/2/2009 - LUKE AIR FOR CE BASE, Ariz. -- Imagine playing and coaching baseball and softball for most of your life and then being informed that you have been named to the coaching staff of the USA Men's Slow Pitch team. It may sound too good to be true, but it is. 

That's what happened to Chief Master Sgt. Randall Raper, 56th Fighter Wing command chief. The Amateur Softball Association of America made the announcement Feb. 26. He will be joined by Pat Dalsanders, a retired air traffic controller and former Marine who has many years of experience as a coach and player. The head coach of the USA Team is Steve Shortland. 

The USA Team will be competing for the World Cup of slow-pitch softball in a border battle with the Canadian Team. The teams will compete in a three-game series July 16-18 in Oklahoma City. The championship game is scheduled to air on ESPN. 

This series will mark the debut of World Cup competition, Chief Raper said. 

"This year's competition will have two teams, but the goal is to add more teams in future World Cup events," he said. "It would be awesome if it would turn into a two-week event involving many countries." 

Chief Raper brings three decades of experience as a player and coach. 

"I was an all-state baseball player in Alabama," he said. "I started playing slow pitch softball in my early days in the Air Force at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, and have been playing ever since." 

Chief Raper's experience as a player and coach caught the attention of the ASA.
"They knew about my experience with the Armed Forces team," he said. "I was an assistant coach on the Armed Forces slow-pitch team 2004-06. We finished second in 2005 in the U.S. men's majors tournament. My main duties as a coach will include providing instructions for the players and base coaching." 

The USA Team is composed of 15 top-level players from every corner of the country, including a player from the Armed Forces Team. All-Army player, Sgt. 1st Class Dexter Avery, Fort Huachuca, will be the lone armed services player on the team. 

There will be a week of practice to prepare for the World Cup, Chief Raper said. 

"These players are the cream of the crop and have competed against each other, so a week of practice should be enough," he said. 

Chief Raper, who has won four gold medals at the Armed Forces championships, didn't equivocate about being chosen for the coaching staff of the USA team. 

"What an honor to represent the USA," he said. "I didn't think it would get better than coaching the Armed Forces teams. When Coach Shortland notified me I felt very fortunate. I'm really looking forward to this event."



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