Thirty youth baseball teams participated in the inaugural Phantom Warrior Classic baseball tournament at the Robert J. Evans Softball Complex, Saturday and Sunday.

Surrounded by the players, coaches and family members, Col. Chad R. Foster, commander, U.S. Army Garrison – Fort Hood, greeted the attendees from the pitcher’s mound.

“Welcome to the first-ever Phantom Warrior Classic (baseball tournament) here on Fort Hood,” he said. “Thank you for being a part of this. Welcome to Fort Hood, home of America’s hammer, the largest installation in the United States Army, and I’m a little biased, but I think it’s the best. It’s the best because it’s here in Central Texas amongst this great community.”

After thanking Child and Youth Services for their work behind the scenes to make his idea of hosting a youth baseball tournament here a reality, Foster invited Command Sgt. Maj. Cliff Burgoyne, III Armored Corps and Fort Hood command sergeant major, to the mound. Burgoyne kicked off the tournament by throwing the first pitch.

Burgoyne was once a baseball player himself, but he still felt a little bit of pressure being watched by all in attendance.

“I was a little nervous to be honest,” he said smiling. “These kids are pretty good athletes in their own right.”

Burgoyne said this tournament was important because healthy competition is a large part of American culture

“It’s not just for Fort Hood, it’s really for our country (and) our community. We’re competitive as United States citizens and this is part of our culture, being competitive, and learning how to be competitive. It’s an important skill that we need to have (knowing) how to compete yet how to be on the same team.”

Brig. Gen. Christopher Beck, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commanding general, also attended the tournament. He said that this is a good opportunity for Fort Hood to give back.

“It just lets the community see all the great resources that Fort Hood brings. Usually, the community gives back to us,” he said. “It’s our ability to give back to the community. So, it’s a great opportunity.”

The first place team in each age category received a special plaque and championship rings. The winners were the CTX Wrecking Crew, CTX Blue Cats, the Brown County Outlaws, and the Waco Storm-Cardinals.