RAF LAKENHEATH, England – One more mistake and Lakenheath could have suffered a double softball loss on Saturday.
But the Lancers ended a last ditch surge by Kaiserslautern by converting a ground ball into an out and earned a 12-11 victory, splitting the two games.
After falling 21-7 in the opener, the Lancers gradually opened up a lead in the second game and by the last time the Red Raiders took their turn to bat, Lakenheath had a seemingly insurmountable 12-2 lead.
“I think we got some good pitching from our Shannon Cox and we made fewer mistakes,” said Gregg Thomas, Lakenheath coach, about the second game.
Physical and mental mistakes cost the Lancers in the first game. At one point, members of the team celebrated making an out by hugging and did not notice a Raider steal a base.
With the first game in the bag, Kaiserslautern coach John Culbreth said he brought out a lot of his second-string players for the second one.
The Red Raiders were the ones making the mistakes in the second game as Lakenheath took its lead.
But then Culbreth said his team got excited. Bats came alive and the Red Raiders scored nine runs before a Lancer managed to get the final out.
“The second game we played the rest of our team and they made some base running errors that cost us a little bit during the game, but they’ve got a lot of heart and they’ve got a lot of desire to be on the field and they know they’re trying to fight to get into the first nine, so they’re working hard to do that” Culbreth said.
“Everything is practice until Europeans start,” he said.
Thomas said the Lancers are going to work on defense and sliding into bases because his team was not “down and dirty” during the first game.
“What we’ll work on is having them bring the ball into the pitcher and end the play,” Thomas said.