Army Europe softball: Big bats determine champs
August 11, 2008
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — SHAPE’s women and Stuttgart’s men completed unbeaten runs through the double-elimination portion of the Army Europe softball tournament Sunday with decisive title-game victories. SHAPE’s women turned back Kaiserslautern 8-4 and Stuttgart men hammered Grafenwöhr 41-16.
SHAPE women 8, Kaiserslautern 4: Veteran outfielder Dorthea Thompson ripped an inside-the-park grand slam that capped a seven-run second inning for the champions.
Thompson’s hit, a line drive that practically tore the glove off the left hand of K-town right fielder Audrey Johnson on its way to the fence, put the winners up 7-1.
"She’d been playing me cheap all game," Thompson said of her bullet to right, "because I usually don’t hit the ball hard to right. I knew that if I could drive the ball that way I could get it past her."
Thompson’s homer, her second hit of the afternoon followed a two-run single by Mickey Mourning and an RBI infield hit by Michelle Clegg. Like Thompson, Clegg also had two hits on the day.
Thompson’s big outburst helped the champions rebound from a forgettable round-robin portion of this four-day event.
"We were 2-4 in the round-robin," Thompson said, "but it probably really did help us. It really brought us together."
Kaiserslautern, which got three hits and all-Army quality defense from shortstop Brittany Shannon, reached the title game with a 12-2 losers-bracket final victory over Heidelberg on Sunday morning. The Lady Panthers will join SHAPE in the U.S. Forces Europe championships, to be held here Aug. 21-24, against the USAFE champion and runner-up. Those teams are yet to be determined.
Stuttgart men 41, Grafenwöhr 16: The Stallions left little to the imagination on their way to the title, striking for 12 first-inning runs after setting Graf down in order in the top of the inning.
A three-run homer by pitcher Chris Powers, the first of eight Stuttgart round-trippers on the day, capped the Stallions’ quick start. Jared Brunette and Dagoberto Serrano each swatted two out of the park for the champs, and Bryan Logan, Joey Hawkins and Maurice Evans also went deep.
"We got hot at the right time," said Serrano. "We were seeing a beach ball out there today."
Both teams earned berths in the U.S. Forces Europe event here Aug. 21-24, where the Army men have had trouble in the recent past against the Air Force champion and runner-up.
That’s in the past, according to Serrano.
"We’re coming back here in two weeks," he said, "to do the same thing."