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Vilseck's Kayla Silden hits the ball in a game against Wiesbaden during the first day of the Softball Championships in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25.

Vilseck's Kayla Silden hits the ball in a game against Wiesbaden during the first day of the Softball Championships in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

Vilseck's Kayla Silden hits the ball in a game against Wiesbaden during the first day of the Softball Championships in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25.

Vilseck's Kayla Silden hits the ball in a game against Wiesbaden during the first day of the Softball Championships in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

Stuttgart's Sara Tingey hits the ball in a game against Lakenheath during the first day of the softball championships at Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25.

Stuttgart's Sara Tingey hits the ball in a game against Lakenheath during the first day of the softball championships at Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

Kate Dimond with the Wiesbaden softball team looks up to see the call as she slides onto home plate during a game against Naples during the first day of the Softball Championship at Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25.

Kate Dimond with the Wiesbaden softball team looks up to see the call as she slides onto home plate during a game against Naples during the first day of the Softball Championship at Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

Pheonix Whisennand of  Kaiserslautern slides just under the tag as the ball bounces away during a game against SHAPE on the first day of the softball championships at Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25.

Pheonix Whisennand of Kaiserslautern slides just under the tag as the ball bounces away during a game against SHAPE on the first day of the softball championships at Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

SHAPE pitcher Samantha Herrejon throws the ball toward the plate during a game against Kaiserslautern in the first game of the Softball Championships at Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25.

SHAPE pitcher Samantha Herrejon throws the ball toward the plate during a game against Kaiserslautern in the first game of the Softball Championships at Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

Wiesbaden's Rhianna McInnis throws a pitch against Naples in action on opening day of the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Wiesbaden won 10-6.

Wiesbaden's Rhianna McInnis throws a pitch against Naples in action on opening day of the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Wiesbaden won 10-6. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Naples' Sierra Dye, left, and Joy Jack chase a pop fly that Jacj caught in the Wildcats 10-6 loss to Wiesbaden in Division I action at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017.

Naples' Sierra Dye, left, and Joy Jack chase a pop fly that Jacj caught in the Wildcats 10-6 loss to Wiesbaden in Division I action at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Wiesbaden's Emily Yound puts the tag on Naples' Maria McLeod after she was caught off base in action on opening day of the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Wiesbaden won 10-6.

Wiesbaden's Emily Yound puts the tag on Naples' Maria McLeod after she was caught off base in action on opening day of the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Wiesbaden won 10-6. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's Kylee Menon puts the tag on Lakenheath's Alison Stangl in a Division I game at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Lakenheath won 15-5.

Vicenza's Kylee Menon puts the tag on Lakenheath's Alison Stangl in a Division I game at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Lakenheath won 15-5. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Vicenza's Beatrice Afoa-Galo reaches third base as Lakenheath's Reiley Kenk waits for the throw in a DIVISION I game at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Lakenheath won 15-5.

Vicenza's Beatrice Afoa-Galo reaches third base as Lakenheath's Reiley Kenk waits for the throw in a DIVISION I game at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Lakenheath won 15-5. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

AFNORTH pitcher Rachel Lee fields a ground ball as catcher  Jaelyn Woods points where to throw in a game against Hohenfels at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Hohenfels won a tight game 16-15.

AFNORTH pitcher Rachel Lee fields a ground ball as catcher Jaelyn Woods points where to throw in a game against Hohenfels at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Hohenfels won a tight game 16-15. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Hohenfell's Alexus Garcia connects in a Division II/III game against AFNORTH at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Hohenfels won 16-15.

Hohenfell's Alexus Garcia connects in a Division II/III game against AFNORTH at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Hohenfels won 16-15. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Rota's Elizabeth Lamb connects for an RBI hit in a game against Bitburg at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Rota won 13-9.

Rota's Elizabeth Lamb connects for an RBI hit in a game against Bitburg at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Rota won 13-9. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Sigonella's McKenzie Taylor avoids Aviano catcher Eliana Morales as she tags home in a Division II/III game at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Sigonella won 14-12

Sigonella's McKenzie Taylor avoids Aviano catcher Eliana Morales as she tags home in a Division II/III game at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Sigonella won 14-12 (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Stuttgart's Carly Sharp attempts to tag out Lakenheath's Emily Conde as teammate Amber Grable backs her up in a Division I game at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Stuttgart won 7-6.

Stuttgart's Carly Sharp attempts to tag out Lakenheath's Emily Conde as teammate Amber Grable backs her up in a Division I game at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Stuttgart won 7-6. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Lakenheath's Alison Stangl put the tag on Stuttgart's Ruth Rueb in a Division I game at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Stuttgart won 7-6.

Lakenheath's Alison Stangl put the tag on Stuttgart's Ruth Rueb in a Division I game at the DODEA-Europe softball tournament in Ramstein, Germany, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Stuttgart won 7-6. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – The first day of the Division I portion of the DODEA-Europe Softball Championships featured several blowouts. But a few games came down to a single at bat.

That included the matchup between the Stuttgart Panthers and the Lakenheath Lancers. It was an incredibly tight game, which saw the teams tied 3-3 entering the final inning, when the Lancers scored three runs in the top half to forge ahead. That left the Panthers to fight tooth-and-nail to tie it again.

“Every inning was a battle,” Panthers coach Rachel Makle said. “It was stressful. It was exciting. All the girls were playing fantastic.”

Up until that final inning, Panthers’ pitcher Kira Wright had beat herself up for every hit she gave up to Lakenheath. Wright said she started to cry because she believed she let her team down.

But after the Panthers rallied to tie, she stepped up to bat and hit the ball out of the park. It landed in the middle of the adjoining field, disrupting the Ramstein-Vicenza game and winning her game in epic fashion.

“I feel so great,” Wright said. “It was so close, but I did it!”

In other Division I action, top-seeded Ramstein won both its games easily, downing Stuttgart 16-0 and then Vicenza 21-5 in Pool A. The Royals all but clinched a spot in Saturday’s semifinals. They'd only be kept out by getting blown out by Lakenheath and losing out on run differential in a potential three-way tie.

Pool B was much more competitive, with second-seed Vilseck emerging with two wins – 13-1 over SHAPE and 12-8 over Wiesbaden – and three other teams all earning a single victory.

“I think my girls started out strong today,” said Kaiserslautern coach Jesse Costa, whose team beat SHAPE 17-0 in the first game of the day. “I’m feeling pretty good about the rest of the championship.”

In Division II/III play, Rota, Sigonella and Hohenfels each won both of their games. The Admirals defeated AFNORTH 12-8 and Bitburg 12-9. The Tigers topped Aviano 13-7 and AFNORTH 16-15. And the Jaguars downed Bitburg 20-0 and Aviano 14-12.

“It’s still anybody’s game,” tournament director Kathlene Clement said. “The players are awesome and they’re going to keep being competitive tomorrow.”

Round robin play continues through Saturday morning in the small-school tournament, with the top two teams meeting in the finals later that day. The larger schools will use Friday’s play to determine the three other teams to join Ramstein in Saturday’s semifinals.

egnash.martin@stripes.com

Twitter: @Marty_Stripes


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