At first glance, the 2009 DODDS All-Europe softball team would seem to be at a significant disadvantage if it tried to play an actual game. Among the 15 players selected by a panel of coaches to the first team, there is no one to play first and second base, nor right and left field.

But with the pitching depth this team has — seven pitchers among the top 15 and five more on the second team — and the quality of those arms, who needs a defense?

Start with sophomore Maddy Byrd, who just completed her second year on the Ramstein varsity and second year as a first-team All-Europe player by going 9-0 for the 16-0 Division I champion Lady Royals. In 52 innings of work, she walked just five batters, allowed just 16 hits, four earned runs and struck out 99.

According to her coach, Kent Grosshuesch, Byrd, who struck out 17 in one game, tossed two no-hitters, two one-hitters and allowed just one earned run in tourney play on her way to the MVP award.

And if that weren’t enough, she batted clean-up, driving in 33 runs during the season and 11 in the tournament.

Want to give Byrd a breather?

Call in her teammate, junior Lindsey Jones, 6-0 with 39 strikeouts, while playing errorless ball at pitcher and making just one error as the team’s regular shortstop. She batted .472 and stole 16 bases in making All-Europe for the third time.

"Lindsey was our lead-off hitter and shortstop and No. 2 pitcher, and I think the best in Europe at both," Grosshuesch wrote in nominating Jones, a second-teamer as a freshman in 2007, for her second straight first-team berth.

Want someone in a different color uniform?

Hand the ball to Autumn Diaz, a freshman who pitched Bitburg to the D-II crown, striking out 156 batters along the way.

Or perhaps you’d like to call on the ace of the D-III champion Hohenfels staff, sophomore Mandy LaVanway. Her coach, Billy Henry, calls her the "best pitcher in Divisions III and IV." She’s on the first team for the second straight year.

Lakenheath junior Ali Parkerson finished her season 9-1 to make the first team for the second straight year, and Patch sophomore Bianca Lopez, who batted an astounding .885 with seven homers, went 4-1 in moving up to the top 15 from the 2008 second team she made while playing for Ramstein.

None of the pitchers, however, can match the All-Europe run of Lakenheath catcher Lisa McBride, who made the first team for an unprecedented fourth straight year.

According to her coach, John Gilmore, McBride threw out all five runners who attempted to steal on her during the tournament and drove in 22 runs this season. In her four seasons with the Lancers, McBride batted .423, .636, .573 and .620, respectively.

Other players adding 2009 All-Europe plaques to those won earlier are Kaiserslautern’s Kaylin Hesler, a junior who batted .594 to make the first team for the second straight season, and Lakenheath’s Jessica Serd, a senior who batted .617 to make the first team for the third straight season. Heidelberg senior BriAnn Joyner, a pitcher who didn’t lose a regular-season game, according to Lady Lions coach Kara Mittenzwey, repeated on the second team.

For all their accomplishments in 2009, however, none of the All-Europeans who’ll return in 2010 can rest on her laurels, according to Ramstein’s Grosshuesch

"I think the state of fast-pitch softball has improved and will continue to do so," he e-mailed when asked for an assessment of the 2009 team. "I see a lot of good eighth-graders coming up from the Youth Services programs."

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