Lots of talent was squeezed into the limited positions on the 2008 All-Europe softball team, according to one of the coaches who selected the squad.

"There were a lot of fine athletes," said Candie Lopez-Hamilton, coach of European Division II champion Wiesbaden. "We could easily have had far more than 12 on the first team."

Unfortunately for those not making the top 12, the selection panel made up of Kent Grosshuesch of Ramstein, Billy Henry of Hohenfels, Dan Vasquez of Bitburg, DODDS-Europe athletic director Karen Seadore and Lopez-Hamilton was limited to choosing 20 players — 12 on the first team and eight on the second.

According to Lopez-Hamilton, selection was based solely on overall ability — positions, for example, played no role, as evidenced by the presence of no outfielders on the first team.

On the other hand, "bats played an important part" in the process, Lopez-Hamilton said of a squad with an overall batting average in the rarefied neighborhood of .572. Top marks on the team were the .733 registered by Wiesbaden senior first baseman Nancy Jensen, the .695 achieved by sophomore Lindsey Jones of Division I champion Ramstein, a .667 posted by Wiesbaden senior catcher Raven Harris, and the .650 by Heidelberg senior shortstop Caitlin Donnelly. Kaiserslautern catcher Kaylin Hesler, a sophomore, hit a season-high seven home runs and batted .555.

Lakenheath catcher Lisa McBride — a junior who batted .572, clubbed four home runs and drove in 22 runs — made the first team for the third straight year. Her teammate, pitcher-infielder Jessica Serd, also repeated from the 2007 first team after batting .634, socking five homers and stealing 21 bases.

Ramstein’s Jones was a second-teamer in 2007.

Newcomers, however, made up the bulk of the 2008 team. Three freshmen and five sophomores were among the 17 first-timers.

"There were some good pitchers this season," Lopez-Hamilton said. "[Hohenfels sophomore] Mandy Lavanway was really good, even though she played for a D-III team."

Lavanway, the only Small Schools player to make the first team, had 45 strikeouts during the season.

Other top hurlers included Ramstein freshman Maddie Byrd, who rebounded from a collision with an outfield fence to win the final two games of the best-of-three championship series against Lakenheath. She was 6-0 during the season and 2-0 with 18 strikeouts in the D-I tournament.

Joining Byrd in posting an unbeaten pitching season for Ramstein was sophomore Jones, 6-0 during the season and 1-0 in the tournament. Jones allowed just 14 hits all season while striking out 43 and walking just five. She was charged with just two errors at pitcher and shortstop.

Ramstein had five players on the combined team, most of any school. Lakenheath, Wiesbaden and Bitburg were next with three each. Lavanway, center fielder Vanessa Frost of Small Schools champion Rota and Alconbury freshman pitcher Dara Halvorson were the only players from Divisions III and IV to make the team as DODDS-Europe completed its 10th season of softball.

All-Europe softball 2008First team

Player School Psn. Class Statistics/coach’s comment

Maddie Byrd Ramstein P/3B Fr. 6-0 overall; .454 BA. 2-0, 18Ks in tourneyCaitlin Donnelly Heidelberg SS Sr. .650 BA, 17 RBI, 17 hits in 12 gamesMarley Hancock Ramstein 1B Sr. .560 BA, 17 RBI, 8 2B, 3 3B, HRRaven Harris Wiesbaden C Sr. .467 BA, 5 HR, 4 3B, 15 SB, 13 RBIKaylin Hesler Kaiserslautern C So. .555 BA, 7 HR; "Can play any position"Nancy Jensen Wiesbaden 1B Sr. .733 BA, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 24 SB, .818 OBPx-Lindsey Jones Ramstein SS/P So. 6-0 overall, 1-0 in tourney; .695 BA, 11 RBIMandy Lavanway Hohenfels P So. 45 Ks. "Best pitcher in D-II and D-III"z-Lisa McBride Lakenheath C/P Jr. .572 BA, 22 RBI, 4 HR. "Best C in Europe"Ali Parkerson Lakenheath P/Inf So. 7-2 overall. .426 BA, 15 RBI, 22 SBy-Jessica Serd Lakenheath P/Inf Jr. .634 BA, 5 HR, 21SB .745 OBPBri Wilson Bitburg SS Sr. .533 BA, 2 HR 3 3B, .650 OBPSecond team

Ashley Chauvin Bitburg 3B Sr. .533 BA, 6 2B, .622 OBPVanessa Frost Rota CF Jr. .618 BA, 53 RBI, 42 SB; D-III/IV MVPAnn Gutierrez Bitburg 1B Sr. .486 BA, 5 2B, .538 OBPDara Halvorson Alconbury P Fr. 4-1 overall, 23 Ks in 26 IP; .611 BA, 6 RBIWanda Jerry Wiesbaden OF/P So. .667 BA, 18 SB; .824 BA, .833 OBP in tny.Briann Joyner Heidelberg P/3B Jr. 7-1 overall, 1.03 ERA. 10.1 Ks/game.Biannca Lopez Ramstein OF/SS Fr. .560 BA, 18 RBI, 8 2B, 3 3B, HRSara Sublousky Ramstein 3B/2B So. .545 BA, 11 SB, 9 RBI, 3 2bx-2007 2nd team; y-2007 1st team; z-2006, 2007 1st teamSelection panel—Karen Seadore (DODDS-Europe), Kent Grosshuesch (Ramstein), Billy Henry (Hohenfels), Candie Lopez-Hamilton (Wiesbaden), Dan Vasquez (Bitburg).

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