Europe softball: Alconbury stays perfect with sweep of Giessen
The Alconbury Dragons, runners-up to London Central last May for the European Division III softball championship, continued their pre-holiday march through the division with a 19-0, 21-6 sweep of Giessen at RAF Alconbury, England, on Friday.
All-Europe pitcher Reva Ballard struck out five and allowed just one hit in the opener, called by the 10-run courtesy rule after four innings. Katie Schonder went 2-for-2, with a double and triple, and Hong Nguyen stole six bases.
In the second game, Megan Archer picked up the win in a game called after four innings by the run rule. Archer fanned 12 and allowed one hit, while going 4-for-4.
Schonder went 4-for-4 in the nightcap. She has 11 hits in 12 at-bats this season, a .917 batting average.
Alconbury, which defeated London Central 10-6 and 14-4 the previous weekend, improved to 4-0 and plays at Lakenheath on April 23. Giessen (0-4) was to play at Lakenheath on Saturday and again on April 23.
In other games of note:
Heidelberg stays unbeaten: At RAF Lakenheath, England, Heidelberg used a four-run rally in the bottom of the last inning of the second game to pull out an 8-7 victory and improve to 6-0. The Lady Lions won the opener 7-5.
Brittany Clark was the winning pitcher in both games, going the distance in the opener and coming on in relief of Ashley Hamre in the nightcap with her team trailing 7-4.
An error on a ball hit by Sam Lane, who had three hits in the nightcap, allowed the winning run to score. Anja Aytch also had three hits in the second game. Shortstop Lindsay Clark, who had two hits in the opener, made superb defensive plays all day, according to Lakenheath coach John Gilmore.
Lakenheath, which has won three of the six European D-I crowns awarded in DODDS-Europe softball, fell to 0-6 this season. The Lancers host Alconbury and London Central on April 23. Heidelberg moves on to a home showdown against two-time defending D-I champion Ramstein the same day.
Wiesbaden sweeps Bucs: At Baumholder, Germany, Wiesbaden of Division I claimed 16-1 and 13-0 five-inning, courtesy-rule victories over the Lady Bucs of Division III.
Wiesbaden’s Ashley Hawn faced the minimum 15 batters in the second game, allowing no hits and just one runner to reach base. Wiesbaden plays at Würzburg on Thursday.
K-town, Ramstein split: At Kaiserslautern, Germany, the Lady Raiders pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the sixth for a 2-1 victory that made a winner of pitcher Kili Smith. Smith, 2-1 this season, struck out six and allowed just four hits to the defending European D-I champs.
All-Europe pitcher Victoria Apodaca took the loss despite striking out nine and allowing just one hit. She walked nine.
Ramstein got the bats going in the nightcap for a 9-2 victory that raised the Lady Royals’ season record to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in D-I going into their game at Heidelberg on April 23.
Jessica Apodaca picked up the win by allowing just three hits, fanning eight and benefiting from her team’s five-run fifth.
Victoria Apodaca and Theresa Brooks each went 3-for-4 to fuel Ramstein.
K-town (2-2 overall and 1-1 in D-I) hosts AFNORTH on April 29 and Heidelberg on April 30.
Bitburg rallies: At Bitburg, Germany, 2003 European MVP Tanya Moore, now serving in the Air Force with Spangdahlem’s 52nd Services Squadron, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and Bitburg went on to sweep Hanau 13-12 and 18-2.
According to Bitburg coach Daniel Vazquez, Hanau posted an eight-run first inning in the opener and led 12-6 before All-Europe pitcher Ashley Kazimer came in to stop the bleeding. Kazimer fanned eight of the 10 batters she faced, and her teammates scored five runs in a decisive fifth inning.
In Game 2, Bitburg took an 11-0 lead and claimed the run-rule victory after four innings. Senior Olivia Eschborn led Bitburg with six runs.
Next up for Bitburg (5-1 overall) is a twinbill at Mannheim on April 23; Hanau (0-4) plays at Mannheim on Thursday.