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London Central's Holly Goldie slides into home after eluding the tag by Lajes pitcher Diane Montoro, left. London Central beat Lajes 13-0 in opening day action at the DODDS-Europe softball championships in Ramstein on Thursday.

London Central's Holly Goldie slides into home after eluding the tag by Lajes pitcher Diane Montoro, left. London Central beat Lajes 13-0 in opening day action at the DODDS-Europe softball championships in Ramstein on Thursday. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

London Central's Holly Goldie slides into home after eluding the tag by Lajes pitcher Diane Montoro, left. London Central beat Lajes 13-0 in opening day action at the DODDS-Europe softball championships in Ramstein on Thursday.

London Central's Holly Goldie slides into home after eluding the tag by Lajes pitcher Diane Montoro, left. London Central beat Lajes 13-0 in opening day action at the DODDS-Europe softball championships in Ramstein on Thursday. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

Alconbury's Meagan Archer was the winning pitcher in the Dragons' 7-4 win over Incirlik in opening day action at the DODDS-Europe softball championships on Thursday.

Alconbury's Meagan Archer was the winning pitcher in the Dragons' 7-4 win over Incirlik in opening day action at the DODDS-Europe softball championships on Thursday. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — After loading the bases and giving up a run to sixth-seeded Würzburg in the first inning Thursday, Lakenheath’s Brynn Lipor dropped the hammer and shut down the Lady Wolves the rest of the way.

The result: an 11-1 victory that opened the top-seeded Lancers’ quest for the DODDS-Europe Division I softball crown.

“I wouldn’t say it was nerves, just excitement,” Lipor said after her uncharacteristically shaky start. “Once you get into your rhythm, you settle down.”

What Lipor settled into was a three-hitter, the last hit leading off the second. She responded by striking out the side, then retiring Würzburg in order over the final three innings. Her fifth strikeout ended the game.

Third baseman Jessica Sted tripled home a run in the second and Rebecca Grof drove in two runs to back Lipor, who also drove in two runs. Center fielder Ashley Mansfield singled home two runs in Lakenheath’s decisive five-run third inning.

“My teammates are amazing,” Lipor said.

Lakenheath was playing Würzburg for the third time this season, but Lipor discounted the confidence factor.

“Every game’s a new game,” she said. “We just play them as they come.”

In other games on opening day, Kaiserslautern’s Kili Smith held on to claim an 8-7 upset over second-seeded Ramstein.

The Lady Royals, trailing 8-1 going into their last at-bat of the afternoon, struck for six runs, but saw their rally defused when they had a runner cut down at the plate for the second out of the inning. Instead of first-and-third with one out Ramstein had a runner at first and two outs.

Starter Lindsey Dunn took the loss for Ramstein, the three-time defending D-1 champion.

Lakenheath was facing Kaiserslautern in a game being played as this edition of Stars and Stripes went to press Thursday night; Ramstein took on Heidelberg, a 7-1 loser to Wiesbaden in its opener in the event.

In the Small Schools event, London Central had little trouble with Lajes, winning 13-0, and Alconbury beat Incirlik, 7-4.

No reports were available for the three-team D-2 event.

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