AFNORTH gives Ramstein a scare
In the final game of a lopsided season, Ramstein was finally tested on the softball diamond Saturday.
The Royals earned a sweep of host AFNORTH and completed an undefeated regular season by the slimmest of margins, edging the ferocious Lions 4-3 after enjoying a 14-4 rout in the opener.
AFNORTH ace Morgan Beal pitched a second-game gem against the intimidating lineup of the defending Division I champions, striking out five while yielding one hit and one earned run in an eight-inning complete game. It was enough to set up the Lions for what was nearly the season’s most shocking upset.
In the seventh and final inning of regulation, Lion hitter Erica Balkum hit a sharp line drive that would have scored the game-winning run from third base had All-Europe Royal Kelsey Freeman not speared it for a game-saving diving catch. The play forced extra innings, and Ramstein’s Liz Pendergrass delivered the decisive run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly.
Beal and Madison Puckett drove in a run apiece for the Lions, the runner-up for the Division II European title and an increasingly strong contender for the 2013 crown. Breanna Martinez led Ramstein with three hits.
Freeman starred on the mound in the opener, spreading four hits and two earned runs over five innings of work. Katherine Enyeart went 4-for-4 with a home run and six RBI, while Savannah Brooks had a home run in a three-run, three-RBI performance.
Saturday’s late game was the first time Ramstein has scored in single digits this season. Before the day began, the Royals’ smallest margin of victory was 12.
BaseballWiesbaden 7/0, Ansbach 1/10: Saturday at Wiesbaden, the Division I Warriors and Division II Cougars exchanged sizeable victories.
Justin Jones starred in the opener for home team, yielding just three hits against 11 strikeouts in a complete-game win. Brayden Lamb and Dylan Blackmon each went 2-for-3 for Wiesbaden.
Pitching counterpart Bailey Ward took over the late game, striking out eight in the shutout victory. Austin Benton went 4-for-4 with a triple and two RBI for the Cougars, while Ansbach catcher Jose Fuentes caught three Warrior runners attempting to steal.
A rising Division II contender, Ansbach finishes its season having won nine of its last 10 games. Wiesbaden clinched a winning record at 7-5.
Patch 11/11, Vilseck 0/1: Saturday at Vilseck, the three-time defending Division I champions enjoyed a final tuneup at the Falcons’ expense.
The Panthers survived an encounter with Vilseck sophomore ace John Bohnemann in the opener thanks to an error-prone Falcon defense. All of Patch’s 11 runs were unearned. Jack Smith proved a worthy counterpart, hurling five shutout innings and allowing thee hits in his first start of the season.
Parker Boyle starred at the plate and on the mound in the late game, allowing one run over three innings and adding a 2-for-3 effort at the plate. Smith and Ruben Rodriguez also went 2-for-3 for the Panthers.