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Ramstein cheers Vilseck after winning the 2015 DODDS-Europe Division I softball crown 7-6.

Ramstein cheers Vilseck after winning the 2015 DODDS-Europe Division I softball crown 7-6. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Ramstein cheers Vilseck after winning the 2015 DODDS-Europe Division I softball crown 7-6.

Ramstein cheers Vilseck after winning the 2015 DODDS-Europe Division I softball crown 7-6. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Vilseck and Ramstein high-five after the DODDS-Europe Division I softball game, which Ramstein won with a razor-thin 7-6 margin.

Vilseck and Ramstein high-five after the DODDS-Europe Division I softball game, which Ramstein won with a razor-thin 7-6 margin. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Ramstein celebrates after winning the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title with a 7-6 victory over Vilseck.

Ramstein celebrates after winning the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title with a 7-6 victory over Vilseck. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Vilseck's Lauryn Allgallon-Garcia smashes the ball deep into the outfield for a double to bring home a runner, making it a one-run game in the final inning. But it wasn't enough as Ramstein's defense rallied to hold off the Falcons for the DODDS-Europe Division I softball crown, with a final score of 7-6.

Vilseck's Lauryn Allgallon-Garcia smashes the ball deep into the outfield for a double to bring home a runner, making it a one-run game in the final inning. But it wasn't enough as Ramstein's defense rallied to hold off the Falcons for the DODDS-Europe Division I softball crown, with a final score of 7-6. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Ramstein's Zania Sterling dings a short looper for a single in the final inning of Ramstein's 7-6 victory over Vilseck for the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title.

Ramstein's Zania Sterling dings a short looper for a single in the final inning of Ramstein's 7-6 victory over Vilseck for the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Ramstein sophomore Sarah Wilhite is caught in a rundown in the final inning of the Royals' 7-6 win over Vilseck for the 2015 DODDS-Europe Division I softball title.

Ramstein sophomore Sarah Wilhite is caught in a rundown in the final inning of the Royals' 7-6 win over Vilseck for the 2015 DODDS-Europe Division I softball title. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Sophomore pitcher Elana Montanez hurls for Vilseck in the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title game. The game was close, but Ramstein came out on top, taking the crown 7-6.

Sophomore pitcher Elana Montanez hurls for Vilseck in the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title game. The game was close, but Ramstein came out on top, taking the crown 7-6. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Ramstein's Sierra Nelson rounds third in the Royals' 7-6 victory over Vilseck in the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title game.

Ramstein's Sierra Nelson rounds third in the Royals' 7-6 victory over Vilseck in the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title game. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Ramstein sophomore Sarah Wilhite dings one into deep right for a single and an RBI in the Royals' 7-6 win over Vilseck for the 2015 DODDS-Europe Division I softball title.

Ramstein sophomore Sarah Wilhite dings one into deep right for a single and an RBI in the Royals' 7-6 win over Vilseck for the 2015 DODDS-Europe Division I softball title. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Ramstein's Sierra Nelson singles to left field in the Royals' 7-6 victory over Vilseck in the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title game.

Ramstein's Sierra Nelson singles to left field in the Royals' 7-6 victory over Vilseck in the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title game. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Vilseck shortstop Isabella Brasi and pitcher Elana Montanez low-five after a throw-out at first in the final inning of the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title game. The game was close, but Ramstein came out on top, taking the crown 7-6.

Vilseck shortstop Isabella Brasi and pitcher Elana Montanez low-five after a throw-out at first in the final inning of the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title game. The game was close, but Ramstein came out on top, taking the crown 7-6. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Vilseck shortstop Isabella Brasi throws out a runner at first in the Falcons' 7-6 loss to Ramstein in the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title game.

Vilseck shortstop Isabella Brasi throws out a runner at first in the Falcons' 7-6 loss to Ramstein in the DODDS-Europe Division I softball title game. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

RAMSTEIN, Germany — The Ramstein Royals won the Division I European softball championship Saturday in a nail-biting, up-and-down thriller against Vilseck that could have gone either way.

A seventh-inning double by Ramstein shortstop Sarah Wilhite drove in what proved to be the game-winning runs as the Royals edged the Falcons 7-6.

“It was just a great effort by everybody. I was so glad to get the hit,” Wilhite said. “They were really good competition.”

It was a contest marked by a series of momentum changes.

After four innings, the game was tied at four. Ramstein scored first in the third on a fielding error by Vilseck. Ramstein scored three more in the fourth, with outfielder Alyssa Glenn hitting a double to drive in one of the runs.

The Royals’ edge didn’t last. Vilseck, which defeated Kaiserslautern in the semifinal round, rallied in the fourth when catcher Janin Powers hit a double, driving in a run. Vilseck then loaded the bases. With more clutch hitting, the Falcons pulled ahead 5-4.

After Ramstien tied it in the fifth, the teams headed into the seventh tied.

Wilhite’s blooper double put the Royals on top, but it was up to pitcher Brittany Crown to hold the lead.

“It was a lot of pressure,” Crown said. “I’m just glad I could pull through.”

Vilseck’s Pamela Elguezabal, who drove in two runs earlier in the game, ran out a bunt to put a runner on first.

With two outs, Lauryn Allgallon-Garcia, the team’s first basesman, smashed a hit deep into the outfield for a double, making it a one-run game.

But Crown forced Vilseck’s next batter to pop out, clinching the victory.

For most of the tournament, the Falcons relied heavily on star sophomore pitcher Elana Montanez, who turned in another strong performance in the final.

“She’s an incredible competitor,” Vilseck coach Jim Hall said. “We had our chances, but we gave up three unearned runs. We hope we can make another run at it next year.”

Ramstein coach Steve Kennedy said his team managed to bounce back from adversity, including a loss to Kaiserslautern earlier in the tournament.

“These girls fought all year. They never let down and they continued to fight,” Kennedy said. “I give credit to Vilseck too. It was a heck of a game.”

Vandiver.john@stripes.com

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.
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