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Aviano senior Shamera Lane hits a grounder to third in the Saints' 8-3 win over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball crown.

Aviano senior Shamera Lane hits a grounder to third in the Saints' 8-3 win over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball crown. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano senior Shamera Lane hits a grounder to third in the Saints' 8-3 win over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball crown.

Aviano senior Shamera Lane hits a grounder to third in the Saints' 8-3 win over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball crown. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano sophomore McKenzie Milligan stifles a chuckle as one of her teammates slips in the dirt trying to recover a ground ball in the infield during the Saints' 8-3 victory over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball title.

Aviano sophomore McKenzie Milligan stifles a chuckle as one of her teammates slips in the dirt trying to recover a ground ball in the infield during the Saints' 8-3 victory over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball title. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano junior Margaret Lewgandowski runs on a single to center in the Saints 8-3 win over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball title.

Aviano junior Margaret Lewgandowski runs on a single to center in the Saints 8-3 win over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball title. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano sophomore McKenzie Milligan crushes the ball to center field in the Saints 8-3 victory over ALconbury for the 2015 DODDS-Europe softball crown.

Aviano sophomore McKenzie Milligan crushes the ball to center field in the Saints 8-3 victory over ALconbury for the 2015 DODDS-Europe softball crown. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Alconbury's Latavia Young snags a ball near the center field fence in the DODDS-Europe Division II/III title game. The Dragons fell 8-3 to Aviano, which won its first ever softball championship.

Alconbury's Latavia Young snags a ball near the center field fence in the DODDS-Europe Division II/III title game. The Dragons fell 8-3 to Aviano, which won its first ever softball championship. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Alconbury senior Becky Matthews delivers a pitch in the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball championship game. The Dragons fell to the Aviano Saints 8-3.

Alconbury senior Becky Matthews delivers a pitch in the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball championship game. The Dragons fell to the Aviano Saints 8-3. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Alconbury sophomore Josie Whitaker sweeps her foot toward the plate stealing home in the Dragons' 8-3 loss against Aviano in the DODDS-Europe Division II/III title game.

Alconbury sophomore Josie Whitaker sweeps her foot toward the plate stealing home in the Dragons' 8-3 loss against Aviano in the DODDS-Europe Division II/III title game. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano senior Shamera Lane delivers the ball in the first inning of the Saints' 8-3 victory over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball title.

Aviano senior Shamera Lane delivers the ball in the first inning of the Saints' 8-3 victory over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball title. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

Aviano junior De'Ja Knight scores on a double by junior Ashley Mills in the Saints' 8-3 win over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball championship.

Aviano junior De'Ja Knight scores on a double by junior Ashley Mills in the Saints' 8-3 win over Alconbury for the DODDS-Europe Division II/III softball championship. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

RAMSTEIN, Germany — Aviano High School made history Saturday, securing its first Division II/III softball championship by defeating Alconbury 8-3 in a hard-fought contest.

“I’m really proud of my team,” said senior pitcher Shamera Lane. “There was a lot of pressure today. It’s a first for Aviano.”

The Saints got off to a strong start, scoring three runs in the first inning behind strong hitting from Lane and shortstop Ashley Mills.

However, the Dragons quickly countered with two runs of their own.

After that it was largely a defensive battle, with strong pitching by Lane and Alconbury’s Becky Matthews.

Aviano, which came into the final undefeated in the tournament with a series of blowout wins, is known for its power hitting.

However, Matthews kept the Saints largely in check until the sixth when Aviano hitters started to find their range, scoring two runs. One of those came off a triple by Lane.

“That was the last hit of my season and it felt great,” Lane said.

In the seventh, Trinity Loucks also hit a triple, driving in two insurance runs.

The Dragons responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, but it wasn’t enough.

Matthews said her team put up a worthy fight.

“I feel like we all played to our potential,” she said. “They are very strong hitters and we haven’t faced a team like that.”

Aviano coach Santiago Cadena said his team came in with high expectations and managed to deliver.

“We accomplished what we set out to accomplish,” he said.

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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