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RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — KMC’s Junior and Senior League softball All-Stars moved into the best possible positions Tuesday in Little League Softball’s European Regionals.

The Junior Leaguers (13-14-year-olds), behind the five-hit pitching of Kelsey Freeman and Jordan Shepard, moved into Wednesday’s 10 a.m. winners-bracket final of their double-elimination event with an 8-4 victory over the Netherlands.

KMC’s Senior Leaguers (15-16) beat Georgia 26-4 to take a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series that will decide which team will represent Europe in the Senior League Softball World Series next month in Lower Sussex, Del.

KMC Juniors 8, Netherlands 4: Just 24 hours after absorbing what has proved to be a meaningless 19-1 drubbing by Italy in Monday’s seeding game, Freeman and Shepard teamed up to defeat the Netherlands for the second straight day. KMC hammered the Netherlands 12-2 in Monday’s late game as Freeman and Shepard limited the Dutch to one hit in a five-inning, run-rule victory.

"It was just first-game jitters," Freeman said about the Italy fiasco. "We just had to get through it and be ready."

Freeman, who pitched the first four innings of each victory over the Dutch, said a little advance scouting didn’t hurt, either.

"We watched them against Italy (an 11-1 Dutch loss)," she said. "We watched their pitching and the kind of pitches that worked against them."

On Tuesday, Freeman allowed just one hit in her four innings, striking out six and walking one.

Shepard picked up the save, allowing four hits and striking out three, mostly on off-speed pitches that also induced five groundouts in the final two innings.

KMC leadoff batter Haley Haydon raised her on-base percentage against the Dutch to .889, getting on four times in five plate appearances Tuesday. She stroked two singles and a double Tuesday to raise her batting average against Dutch pitching to .500.

Shortstop Vicki Simpson made the most of an 0-for-4 day by driving in two runs on infield grounders, and Kaprice Box doubled and singled in two at-bats.

The Netherlands was to put its hopes for a trip to next month’s Junior League Softball World Series in Kirkland, Wash., late Tuesday against undefeated Italy.

KMC Seniors 26, Georgia 4: A 10-run first and an eight-run second launched KMC to its third straight double-digit victory and an all-but-certain repeat berth next month in Delaware.

Maddie Byrd stuck out the side in order to open the game, then gave way to Kat Jastrab, who allowed five hits over the game’s final four innings.

KMC leadoff hitter Lindsey Jones stroked six singles in seven at-bats. Becky Pletzer was 5-for-6 with a double, and Bianca Lopez was 2-for-4 with a solo home run.

KMC will attempt to close out the series at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Ramstein High School softball complex.


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