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Alaina Koonst, a sophomore from Incirlik, slides back to first base as Sara Sheffield from Rota tries to gather the ball during their DODDS-Europe Small Schools softball championship match-up Saturday at Ramstein. Rota defeated Incirlik 15-4 in the five-inning game ended by the courtesy rule.

Alaina Koonst, a sophomore from Incirlik, slides back to first base as Sara Sheffield from Rota tries to gather the ball during their DODDS-Europe Small Schools softball championship match-up Saturday at Ramstein. Rota defeated Incirlik 15-4 in the five-inning game ended by the courtesy rule. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

Alaina Koonst, a sophomore from Incirlik, slides back to first base as Sara Sheffield from Rota tries to gather the ball during their DODDS-Europe Small Schools softball championship match-up Saturday at Ramstein. Rota defeated Incirlik 15-4 in the five-inning game ended by the courtesy rule.

Alaina Koonst, a sophomore from Incirlik, slides back to first base as Sara Sheffield from Rota tries to gather the ball during their DODDS-Europe Small Schools softball championship match-up Saturday at Ramstein. Rota defeated Incirlik 15-4 in the five-inning game ended by the courtesy rule. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

Abigail Shapiro, a Rota freshman, tags out Kara Roeske of Incirlik as she tries to score during the DODDS-Europe Small Schools softball championship game Saturday at Ramstein.

Abigail Shapiro, a Rota freshman, tags out Kara Roeske of Incirlik as she tries to score during the DODDS-Europe Small Schools softball championship game Saturday at Ramstein. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

European edition, Sunday, May 20, 2007

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Rota claimed another DODDS-Europe softball championship on Saturday, trouncing Incirlik 15-4 on its way to the Small Schools title.

The victory marked the fifth time Rota has won the title since softball became a DODDS sport in 1999. The Lady Admirals finished second last year, losing 5-4 in the rain-shortened final.

The victory provided a measure of payback. Rota, which plays mainly against the base team in southern Spain during its regular season, lost to Incirlik, which was playing its first official games of the year in the tournament, 12-11 on Thursday.

But the four-team round-robin tourney format in which the teams with the two best records play in the final gave Rota a chance for revenge.

“I think we did a really good job. I had really good confidence about beating them,” said Rota pitcher Hope Foreback.

Going into the game, coach Johnny Cooley told his pitcher not to worry about overpowering the opposing batters.

“Throw strikes and let the defense do the work,” said Cooley.

Foreback did. The result was a shutout through four innings.

Meanwhile, Rota was piling up runs. The Lady Admirals scored three in the opening inning, five in the fourth and seven in the fifth. They scored in a variety of ways, including driving in runs with timely hitting and capitalizing on Incirlik fielding errors.

In the fifth, Incirlik, undefeated in round-robin play, staged a four-run rally.

Incirlik pitcher Amanda Bowers drove in two of the four runs runs with a base hit.

But the rally wasn’t enough. At the end of the inning, the game was called under the 10-run courtesy rule.

Cooley, who credited the bottom of his batting order for a lot of the offensive punch, said the real key was shutting down the Hodjas.

“Pitching and defense was the difference,” he said.

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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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