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Sara Soublousky of Ramstein slides into second safely, beating the tag of Xiina Edison, a Lakenheath freshman, during the final game of the DODDS-Europe Big Schools softball championship on Saturday at Ramstein. Lakenheath defeated Ramstein 5-4 to win the title.

Sara Soublousky of Ramstein slides into second safely, beating the tag of Xiina Edison, a Lakenheath freshman, during the final game of the DODDS-Europe Big Schools softball championship on Saturday at Ramstein. Lakenheath defeated Ramstein 5-4 to win the title. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

Sara Soublousky of Ramstein slides into second safely, beating the tag of Xiina Edison, a Lakenheath freshman, during the final game of the DODDS-Europe Big Schools softball championship on Saturday at Ramstein. Lakenheath defeated Ramstein 5-4 to win the title.

Sara Soublousky of Ramstein slides into second safely, beating the tag of Xiina Edison, a Lakenheath freshman, during the final game of the DODDS-Europe Big Schools softball championship on Saturday at Ramstein. Lakenheath defeated Ramstein 5-4 to win the title. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

Lakenheath pitcher Rebecca Groff, a junior, winds up for a pitch against Ramstein during the championship game of the DODDS-Europe Big Schools softball championship Saturday at Ramstein.

Lakenheath pitcher Rebecca Groff, a junior, winds up for a pitch against Ramstein during the championship game of the DODDS-Europe Big Schools softball championship Saturday at Ramstein. (Ben Bloker / S&S)

European edition, Sunday, May 20, 2007

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — With the tying run on third base and a blooper heading into shallow center field, Lakenheath outfielder Jessica Serd took off, not knowing if she would get to the ball in time.

“I saw the ball and I went to it,” said Serd. “When I looked in my glove, I was like ‘Hey, I got it.’ ”

The sliding catch helped the Lady Lancers squeak out a 5-4 victory Saturday and capture the Big Schools championship over Ramstein, the only other team to win the softball crown for DODDS-Europe’s largest schools since softball became a varsity sport in 1999.

“After them having it the last four years, it’s nice getting it back,” said Lakenheath coach John Gilmore. Lakenheath had won the title in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Lakenheath pitcher Rebecca Groff, who had three strikeouts, kept Ramstein off balance with a blend of fastballs and change-ups.

Kristan Burns pitched all seven innings for Ramstein. She also scored a run and drove in one.

Lakenheath took the lead for good in the bottom of the second when catcher Lisa McBride crushed a three-run homer for a 4-2 lead.

After Ramstein scored, the Lady Lancers went back up by two in the top of the seventh when Serd drove in an insurance run that would prove decisive.

In the bottom of the inning, Kayla Haven’s base hit brought in a run to pull Ramstein back to within one.

Then, with one out and runners on second and third, Serd made her catch in center field as the runners held their bases. Groff got the next batter to ground out.

“It got close,” Gilmore said after the last inning was finally over and Lakenheath had secured the crown.

Serd spoke through tears and a beaming smile after the game.

“It feels great. We had to show them who the boss is,” she said.

“It feels good after all the hard work. It’s what you work for all season,” added McBride. “It’s all about the team.”

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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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