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Ramstein's Rams and Lady Rams lay claim to the diamond here Sunday after each completed unbeaten runs through the double-elimination 2003 Army-Air Force Final Four slow-pitch softball tournament. The Lady Rams downed Spangdahlem's Lady Sabers 10-7; Ramstein's men edged Spangdahlem 16-15.

Ramstein's Rams and Lady Rams lay claim to the diamond here Sunday after each completed unbeaten runs through the double-elimination 2003 Army-Air Force Final Four slow-pitch softball tournament. The Lady Rams downed Spangdahlem's Lady Sabers 10-7; Ramstein's men edged Spangdahlem 16-15. (Rusty Bryan / S&S)

Ramstein's Rams and Lady Rams lay claim to the diamond here Sunday after each completed unbeaten runs through the double-elimination 2003 Army-Air Force Final Four slow-pitch softball tournament. The Lady Rams downed Spangdahlem's Lady Sabers 10-7; Ramstein's men edged Spangdahlem 16-15.

Ramstein's Rams and Lady Rams lay claim to the diamond here Sunday after each completed unbeaten runs through the double-elimination 2003 Army-Air Force Final Four slow-pitch softball tournament. The Lady Rams downed Spangdahlem's Lady Sabers 10-7; Ramstein's men edged Spangdahlem 16-15. (Rusty Bryan / S&S)

Ramstein pitcher Tim Snyder (left) and first baseman Ike Rivers touch gloves in celebration Sunday after the USAFE champion Rams added the U.S. Forces-Europe title to their resume with a 16-15 victory over Spangdahlem in Sunday's championship game of the 2003 Army-Air Force Final Four tournament. Rivers, who's ending his 13-year stint as a USAFE athlete after the game, is handing over 2004 managerial duties to Snyder.

Ramstein pitcher Tim Snyder (left) and first baseman Ike Rivers touch gloves in celebration Sunday after the USAFE champion Rams added the U.S. Forces-Europe title to their resume with a 16-15 victory over Spangdahlem in Sunday's championship game of the 2003 Army-Air Force Final Four tournament. Rivers, who's ending his 13-year stint as a USAFE athlete after the game, is handing over 2004 managerial duties to Snyder. (Rusty Bryan / S&S)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The men’s and women’s championship games in the 2003 Army-Air Force Final Four slow-pitch softball tournament began as a pair of all-Air Force showdowns.

And when they were over Sunday, they had become an all-Ramstein affair as the Rams’ men and women completed unbeaten runs through the double-elimination event to claim the titles.

The women got things started with a 10-7 victory over the Spangdahlem Lady Sabers, and the men followed with a 16-15 win over Spangdahlem in victories that duplicated the outcomes of last month’s USAFE championships in Aviano, Italy.

Ramstein men 16, Spangdahlem 15

“People ask us why we’re not jumping around,” said Ike Rivers, Ramstein’s first baseman and manager, “but we expect to win. We’re 86-6 this season and won 10 of the 11 tournaments we entered.”

Pinch-hitter Cam Engelman lashed a scorching ground ball off the glove of diving Ray Delgado to drive home Donnie Patrick and break a 15-15 tie in the bottom of the sixth. Pitcher Tim Snyder retired Spangdahlem in order in the top of the seventh to make the run stand up.

Scoring the decisive run was a fitting ending for Patrick, who opened Ramstein’s scoring with a two-run homer in his first at-bat of the day, which happened to be his 40th birthday.

In addition to Patrick’s blast, Ramstein, which scored in every inning, also got home runs from Chris Spelling, Nathan Tarkowski and Chris Young.

Spangdahlem earned its shot at Ramstein with a 16-9 losers- bracket final victory over three- time Army-Europe and defending U.S. Forces-Europe champion SHAPE on Sunday morning.

Brian Whelan stroked a pair of home runs in that game, including one in a decisive seven-run seventh. Lloyd Oxford, Pat Boot and Woodrow Wilson also went deep in the game, and Wilson added a pair of triples and a single in a 4-for-4 effort.

Spang’s seven-run outburst in the final inning followed SHAPE’s five-run sixth that tied the game at 9. Bryan Greene homered for SHAPE.

The Sabers continued playing long ball in the title game, with Delgado connecting for three homers in consecutive at bats in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Delgado’s two-run shot combined with a two-run homer by Jeff Dahlke and a solo homer by Edward Jett in a six-run sixth that tied the game at 15.

Ramstein’s title serves as a farewell gift for Rivers, who’s leaving for an assignment at the Pentagon after spending the last 13 years as a USAFE athlete.

“This one is special for me,” said Rivers. “I won one my first season over here [with RAF Chicksands] and now we’ve won one in my last season.”

Ramstein women 10, Spangdahlem 7

Ramstein pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth after Spangdahlem had closed to 8-7, then held the Lady Sabers scoreless in the final inning to nail down the title.

“It’s always exciting to play Spangdahlem,” said Ramstein’s Regina Joiner. “They’re a tough competitor. We’re 47-1 this season, and they gave us the loss.”

Nikki Evenson, Corinna Vierya and Melissa Ray each went 2-for-3 for the Ramstein.

“All season long, the Lady Rams have played aggressive ball,” Joiner said of her squad, which blistered Spangdahlem 13-4 in Saturday night’s winners-bracket final. “They really want to win.”

Spangdahlem rebounded from Saturday’s loss to eliminate Army champion SHAPE 20-6 in Sunday morning’s losers-bracket final. The Lady Sabers, who got 3-for-3 performances from Angie Campbell and Sarena Paulson posted a six-run first inning to get the mercy-rule rout started.

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