Two of Europe’s premier softball programs battled to a split Saturday in Geilenkirchen, Germany.
Previously unbeaten Ramstein downed previously unbeaten AFNORTH 13-6 in the opener; AFNORTH rallied in Game 2 for a 10-8 victory.
Unbeaten Katherine Enyeart picked up the victory in Game 1 as the Royals exploited 14 AFNORTH errors and mounted a 17-hit attack, according to AFNORTH coach Greg Blankenship.
Enyeart allowed eight hits and struck out two batters, and drove in three runs. Morgan Beal took the loss, which came despite two RBIs each by Ashley Fowler and Taylor Bonenclark.
Haley Haydon had four hits for Ramstein, which jumped on top early, thanks to seven first-inning errors.
“Ramstein is a tough team to control when you allow them on base,” Blankenship summarized, “because they put so much pressure on your catcher and infield to play perfect.”
In Game 2, which went the seven-inning distance, AFNORTH touched All-Europe pitcher Kelsey Freeman for 14 hits and cut their error total to just two. Ramstein, meanwhile, uncharacteristically committed 10 errors.
Rylee McKinney improved her record to 4-0 in spite of allowing 18 hits. McKinney was supported by three RBIs each from Madison Puckett and Grace Katzenson, two RBIs each by Bonenclark and Fowler, and a first-inning lead-off homer by Rachel Pagio.
“Long-time AFNORTH assistant coach Buddy Broadwater and AFNORTH pitching coach Jason Smith made critical team adjustments in Game 2,” Blankenship reported, “that led the young (AFNORTH) club to victory.”
The split left each team with a 7-1 overall record.