Ramstein, Rota, Wiesbaden claim softball titles
Stars and Stripes May 25, 2008
Ramstein, Rota and Wiesbaden captured their respective divisions Saturday in the DODDS-Europe Softball Tournament.
For the first two, the wins reaffirmed their dominance in the sport over the past decade. Wiesbaden, on the other hand, was just happy to get the better of Bitburg, a pre-tournament favorite.
"My heart was pounding the entire time," Wiesbaden third baseman Nancy Jensen said shortly after the last out.
Rota 5, Alconbury 2: Rota coach Johnny Cooley got a timely and much-appreciated gift on Saturday — his birthday — when his squad defeated Alconbury to take home the Small Schools crown.
"I told them there couldn’t be a better present," Cooley said.
Leading the way were center fielder Vanessa Frost and shortstop Bethany Walcott, who smacked a solo home run to left-center in the top of the second inning to break a scoreless tie. Walcott finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
"We played really well as a team," Walcott said. "We try to stay positive. Our motto is: ‘Park it in the parking lot.’ "
This is the third championship in four years for Rota, but it wasn’t easy. Half of last year’s squad left and new players, such as Walcott, a junior, were lacing up their spikes for the first time.
Additionally, Rota had to beat Alconbury in the morning in the final pool-play game just to get a chance at them in the title game.
"It’s a good feeling," Walcott said.
Wiesbaden 13, Bitburg 9: The Lady Warriors derailed Bitburg in the Division II final with timely hitting and a defense that bent but didn’t break.
"We were the underdog," Jensen said. "Nobody thought Wiesbaden would get this far."
Trailing 2-1, Wiesbaden exploded for seven runs in the top of the third when it sent 11 batters to the plate. Bitburg aided their opponent’s cause by committing costly fielding errors.
Keying the third-inning rally was Jensen, who smacked a 2-2 pitch into deep center for a triple. The hit scored two and broke a 2-2 tie.
Wiesbaden didn’t relinquish its lead, but things got tight at the end. Down 13-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Bitburg pushed across six runs and was threatening to cut the lead further.
With Ashley Chauvin on second, Bitburg cleanup hitter Amy Walls hit a rope to center. But the ball was caught, Chauvin got hung up between second and third and she was tagged for the final out of the inning and game, which ended because of a time limitation.
Ramstein 11-7, Lakenheath 2-5: Like Rota, Ramstein had to play its primary opponent twice on Saturday to win the Division I title. Lakenheath, the defending champ, had taken the first game of the best-of-three series on Friday and Ramstein needed to win a noontime game to keep its season alive. The Lady Royals won handily, setting up the winner-take-all final.
Ramstein jumped out early with five runs in the second, and then rode the arm of pitcher Maddie Byrd, the D-I MVP to victory. Byrd, who also pitched the first game, struck out four, walked four and scattered eight hits over seven innings.
"That was the most I pitched in one day in a long time," said Byrd as she greeted well-wishers on the infield.
One of the keys to Ramstein’s tournament run was the play of left fielder Karis Wadsack. Coach Kent Grosshuesch moved Wadsack from the bottom of the batting order to the second slot to add some offensive pop. He wasn’t disappointed.
"She was on base all day long," Grosshuesch said.
The title is the sixth for Ramstein since softball became a DODDS-Europe sport. Lakenheath has won the other four.
European championshipsRAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Late results Friday and Saturday from the 2008 European high school girls’ softball championships which ended Saturday.
Division IBest-of-3 championshipFriday Game 1Lakenheath 8, Ramstein 4Saturday Game 2 Ramstein 11, Lakenheath 2
Division IISaturdayChampionshipWiesbaden 13, Bitburg 9
Small schoolsFriday late round robinRota 13, AFNORTH 10AFNORTH 9, Baumholder 8Mannnheim 14, Vilseck 11Rota 7, Hohenfels 5SaturdayPool playRota 15, Alconbury 4Incirlik 17, AFNORTH 10Baumholder 8, Hohenfels 7Third placeHohenfels 7, Incirlik 5ChampionshipRota 5, Alconbury 2