Ramstein sweeps Army/Air Force softball titles
The only team more dominating than the Ramstein men during the Army/Air Force final four softball championships was the Ramstein women.
Both teams swept through the three-day tournament matching the top two teams from USAFE and the top two from USAREUR without a loss. But the women did it with a bit more ease, outscoring their opposition by nearly 50 runs in six games of round-robin play and the double-elimination that followed.
The women finished off the tournament Sunday by beating Mannheim 20-9, while the men whipped Spangdahlem 29-16.
“I’ve been telling the team all year that they’re the best, and they should go out and prove it,” said Salomon Vieyra, the women’s coach.
On Sunday, they did. The Rams, who last week won the USAFE championship on the same fields on Aviano Air Base in Italy, broke open a 2-1 game with Mannheim, runner-up in the USAREUR tournament, by scoring 17 runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Andrea Byrd led Ramstein by going 3-for-5 and driving in nine runs. But she wasn’t the only one swinging a hot bat. April Ramirez was 5-for-5, Mandy Snyder and Nessa Burnett each had four hits and scored three times, and Anne Noll, who pitched the entire game, went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Noll, who hadn’t pitched all year, took the mound when the regular starting pitcher was unable to make the trip. She pitched in every game.
The Ramstein men, who lost 21-16 to Spangdahlem in the title game of the USAFE tournament on Tuesday, turned things around Sunday in a game shortened to 4½ innings by the run rule.
“We regrouped and came out hitting,” said Vieyra, who pitched for the men throughout the tournament when, he said, the Rams “decided to try something different” after the USAFE tourney and switched pitchers.
The game marked the seventh time in 10 days the two teams had faced off. Vieyra said every time the two play it is a tough game, but this time, in addition to hitting better, the Rams tightened up defensively to make things easier.
Ramstein slammed eight home runs, the maximum allowed per game. Shane Byrd had three of them, to go with 11 RBIs.
John Seben was 3-for-3 with two homers and seven RBIs, and Robert McLain was 4-for-4 with two homers, five RBIs and four runs scored. Mark Noll was 4-for-5 with the other homer.
Spangdahlem was led by Lenny Myers and Mike Kliss, each with two home runs, and Louie Kane, who went 3-for-4 with a homer and scored four times.