SHAPE sweeps softball crowns
August 25, 2003
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — SHAPE’s women played small ball while the SHAPE men opted for long ball in the 2003 Army-Europe slow-pitch softball tournament.
In the end, both walked away with the titles.
SHAPE’s women parlayed 18 walks into a 16-8 championship-game victory over Kaiserslautern’s Lady Panthers, while Chris Ream’s walk-off extra inning home run led the SHAPE men to an 11-10 victory over Kaiserslautern.
SHAPE 11, Kaiserslautern 10
“It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever done that,” Reams said after connecting on the first pitch of the bottom of the eighth inning to give the SHAPE Outlaws their third straight Army-Europe crown.
Ream’s blast, his first homer of the season, was the fourth SHAPE home run of the afternoon. John Bell and Ernie Surber clubbed back-to-back solo shots in the first, and James Estes added a three-run shot to center field in SHAPE’s four-run fifth.
Estes’ shot helped bring SHAPE to within one, 10-9.
“That’s why they have me batting there,” he said of his clutch blast. “When they start walking those big guys in front of me, I have to step up and get the job done.”
Of those “big guys,” Surber was on base with his second of three intentional walks.
Walking Surber probably seemed like a no-brainer after his performance in the first inning. His solo homer cleared a 10-foot fence at the 313-foot mark, the street behind the fence and the Shoppette building across the street.
“I’ve never hit one that far here before,” Surber said.
Reams, who hits last in the SHAPE batting order, said he didn’t have any heroics in mind when he stepped to the plate in the eighth.
“I was just trying to get on,” he said, “and let [leadoff-hitter] Bryan [Greene] bring me around like the time before.”
K-town, which will return to this complex along with SHAPE in two weeks for the Army-Air Force Final Four, took a 10-5 lead with a six-run fifth fueled by Tommy Armstrong’s second homer of the afternoon.
SHAPE 16, Kaiserslautern 8
K-town starter Emily Murphy walked 11 of the first 24 batters she faced, and SHAPE accepted the gift, which eventually totaled 18 free passes.
“That’s the way the whole tournament went,” said SHAPE outfielder Dorothea Thompson. “We showed a lot of patience at the plate. Their pitchers were struggling, and our coach told us, ‘If she gives you a walk, take it. If she gives you something to hit, hit it.’”
Thompson followed instructions perfectly, walking twice and stroking three singles that drove in five runs.
SHAPE, which put the game away with a five-run fifth aided by seven bases-on-balls, also got three RBIs each from second baseman Erica Johnson and shortstop Pearlette Mourning.
Both teams qualified to represent the Army in the Final Four tournament here Sept. 5-7 against the top two teams from this week’s USAFE event in Aviano.
“We were second here last year,” Thompson said. “It feels great to win it.”