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European edition, Saturday, May 19, 2007

RAMSTEN AIR BASE, Germany — Lakenheath and Ramstein made sure they will remain the only teams to have won European Division I softball crowns with semifinal victories Friday.

Two-time defending D-I conference champ Lakenheath eliminated Wiesbaden 11-2 behind nine strikeouts from Rebecca Groff to move into Saturday’s 1 p.m. Big Schools title game.

It wasn’t as easy for four-time defending European D-I champion Ramstein. The Lady Royals needed an extra inning Friday to eliminate Patch 4-3.

Ramstein and Patch, with three-time All-European Kasy’e Lalau on the mound, were tied 3-3 after five innings when time expired.

Each team started the extra frame with a runner on second, and the Lady Royals pushed theirs across on Deb Diaz’s single in the top of the inning.

Lalau, who had homered earlier in the game, was the first Patch batter to bat in the bottom of the inning, and winning pitcher Kristin Burns induced her to line to left. She then retired the side in order.

“We were pitching her outside,” Ramstein catcher Lisa Domingo said of Lalau. “But one wasn’t far enough outside.”

Lalau was coming off a 1-0 no-hitter over Heidelberg on Thursday. It was her second no-hitter of the month — she blanked Wiesbaden on May 5. The game followed a six-hour rain delay that forced organizers to eliminate pool play and shorten the tournament’s format.

“Our defense was awesome,” Lalau said after her 16-up, 15-down, seven-strikeout performance against Heidelberg. “They stopped everything.”

Patch scored the game’s lone run in the first, cashing in on the only hit of the game surrendered by Heidelberg’s hard-luck starter Briann Joyner. Adele Roman led off with a single, took second on an error and scored on Lalau’s fielders-choice grounder.

Lalau lost her perfect-game bid in the fourth when her error allowed Heidelberg’s only base runner of the game.

In the four-team Small Schools event, unbeaten Incirlik claimed its second one-run win in as many days Friday with an 8-7 victory over London Central. It then romped past Alconbury 21-7 to reach Saturday’s 11 a.m. title game.

On Thursday, Incirlik, which has never won a European softball title, defeated four-time former champion Rota 12-11.

The Lady Admirals get another shot at Incirlik in the final, thanks to two thumpings, 12-4 against London Central and 15-2 over Alconbury, on Friday.

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