Stuttgart men, SHAPE women win Army Europe softball titles
Stars and Stripes August 21, 2006
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The 2006 Army Europe softball championships went down to the wire Sunday, for men and women.
Jody Hawkins hammered a 3-1 pitch over the fence in right-center to give the Stuttgart Stallions an 11-10 victory over the Kitzingen Rattlers in the men’s title game.
Caprice Walker’s line shot off the gloves of Heidelberg pitcher Mary King and second baseman Angelia Dansby in the bottom of the ninth delivered the SHAPE Outlaws a 16-15 victory over the defending champion Lady Generals in the women’s final.
Stuttgart men 11, Kitzingen 10“I was swinging for the fences,” Hawkins said after his two-run shot with none out in the bottom of the seventh inning handed the Stallions their third straight Army-Europe championship. “I don’t always swing for the fences, but if you get a pitch you like, you have to hit it.”
Hawkins’ blast followed a lead-off single by pitcher Mike Poe and brought the Stallions back from a 10-9 deficit.
Stuttgart took a 4-2 lead in the second on the strength of a grand slam by center fielder Doug Morse, but Kitzingen mounted four-run innings in the third and fourth to retake the lead.
Kitzingen’s Jacob Read, who went 4-for-4 with two triples, tripled home two runs in the third, and Jared Bosman hit a solo homer in the fourth. It was not enough, however, to deny Stuttgart another championship.
“Kitzingen’s tough,” said Morse, who’s played for all three Stallion title teams. “They’ve won our league the past three years. They beat us in the league and we beat them in the tournament.”
Next up for both teams is this weekend’s U.S. Forces Europe tournament, which will pit the Stallions and Rattlers against USAFE champion Ramstein and runner-up Spangdahlem. The tournament will be played Thursday through Sunday here.
“Our day’s coming against Big Blue,” Morse predicted. “I happy to have another chance to play with this great group of guys.”
SHAPE women 16, Heidelberg 15 (9)The Outlaws scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie it 11-11 and force extra innings, then loaded the bases with none out in the eighth, but scored only once to force another extra inning.
After Heidelberg scored four times in the top of the ninth, SHAPE opened with three straight singles to load the bases again. Shortstop Danielle Brooks tied the game again with a double to left that cleared the bases.
“I was nervous,” Brooks said, “I didn’t want to be the out.”
With the game tied and the winning run standing at second, Heidelberg walked Kay Delesin and elected to pitch to the dangerous Walker.
“I was just trying to hit the ball hard somewhere to bring the runner in from second,” said Walker, who earlier hit a three-run, inside-the-park home run.
Walker did just that, lining a shot back through the box which ricocheted off King’s glove and toward second baseman Dansby, who also was unable to haul it in. Brooks scampered home with the winning run.
Both teams advance to this week’s U.S. Forces Europe tournament here against USAFE champion Ramstein and runner-up Incirlik.
Although Walker said she’d like to win that one, this one was sweet.
“USAREUR’s the one that matters,” she said. “We finally beat Heidelberg.”