Team Ramstein takes gold in softball championship

by Master Sgt. Patrick Acre
3rd Air Force, A6 Communications Plans

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany ― The Ramstein men’s and women’s varsity team took home the gold Aug. 21 in the U.S. Forces Europe Softball Championships held at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.

The tourney took place from Aug. 18 to 21 and hosted 13 men’s teams from all over Europe: Aviano, Grafenwöhr, Spangdhalem, Stuttgart, Naples, Italy, Heidelberg, Schweinfurt, Incirlik, Kaiserslautern and Ramstein. This is the second largest men’s tournament of the year (largest was the 2011 Ramstein Renegade)
The men’s team started its journey to their back-to-back U.S. Forces Europe Championships Aug. 18 and continued to go 6-0 during the round robin/pool play. The double elimination tournament featured some great softball and the Rams really started showing their horns at this point. 

The Rams eventually met arch rivals the Aviano Dragons the morning of Aug. 21 and after an unusual slow start (trailing 1-4 in the top of the fourth) they rallied to score 16 in the bottom of the fourth and then won the game 34-17.

Ramstein eventually met up with the Dragons again in the championships held in the afternoon.  Aviano would jump out to an early lead in the first game only to have Ramstein battle back to take the lead.  Aviano then scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the first game of the championship.
“The finals were hard fought as we fully expected Aviano would come out guns a-blazin.’ This was the second time this season we had met in the finals of a tournament,” said Master Sgt. Patrick Acre, head coach for the Rams. “They had our number in the first game, but the endurance of the Rams was enough to hold off Aviano in the second.”

In the final game, Ramstein took an early lead and never looked back, winning 37-22. This victory for the Rams culminated a fantastic run over the past years: 130 total wins versus 7 total losses; 18-1 in tournament victories.

Standouts for the Ramstein team were: the overall tournament most valuable player, Airman 1st Class Marcus Flores with an impressive .813 batting average and seven home runs. Also recognized for their individual efforts as all U.S. Forces Europe players were: Master Sgt. Jason Acre with a .775 batting average and 10 home runs, Staff Sgt. Chris Pint with a .704 batting average and six home runs, Staff Sgt. Cody Spradlin with a .714 batting average and seven home runs, and Tom Yost with a .755 batting average and six home runs.

“We practiced three weeks straight on how to win the U.S. forces tournament and it showed on Sunday. These guys really wanted it,” Acre said.