ANSBACH, Germany - The Ansbach-Baumholder softball matchup was a lot more competitive than the baseball one Saturday.
The Cougars boys’ team outscored the Buccaneers 30-2 during their doubleheader Saturday, while Ansbach’s girls split their games against Bucs.
The Cougars played nearly flawless baseball, largely on the back of their pitching core that produced a no-hitter from pitcher Austin Benton.
Benton struck-out six batters and would have had a perfect game, if not for an errant pitch that sent a slightly-bruised Buc to first base.
He drove in three runs in that game alone and played a little infield defense, seemingly in an effort to let the rest of his team take it easy until game two.
He wasn’t the only Cougar to light up the scoreboard. Nearly every batter had at least one RBI and even first-time player Brandon Piccinini got in on the scoring, hitting his first home run in the bottom of the third. That game ended as a result of the courtesy rule, 17-0.
The second game looked for a moment that it was going to be somewhat of a closer contest, behind Bucs pitcher Taylor Moore. Moore out strong, but his pitches became more erratic as the game stretched on, leading to him being taken out early. The Cougars then went on to win 13-2.
The Cougars looked like they were ready to copy the boys’ success, as they easily won the first game of their softball doubleheader, 15-9. If it wasn’t for the persistence of the Bucs, the Cougars would have swept the entire day.
But the team rallied around Megan Brown, the sole pitcher for the Bucs, to pull off an unexpected win in the second game, 14-13.
The Cougars did fight hard in the second game, with Cheyenne Eckert and Melissa Fleming leading the offense. Fleming crushed a three-run homer into left field that caught the outfield napping, and even surprised her a little bit.
“I was shocked,” she said. “Then everybody was yelling and screaming. I was so excited.”
The closely contested victory was the first of the season for Baumholder, and the first win for many of the young players, many of whom stepped onto the diamond for the first time this year.
Breauna Kimbrough, the energetic first-year catcher, isn’t new to the game but had a day full of personal firsts. It was her first win as a catcher and her three-run homer in the fourth was the first of her young career.
“I felt like crying honestly,” she said. “I never even hit the ball into the outfield before.”
She credited the coaching of the Stacie Sais for the improvement in her game from last year. For her part, Sais is just happy the team pulled together after a disheartening loss.
“It’s a brand new team. We cut the tags off the gloves at the beginning of the season,” she said. “But today they showed they have the heart and the teamwork to succeed.”