Big school powers to battle it out again
By MICHAEL S. DARNELL AND ERIC A. BROWN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 23, 2014
This article has been corrected.
RAMSTEIN, Germany – The stage is set for the 2014 DODDS European baseball finals Saturday, and some of the scenery is looking very familiar.
The storied rivalry between Ramstein and Patch will receive another chapter tomorrow, as the Royals and Panthers will meet in the Division I finals. The Royals rolled past the Kaiserslautern Raiders in their semifinal match, 13-3. Royal starting pitcher Kiefer Allen had five strikeouts in three innings, while third baseman Matt Sharpy had three hits and drove in three runs on the day.
The Panthers had a similarly dominant performance in their semifinal match with Wiesbaden, eventually earning an 11-2 victory.
The Warriors started the day off early, defeating Vilseck for the right to take on Patch at Pulaski Park later in the afternoon. The early game took a toll on the Warriors, but coach Steve Jewell offered up no excuses for their loss against Patch.
“We looked a little tired out there, our pitching wasn’t as deep as theirs. Defensively I thought they played hard, I thought we played hard. We just ran out of gas,” he said. “We used every bit of energy playing Vilseck this morning but it’s not an excuse. Hats off to Patch, they played very well.”
The Panthers go on to face the Royals in the finals for the fifth time in a row, with Ramstein as the defending champions. Patch won the title in the previous three meetings, so to say there is some bad blood between these two clubs is an understatement.
“We want to face Patch – 100 percent,” Sharpy said, after the Royals defeated the Raiders. “They’re our rivals and we know that to be the best, you got to beat the best. We’re going to come out hot and play our game. I’m confident in our ability to come out on top.”
While the Division I final is set in stone, the Division II finale will depend on who wins in the semifinals Saturday morning. SHAPE’s Spartans will take on the Vicenza Cougars and Naples Wildcats will face down the Ansbach Cougars.
Vicenza tore through the tournament, winning every game in a landslide, 4-1, 14-3, 12-6 and 7-2. The closest game, their first of the tournament, was against Ansbach. If the stars align, the Division II finale could be either the Cougars versus the Cougars or Italy versus Italy, and that would suit Vicenza head coach Mark Wilson just fine.
“Ansbach gave us our toughest competition,” he said. “But Italian baseball is well represented, and isn’t to be overlooked.”
Division I finals are scheduled for 1:30 p.m., while the Division II finals are scheduled for 3:30 p.m., both at the Ramstein Southside Fitness Center fields.
Vicenza's Louis Veazey and Matt Stitzel were not correctly identified in a photo caption in an earlier version of this article.