The Patch Panthers hope this season will end with a shot at reclaiming their lost Division I European championship. It started off in that direction on Saturday.
Patch travelled to Vilseck to open its season and took two wins from a tough Falcons team, earning a doubleheader sweep by scores of 6-3 and 11-3.
Thomas Schweighardt went 2-for-4 with a double in the opener for the Panthers; Ryan Marshall and Andrew Buxkemper each matched that line in the second game.
Vilseck held its own with Patch in the hitting and pitching departments, but a porous defense proved its demise. A combined total of 14 of the Panthers’ 17 runs were unearned, Falcon coach Dan Soulia reported.
Brad Patterson went 3-for-4 with two doubles in the late game, while Kurt Hall and Andrew Loveless totaled four hits and two doubles each on the day.
Naples 9/6, Vicenza 1/5: At Naples, Josh Weider scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the sixth to give the homestanding Wildcats a one-run win and a weekend sweep in a rematch of last year's Division II championship game.
Reigning champ Naples handed Vicenza a Friday whipping reminiscent of its title-game rout last May. But the Cougars were ready with a response come Saturday.
Ty Chatman and Levi Martin combined on a solid pitching effort to keep Vicenza close. A three-run frame in the top of the fifth pushed the Cougars briefly ahead before the Wildcats scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to pull even. Wieder's sixth-inning sprint from third base ultimately made the difference.
George Shaffer starred at the plate for the Wildcats, driving in five runs on the weekend.
Kaiserslautern 24/14, Baumholder 3/0: Saturday at Kaiserslautern, the Raiders blasted the overwhelmed Bucs.
Cameron Collums and Killian Knight registered pitching victories for the Raiders. Knight also ranked among the offensive standouts with a 3-for-4 second-game effort marked by a triple and four RBI. Elijah Martin went 3-for-3 with a triple and two RBI and Lukas Amrhein went 3-for-3 with a triple and an RBI in the opener.
Ramstein 21/26, Bitburg 3/2: Saturday at Bitburg, the defending Division I champion Royals routed the Division II Barons.
Robert Navarro went 2-for-3 with three runs and four RBI in the first game and Brennan Granger went 2-for-2 with three runs and three RBI in the nightcap.
The Royals will take a four-game season-opening winning streak into spring break; they’ll host Division I foe Lakenheath on April 26.
Ansbach 18/10, Wiesbaden 4/13: Friday at Ansbach, the Division II Cougars stunned the Division I Warriors before the visitors evened the score.
Some unfortunate fielding errors prevented Ansbach from recording the sweep. Wiesbaden scored 12 unearned runs in the second game, enough to outpace the still-prolific Ansbach offense.
Bailey Ward picked up the pitching victory for Ansbach in the opener.
Lakenheath 11-13, AFNORTH 6-2: Friday at Lakenheath, the Lancers opened their campaign with two solid wins over the visiting Lions.
The schedule quickly gets tougher for Lakenheath, last year’s third place finisher at the European tournament. The Lancers host Kaiserslautern on April 19 and visit Ramstein on April 26.