Vicenza set for finals after strong finish
VICENZA, Italy - The Vicenza Cougars are poised and ready for the postseason.
The Cougars, last year's Division II European runners-up, tuned up for another run at the crown Friday with a hit parade at the expense of the Aviano Saints. The prolific offense, coupled with a pair of fine pitching efforts, delivered 12-2 and 17-3 victories for the home team.
Louis Veazey led the Cougars' offensive efforts with a 7-for-7 showing at the plate and three doubles. Chris Gay went 5-for-7 with a double and a triple, while Austin Walker, Bryce Fisher and Matt Stitzel each went 4-for-7.
Stitzel also picked up a pitching win in the second game, scattering three hits and two walks across three innings while striking out six.
Teammate Ty Chatman tossed a two-hit gem in the opener, striking out eight in four innings of work.
The wins completed a four-game Cougar sweep of the Saints over the last week; Vicenza took a May 10 doubleheader by back-to-back 13-4 scores. The Cougars will enter the tournament at 8-4, with all of their losses coming to reigning Division II European champion Naples.
Patch 6/12, Wiesbaden 0/3: Saturday at Wiesbaden, the Panthers broke open a scoreless opener for a win and finished off the sweep.
The Panthers inched ahead in the first game with a fourth-inning run and piled on from there, adding two more scores in the fifth and three in the sixth for the shutout victory. Andrew Buxkemper struck out nine in a complete-game win for Patch, while Dylan Blackmon took the hard-luck loss for the Warriors. Andrew Almond, Ryan Marshall and Garrett Becker each went 2-for-3 for the Panthers.
Favored Patch won more decisively in the nightcap, building a 10-0 advantage.
Baumholder 13/17, Bitburg 7/6: Saturday at Baumholder, the Bucs ended their regular season on a four-game winning streak.
Taylor Moore hit a two-run home run in the third inning to spark a Baumholder comeback from an early 6-0 deficit in the afternoon's opener.
The Bucs scored six runs in the third and seven more in the fourth to pull away.
Moore picked up the pitching win and Kameron Moore swatted a two-run double to lead the offense in the nightcap.
Baumholder's second consecutive doubleheader sweep, including a May 3 conquest of Alconbury, gives the Bucs momentum despite an 0-8 start to the season.
SHAPE 2/16, AFNORTH 0/2: Saturday at Brunssum, Netherlands, the visiting Spartans followed up a nail-biting win with a blowout.
SHAPE hurler Clay Coon and AFNORTH counterpart Trent Weldons staged a masterful seven-inning pitching duel in the opener. Weldon struck out 12 Spartans and allowed just one hit; Coon yielded two hits and struck out eight.
SHAPE snuck the winning run across in the top of the seventh inning.
SHAPE's Chris Cheadle claimed the pitching win in the late game as the Spartan offense sprung to life.
Ramstein 10/13, Kaiserslautern 1/0: Friday at Kaiserslautern, the Raiders nearly blanked the rival Raiders in a doubleheader.
Royal pitchers Jonny Oswald and Kieffer Allen held the home team without an earned run on the day. Oswald yielded three hits and struck out nine across a six-inning shutout; Allen allowed two hits in four innings and struck out six.
Brennan Granger went 3-for-4 with two runs and 2 RBI in the opener, while Allen aided his own cause with a 2-for-2, four-RBI effort in the late game.
Vilseck 16/14, Hohenfels 2/9: Saturday at Vilseck, the Division I Falcons handled the Division II Tigers twice.
Vilseck enters the tournament at an even 6-6; Hohenfels has lost 10 straight games entering the playoffs.
Lakenheath 17/17, Alconbury 2/3: Saturday at Lakenheath, the Division I Lancers produced back-to-back 17-run explosions in a thorough sweep of the Division II Dragons.
Bailey Babineaux picked up the pitching win and Matt Brinker, Haden Hartman and Ben Ciero had multiple hits in the opener; Ciero hit a grand slam home run in the nightcap.