Most top seeds survive to play into final day
May 22, 2015
The stage was set for a busy final day of the 2015 DODDS-Europe baseball season Friday as eight teams qualified for Saturday morning divisional semifinals.
Ramstein, Patch, Kaiserslautern and Vilseck make up the Division I final four; Bitburg, Rota, Ansbach and AFNORTH are the Division II/III semifinalists.
The winners of the semifinal games will play for their respective championships starting at 1:30 p.m. CET at Ramstein Southside Fitness Center.
Division IKaiserslautern 16, Wiesbaden 7: The offensive punch the Raiders have been waiting for all spring finally arrived at the best possible time.
Trailing by a run and with time running short, the Raiders unleashed a 12-run fourth inning barrage that buried the Warriors.
The outcome clinched semifinal berths for Kaiserslautern and Patch.
Junior Chris Lee hit a pair of singles for a total of three RBI in the decisive rally.
"The whole team was in the game, even in the dugout," Lee said. "We knew that we could score runs and hit, so we did."
Before its late game against Kaiserslautern, Patch coach Drake Marbury described the challenge in trying to "strategically use" his pitchers over a compact schedule including a Friday evening pool play finale and a Saturday morning semifinal as well as, potentially, the Saturday afternoon title game.
Marbury said he has a set of seven pitchers he can deploy, headlined by Andrew Buxkemper, Garrett Becker and Kohl Kraus.
"Definitely, when you play in a long tournament, the deeper the pitching staff the better," Marbury said.
Ramstein, Vilseck move on: The Royals' 11-2 evening win over Lakenheath completed a perfect run through pool play for the top-seeded reigning champions.
That result eliminated the Lancers and also sent Vilseck into the semis; the Falcons defeated Lakenheath 3-0 Thursday morning.
Division IIBitburg 9, Alconbury 0: The Barons locked up their semifinal berth while also clinching a Saturday spot for Rota.
Senior Andrew Bailey blasted a three-run double to the wall in left field to spark a big push for Bitburg. Bailey scored moments later on an errant pickoff throw to first, and the rout was on.
The third-seeded Barons have found success in the postseason by sticking to the same fundamentals they've adhered to all spring.
"We had a positive mindset," senior Dom Ferneding said. "We relaxed, we played the way we were supposed to and we got things done."
With the loss, Alconbury completed a day on which it experienced both the highs and lows associated with tournament play.
The Dragons stayed alive in the morning with a gritty 9-5 defeat of Aviano. Daniel Matthews and Nick Dufresne drove in two runs apiece as the Dragons broke a tie game open with a four-run fourth inning.
"We did have some mistakes, but we made up for it in the end," Matthews said of his team's win.
The Dragons' loss to Bitburg ended their tournament run as the Admirals and Barons advanced.
Three-way tie favors AFNORTH, Ansbach: The opposite small-school pool ended with AFNORTH, Ansbach and Sigonella tied with two wins and one loss apiece. The deadlock was settled by run differential in the games the three teams played against each other.
By that measure, Ansbach took the pool's top spot and AFNORTH slotted in second. Ansbach's 16-6 rout of Sigonella late Friday doomed the Jaguars to an early exit.