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The Stuttgart Panthers continued their strong start to the spring on Saturday with a steady 6-4 victory over the defending champion Ramstein Royals.

The visiting Royals evened the series, and handed the Panthers their first loss, with a 5-4 comeback victory in the day’s second game.

A standout two-way effort from Stuttgart’s Chris Cheadle fueled the home team’s opening win. Cheadle posted 12 strikeouts in six innings to keep the Royal bats at bay and aided his own cause at the plate with a pair of hits and an RBI. The Royals scored three seventh-inning runs off the Panther bullpen in a rally that came up short.

The Royals launched a similar rally in the late game, and this one proved sufficient to earn the win. Ramstein plated two runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to complete a comeback from a 4-0 deficit. Tieran Shoffner earned the complete-game win and Reed Marshall produced two hits and two runs for the Royals.

The split doubleheader continued an early trend of equity in Division I baseball. The Royals have now lost twice this season after enjoying a winning streak that stretched over three seasons, placing them squarely among a crowded pack of contenders interested in dethroning the champs.

Wiesbaden 17/21,Hohenfels 2/0: At Hohenfels, the visiting Warriors improved to .500 with a pair of blowout defeats of the Tigers.

Gunner Yingling paced Wiesbaden throughout, earning the early victory on the mound and totaling five hits and six RBI over the doubleheader.

A 17-run outburst in the second inning of the late game emphatically ended the lopsided doubleheader.

Kaiserslautern 10/16, Ansbach 2/0: At Kaiserslautern, the Raiders made a delayed but successful on-field debut.

Kaiserslautern, a week after forfeiting a pair of games to Vilseck due to a variety of player availability issues, got into the literal and figurative swing of things with two thoroughly dominant wins over solid small-school program Ansbach. Nolan Sherman earned the early win and doubled in each game, while pitcher Matthew McKeag blanked the Cougars in the late game.

The Division I race intensifies further next weekend as Kaiserslautern faces Wiesbaden and Ramstein takes on Vilseck.

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