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VICENZA, Italy – The Vicenza Cougars sent almost as many pitchers to the mound Saturday as they did runners across home plate.

If that doesn’t sound good, it wasn’t. Vicenza cycled through four pitchers in the first game and five in the second, but couldn’t stop the Naples Wildcats from rounding the bases. Naples took advantage of 19 walks Vicenza gave up. The Wildcats created their own opportunities as well with 11 singles, seven doubles and a triple by Joseph Pitts to earn two wins: 19-8 and 21-2. “We just don’t have the pitching for Naples,” Vicenza coach Mark Wilson said. Vicenza started out strong and through three innings it was tied 4-4 before things started to fall apart. “It was a tie game until the wheels fell off after the third inning,” Wilson said as he referenced the 10 errors his team made. “At one point the bases were loaded, with two outs, but we couldn’t close it.”

The errors were particularly frequent on the infield. It was just the opposite for the Naples’ infield, which made a series of plays. “We just have a very, very experienced core group of guys – with four seniors that have been here all four years,” Naples coach Duke Marlow said. In contrast to the opener, Naples came out strongly in the second game. Cycling through the lineup, the Wildcats hit four singles and one double, creating a 7-2 lead.

Pitching wasn’t the only factor Vicenza had to worry about today. Naples stole 18 bases in the second game, a handful of them being home plate. “It was a very wet baseball field today, which makes for a slow field,” Marlow said. ”We usually run faster.” Naples clinched the Southern Region’s regular season title with the sweep, improving to 10-0. Vicenza fell to 4-6 and Aviano and Sigonella are both 3-7 with only two games left.

Duhr.jason@stripes.com


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