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RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The Kaiserslautern Military Community Patriots took what they hope is a first step toward next month’s Little League World Series with a 6-5 victory Monday over the Stuttgart-Wiesbaden Bulldogs.

Starting pitcher Joseph Sampson picked up the victory, and Tyrus DeWitt earned the save as the Patriots won Game 1 of the best-of-three German-American championship series. Game 2 is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday, and Game 3, if necessary, is 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The series’ winner earns the host’s role in next week’s Germany championship series against German champion Baden-Wuerttemberg for the right to represent Germany in the Little League European Regional tournament July 31-Aug. 9 in Kutno, Poland. The European champion advances to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Sampson struck out 10 and allowed just six hits and four runs, two of them unearned, in his 42/3 innings. He gave way to DeWitt leading 6-4 with two out and a runner on third.

DeWitt, who threw nothing but fastballs, ended the inning with the first of his three strikeouts in his 11/3 innings.

"The four-seam [fastball]," Sampson said when asked what his most effective pitch was on Monday. Sampson also had his curveball working.

"He got a couple of big outs on wicked curves," said KMC assistant coach Scott Neal.

Trailing 4-3 in the top of the fifth, KMC rallied for three runs on doubles off the fence in center by Aryan Von Eicken, Joshua Neal and Chase Morash. The blows chased Bulldogs’ starter Gavin Canady, who had held KMC to just two hits and struck out six in his first four innings.

"When I’m pitching, the whole game’s in my hands," Canady said generously after being victimized by three unearned runs in the early going. "I determine whether we win or lose."

The Bulldogs mounted a last-inning threat against DeWitt. Josh Beachnau lined a one-out triple off the right field fence, and Luke Wohlford plated him one out later with a Texas League single. But DeWitt induced Everrick Wright to ground out to end the game.

"The first couple of innings I was a little nervous," said Neal, a lefthander who’s scheduled to start Game 2, according to KMC manager Ed Prince. "But after we scored, I was pretty sure we’d get through."

Right-hander Kevin Perry is scheduled to start the must-win outing for the Bulldogs.


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