Play begins on diamonds and heats up on second day
The 2019 DODEA-Europe baseball tournaments started and finished their preliminary rounds Thursday in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. From now on, it’s win or go home.
The new format for the three-day Division I and Division II/III tournaments includes just one day of pool play, which served to slot teams into Friday’s elimination rounds.
Eight teams from the nine-team Division I field advanced to the quarterfinals; the winners of those games will advance to semifinals.
The Ramstein Royals, the top seed entering the postseason, maintained that status with a pair of preliminary wins Thursday and will face winless Naples in one of four Friday Division I quarterfinals. Ramstein handled SHAPE and Vicenza by a combined margin of 34 runs in pool play.
Stuttgart grabbed the second seed in the tournament thanks to a 12-2 win over Naples and a 9-0 rout of Vilseck. The Panthers take on Kaiserslautern on Friday. Vilseck meets Wiesbaden and Lakenheath plays SHAPE in the other contests.
All six members of the Division II/III field will play in elimination games Friday, with the top finishers in each of the two three-team pools receiving byes to the Friday afternoon semifinals.
Aviano and Hohenfels earned byes in Division II/III, with Aviano following a close 8-7 defeat of Spangdahlem with a leisurely 24-1 romp past Ansbach, and Hohenfels dispatching Rota 9-3 and Sigonella 9-2. Those frontrunning teams are in the semifinals, where they’ll await the winners of two early Friday quarterfinal matchups: Rota vs. Sigonella and Spangdahlem vs. Ansbach.
Softball Unlike their baseball brethren, softball players are sticking to the traditional format of extended days of pool or round-robin play, so none of the nine teams entered in the nine teams in the DODEA-Europe Division I softball tournament were eliminated Thursday.
That could have happened in the four-team Pool A. But all four teams came away with a victory and a loss instead. Ramstein and Vicenza won both their games in Pool B and so are just a win away from advancing to Saturday’s semifinals. Lakenheath remains in the hunt at 1-1, but Kaiserslautern and SHAPE will need some help after losing both games Thursday.
The Division II/III field will take it one step further, playing round-robin games Saturday morning before holding the finals between the top two teams.
Top seeded Sigonella topped Alconbury 15-0 and Rota 6-4 to emerge 2-0. The Admirals, Spangdahlem, Hohenfels and Aviano all won once.