Thirteen teen-agers from the Kaiserslautern, Heidelberg and Stuttgart military communities solidified their summer vacation plans by winning the 20-team SUMA Open baseball tournament April 14-17 in Prague.
Come August, the 13 will be playing in the Pony League World Series in Lafayette. Ind., according to longtime Stuttgart youth baseball volunteer coach Larry Tannenbaum, who organized and coached the team to its tournament championship.
Calling themselves the USA Ambassadors, the team claimed double-digit victories over teams from Austria, Belarus and the Czech Republic before prevailing in gut-check victories Sunday over Isreal, 2-1 in the quarterfinals, and Germany, 5-4 in the semis, Tannenbaum reported.
The Ambassadors made things easier on themselves in the championship game, pinning a 12-2 run-rule defeat on the Czech cadets national team to earn their World Series berth.
“It was 3-2 after two innings,” Tannenbaum wrote in an email about the title game, “and then we started to hit the ball everywhere. Everyone was hitting it…”
Tannenbaum reported that the aces of his pitching staff – All-Europeans Aaren Blossom and Ian Acosta of Kaiserslautern and Dylan Measells of Patch – carried most of the load during the tournament. He cited C.J. Kellogg, Dustin Labit, Justin Pendergrass and Jack Smith for playing outstanding defense behind his pitchers, and singled out the hitting of Acosta, Labit, Measells, Smith and Ryan Tannenbaum.