Story and photos by Larry Reilly
USAG-Stuttgart Public affairs Office
The Stuttgart High School boy’s baseball team hosted the Vilseck Falcons for a doubleheader at Robinson Barracks, May 13.
The Panther’s offensive prowess scored double-digit runs against the Falcons on their way to taking both games, 15-2 and 12-6, respectively.
Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, commander, U.S. Africa Command, addressed the teams before the doubleheader and threw the first pitch.
“You’ll have some great experiences that you’ll never be able to replicate, especially in the situation when you’re playing (baseball) overseas,” Waldhauser said. “Whether you want to play ball in college or not, I think you’ll remember times like this with your family and friends here.”
When first game starting pitcher Chris Cheadle hit the pitcher’s mound and went into his patented pitching windup, he was nearly unhittable. He gave up no walks and no runs during the three-plus innings he pitched. His control of the fastball, curveball and sinkerball had eight Falcons shaking their heads as they headed back to the dugout, all Cheadle strikeout victims.
It wasn’t just solid pitching that has propelled the Panther’s to an 8-2 win/loss record this year, the team’s offense scored double-digit runs in nearly all of its wins and against Vilseck; the team scored double-digit runs long before the coach needed to be concerned with Cheadle’s pitch count. The second game was virtually a carbon copy of the first as the Panther’s recorded another double-digit win.
As is customary during the last home game of all high school sports, recognition was given to the seniors on the team prior to the second game.
“Between games, we recognized our four seniors: Chris Cheadle, Kale Hynes, Jordan Holifield and Dakota Tyner, who have all been very instrumental to the team’s success this year,” said Drake Marbury, Panther head coach.
With a doubleheader versus the Hohenfels Tigers on May 20 bringing an end to their regular season schedule, the Panthers look to do some fine-tuning in preparation for the upcoming European Championships in Ramstein/Kaiserslautern, May 25-27.
“Our goal is to develop our depth, and continue to improve our play so that we peak during the tournament,” Marbury said.
Coach Marbury believes the Panthers have the best pitching staff in DODEA Europe, and the player who knows that firsthand is the one on the receiving end of all the pitches – catcher Kale Hynes.
“We definitely have the best pitching staff of all the teams in DODEA,” said Kale
Hynes. “Throughout the year, each of our pitchers have gotten better and have great control of their pitches. Overall, I believe we have a great chance of taking the tournament, not only with our pitching staff, but also with the way the team is playing on defense and our ability to score runs.”
If the Panthers sweep the doubleheader in Hohenfels, they could enter the European Championships with a team firing on all cylinders, a 10-2 record and a strong favorite to bring home the Division I trophy.