For the Patch Panthers’ baseball team, victory never tasted so sweet.
Patch High School beat longtime rival Ramstein 10-9 for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools Europe Division I Championship May 29 at Ramstein, topping off a perfect 22-0 season like a cherry on an ice cream sundae.
Dylan Measells, sophomore; team captain Cavan Cohoes, junior; and seniors Justin Phelps and P.J. Redmond were named to the All-European team.
It felt like “just desserts” for the Panthers, who lost the championship to the Ramstein Royals in 2008.
“They beat us by a home run,” recalled Shawn Phelps, head coach and father of the team’s star pitcher, Justin Phelps.
“It was even sweeter this time to come back and to beat them with a home run coming back at them,” he said.
It was no easy victory, either.
PHS started off slow, committing some crucial errors and giving up four runs to the Royals. By the bottom of the fifth, they trailed Ramstein 8-3.
However, the team didn’t quit.
During the fifth inning, sophomore Dylan Measells hit a single to left field. Justin Phelps followed with another.
When the bases were loaded, senior Ryan Brady hit a ground ball and Measells scored. C.J. Kellogg, sophomore, then hit a single to drive home Justin Phelps and Cohoes, bringing the score to 8-6.
“At 8-3 I lost hope — I was kinda upset. [Those hits] helped give me some momentum,” Redmond said.
In the sixth inning, Justin Phelps hit a single off the glove of Ramstein pitcher Tyler Breed, bringing sophomore Ryan Tannenbaum and Redmond home to tie the score at 8-8, according to Shawn Phelps.
Justin Phelps then stole third base and, two pitches later, Cohoes hit a home run, bringing the Panthers’ total to 10 runs.
“I knew we were about to come back with Justin and Cavan on the plate about to hit,” Redmond said.
The two batters hold the record for most career home runs at PHS: Justin Phelps with 11, and Cohoes with five, all of which he scored during his first season on the team this year. Phelps was also named All-Tournament MVP pitcher, and threw 159 pitches during the two days of finals.
Ramstein added one more run in the top of the seventh, bringing the score to 10-9, but stopped short of reclaiming the trophy.
“After two years of losing to them, we finally got what we deserved,” Justin Phelps said.
While the whole team contributed, the final victory was due largely to Cohoes’ role as captain, said Shawn Phelps.
Under Cohoes’ leadership, the Panthers hit 21 home runs this season, 16 more than its previous record, he added. Cohoes also set a single season record for assists (28).
“Baseball is my thing,” Cohoes said. “I want to play pro baseball someday, so I’m trying to work hard.”
Most importantly, he set an example for the team.
“He stayed after practice every day,” Shawn Phelps said. “That work ethic and desire is contagious.”
With Cohoes back for another year, along with All-European Measells, the Panthers now set their sights on 2011.
“I hope Cavan can lead [us] next year,” Measells said. “Hopefully, the younger players will step up.”