By Larry TannenbaumJuly 20, 2007
STUTTGART, Germany - After dropping their first game, the Stuttgart/Wiesbaden Bulldogs marched through the loser's bracket to win the Little League Germany District title.
The Bulldogs now will represent Germany in the Little League Baseball Transatlantic Regional Tournament being held in Kutno, Poland, July 23 to 29, with the winner earning a trip to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
In their opening tournament game against Kaiserslautern Military Community, the S/W Bulldogs claimed an early 3-1 lead behind strong pitching from Dylan Measells, who finished the game with nine strikeouts.
Bulldog fielding errors in the fourth and fifth innings, however, gave KMC a 7-3 lead going into the sixth. A late rally by the Bulldogs, with clutch hitting by Ryan Tannenbaum, Ben Carson and Roderick Bynum, closed the gap to 7-5, but still left them heading to the loser's bracket.
The next day had Stuttgart/Wiesbaden pounding out a 22-2 victory over Spangdahlem's Eifel team, with pitchers Chris Byrd and Ben Carson combining to hold the Reds to only two hits and two runs. A homerun by Tannenbaum and multiple hits and runs by C.J. Kellog, Kevin Perry, Tommy Cashman, Jack Smith, Jack Maccagnan and Connor Rinoski advanced the Bulldogs to their next game against Heidelberg/Mannheim.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early first inning 3-0 lead with back-to-back homeruns by Joe Patrick and Measells. Continuing their hit parade, S/W plated another five runs during the second inning off a homerun by Kellogg and runs scored by Bynum, Cashman and Smith. Bynum, the starting pitcher, also picked up the win, hurling five strikeouts and holding H/M to three hits and one run in the 11-1 victory.
The back-to-back wins earned the Bulldogs a rematch with an undefeated KMC squad.
Needing another victory to advance to the Transatlantic European Championship, the Bulldogs fell behind early, 1-0, with KMC pitcher Jared Ash holding the Bulldogs scoreless into the third inning, when S/W's Joe Patrick started a rally with a double to centerfield, scoring Bynum. The Bulldog charge continued with Chris Byrd hitting an RBI single to knot the score at 2-2.
The Bulldogs increased the lead to 4-2 in the fifth inning with Byrd's homerun. KMC, however, picked up two runs in the bottom of the fifth after hits by Taylor Portman, Ryan Smith and Jared Ash, tying the game 4-4.
Tannenbaum, pitching in relief, blanked KMC in the sixth inning thanks to clutch catches in deep centerfield by Ben Carson. With neither team scoring in the seventh, the extra-inning game continued into the eighth, when the Bulldogs took a six-run lead powered by Byrd's grand slam, his second homerun of the game.
KMC came back with two runs of their own, with Patrick then entering in relief with bases loaded and ending KMC's rally with back-to-back strikeouts and a forced fly ball for the final out.
The 10-6 win gave both the S/W Bulldogs and KMC one loss each, forcing an "if" game the next day, when KMC grabbed an early 4-0 lead and kept the Bulldog bats quiet with strong pitching by Portman.
The S/W Bulldogs came alive in the fourth with hits by Kellogg, Rinoski and Tommy Jackson, followed with a three-run shot by Patrick, his second round-tripper of the tournament, to take a 8-4 lead.
Going into the fifth, KMC loaded the bases, but Patrick relieved once again, killing the rally with a double play and strikeout to end the inning. In the sixth, Patrick shut down KMC with two strikeouts and forced a pop fly to end the game, earning the Bulldogs a trip to Poland - with hopes of the next stop being Williamsport.