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CHALLENGERS NEWSLETTER 3/2013
SCHNEE VERMIEST SAISONAUFTAKT
Erneut spielte das Wetter am vergangenen Wochenende nicht mit und verunmöglichte den Saisonstart für das NLA- und das Cadets-Team. Einzig die NLB konnte ihre Spiele am Sonntag in Therwil bestreiten, wenn auch nicht mit dem gewünschten Ergebnis.

Am kommenden Wochenende werden die Softballerinnen wie auch die NLA ihren Home Opener gegen die Eagles am Samstag auf der Klopstockwiese respektive gegen die Flyers am Sonntag im Heerenschürli austragen.
RECAP
CHALLENGERS NLB WASHED AWAY BY FLYER'S PITCHING & POOR HITTING
Sunday April 21, 2013 - by Alex Gordon
After it snowed (yes, snowed. In April.) last Friday night in Zurich, the chances of the Challengers/Flyers games being played as scheduled on Sunday seemed rather slim. As it turned out, the weather cooperated sufficiently for the games to be played - although after their lackluster performance, the NLB team probably wishes it had kept snowing. Unable to generate much offense against the Therwil pitchers, the Challengers suffered their first losses of the season, by scores of 5-1 and 12-6.

In the first game, the Challengers had opportunities early on against the Therwil starter (who, due to a lack of Swiss pitchers on NLB was “visiting” from NLA), putting runners on second and third with one out in the top of the first, but failed to score. After the Flyers scored 3 runs in their half of the inning, the Challengers got one back in the top of the second. Carlos Nepomuceno drilled a ground-rule double off the fence in right center, and later scored on an error. After that, however, NLB didn’t even get another baserunner until the top of the 6th, when Eidrys Reyes reached on an error. Challengers’ starter Dean Scherbaum pitched well, allowing only 1 more earned run after the first inning but received no run support from his teammates.
 
The second game started out better for the Challengers, but ended with the same unhappy result. Adderly Sarmiento led off with a single, moved to second on a sac bunt by Reyes, and scored when the Flyers’ centerfielder dropped Jesus Martinez’s fly ball. NLB pushed its lead to 2-0 in the second. Clearly fearing his power, Nepomuceno was drilled in the back leading off the inning (somewhat oddly, however, he maintained a smile all the way down to first. Had it been me, I’d probably still be laying in the batters’ box sobbing, but anyway), and later scored on an RBI ground-out by Daiki Sato. 
 
The Flyers got one back in the bottom of the second as a tight strike zone (and by “tight”, I mean an inexplicable refusal by the umpire to call pitches that crossed the inside corner of the plate strikes) led starter Kurt Kovac to issue 4 walks in the inning. The damage could’ve been worse, but centerfielder Alex Gordon managed to corral a two-out drive to deep right to end the inning (despite nearly suffering a heart-attack when rightfielder Thomas Burger screamed “BACK!!!” right before the ball was caught).
 
In the third inning, the Challengers scored twice, but let a chance for a bigger inning slip through their fingers. Reyes led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a base hit by Kovac. After a stolen base and a walk to Martinez, NLB had runners on first and third with no one out, and Gordon coming to the plate. With the count 1-1, Gordon, mistakenly thinking he’d been given the sign to bunt, laid one down the first base line, but not far enough to get past the pitcher, who threw home in time to nail Kovac at home (for the record, yes, I went to Harvard, no I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to recognize the signs, leave me alone!! Anyone could forget about the “lock it in” sign...anyone!!!). Nepomuceno followed with a ground-rule double, scoring Martinez and sending Gordon to third. Unfortunately, he was stranded there as the next two batters went down looking on called third-strikes.
 
After that, things went downhill quickly for the Challengers. The Flyers put up 4 runs in the bottom of the third, as a tight strike-zone continued to fluster NLB pitchers. It didn’t get much better in the later innings either, as Therwil scored multiple runs in the 4th, 5th, and 6th. The Challengers managed to get 2 back in the top of the 7th, as Oliver Bernet’s single scored Martinez and rookie Renzo Falcone (who definitely missed the plate, but shhh, umpire didn’t see it), but that was as close as they would get.
 
The two losses did help provide the Challengers with the answer to an important question: “Does the NLB team need to practice in order to win”, with the answer being “yes, yes we do.” Due to inclement weather and a National Team exhibition last Wednesday, the Challengers didn’t get any practice time, which likely contributed somewhat to a relatively flat showing. With two weeks to prepare for the next game, against defending league champion Bern, there’s reason to believe that the Challengers will put on a better performance.
 
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not take the time to share the absolute highlight of the day, nay of the entire season: With two outs in the bottom of the 6th, the Flyers’ batter smashed a hard ground ball towards first. Before the ball could reach the outfield, however, firstbaseman Bernet, flashing the reflexes of a puma, smothered it, in the process, crashing to the ground as if he’d been hit by sniper fire. After what seemed like an eternity, during which time his teammates began to wonder whether he might actually be dead, the big man rose slowly to his feet, just in time to see the runner sprinting towards first. Demonstrating a “never say die” attitude, Bernet took off towards the base, determined to beat the runner to the bag (if one listened hard enough, one could almost hear the strains of “Chariots of Fire” in the background, but you really had to listen hard). Just when it seemed that all hope was lost, and the runner would be safe, Bernet flung himself towards first, crashing to the dirt as if harpooned, and just tagging the base with the very tip of his glove before the runner arrived. Then to top it all off, Bernet got to his knees and flung the ball as hard as he could into the netting that was set up in foul territory. Why?  For no apparent reason other than that it was AWESOME.
 
If they hope to knock off the mighty Cardinals on 5 May, the entire NLB team will need to sustain that kind of fire for two full games.
DEPARTURE IN 2013 SEASON POSTPONED
Saturday April 20, 2013 - by Serge Kuenzler
The NLA games between the Therwil Flyers and the Zurich Challengers scheduled for Saturday, April 20 at Therwil have been postponed due to snow. No make-up date has been announced so far. The Challengers will now open their season on Sunday, April 28 at the Heerenschürli ballpark, when they will take on the Flyers at home.
 
Die NLA Spiele vom Samstag, 20. April zwischen den Therwil Flyers und den Zürich Challengers mussten infolge Schneefalls abgesagt werden. Ein Nachholtermin wurde noch nicht bekannt gegeben. Somit werden die Challengers ihre Saison nun am Sonntag, 28. April im heimischen Baseballstadion Heerenschürli eröffnen, Gegner sind wiederum die Flyers.
CADETS GAMES CANCELLED
Saturday April 20, 2013 - by Serge Kuenzler
The U15-Cadets season opener between the SG TruckStar/Challengers and the Therwil Flyers scheduled for Sunday, April 21 at Dulliken has been canceled due to an unplayable field. A make-up date hasn't been announced so far. The next games for the SG TruckStar/Challengers are scheduled for Saturday, May 25 in a day tournament with the Luzern Eagles and the SG Cardinals/Frogs in Dulliken.
 
Die U15-Cadets Spiele der SG TruckStar/Challengers gegen die Therwil Flyers vom Sonntag, 21. April wurden abgesagt. Das Spielfeld in Dulliken ist aufgrund der ausgiebigen Regen- und Schneefälle der letzten Tage unbespielbar. Ein Nachholtermin wurde noch nicht festgelegt. Der nächste Einsatz der SG TruckStar/Challengers ist am Samstag, 25. Mai mit einem Tagesturnier gegen die Luzern Eagles und die SG Cardinals/Frogs in Dulliken.
GAME PREVIEWS
BASEBALL NLA vs FLYERS
Sunday April 28, 2013 - 11am & 2pmFacebook Event

After the season opener on April 20 has been rained out the Challengers (0-0) will start their 2013 campaign in front of their home crowd, as they will take on the Therwil Flyers (4-0) on Sunday, April 28 at the Heerenschürli ballpark. Last year’s season series was all Flyers, as they won all four games against the Challengers. The last win for the C’s over the Flyers came on June 26, 2011, as the C’s walked away with a 4-3 victory after extra innings. The games start at 11 am and 2 pm.

Nachdem der Saisonstart für die Challengers am vergangenen Samstag dem Wetter zum Opfer fiel, eröffnen die Zürcher die Saison nun vor heimischem Publikum. Die Challengers empfangen am Sonntag, 28. April die Therwil Flyers im Heerenschürli Stadion. Im vergangenen Jahr gewannen die Baselbieter alle vier Vergleiche mit den Zürchern, deren letzter Erfolg gegen die Flyers am 26. Juni 2011 zu Stande kam. Damals siegten die Challengers mit 4-3 nach Extra Innings. Spielbeginn ist um 11.00 und 14.00 Uhr.

SOFTBALL vs EAGLES 
Saturday April 27, 2013 - 11am & 1.30pmFacebook Event

The Softball-Team will host the reigning Swiss Champion Luzern Eagles on Saturday, April 27 at the Klopstockwiese. The Challengers home opener will be a rematch of the 2010 finals, as the Eagles won their first of now three consecutive titles. The C’s (0-2) lost their first two games of the season against the Therwil Flyers, while the Eagles will play their first games of the season. The games start at 11 am and 1.30 pm at the Klopstockwiese.

Das Softball-Team empfängt den amtierenden Schweizer Meister Luzern Eagles am Samstag, 27. April auf der Klopstockwiese. Die Saisoneröffnung in Zürich ist gleichzeitig eine Wiederauflage der Finalserie von 2010, als die Eagles den ersten von nun drei aufeinanderfolgenden Titeln gewannen. Die Challengers verloren zum Saisonauftakt zweimal gegen die Therwil Flyers, während die Eagles ihre ersten Spiele der Saison bestreiten. Spielbeginn ist um 11.00 und 13.30 Uhr auf der Klopstockwiese.

NEWS
MEET THE NEW CHALLENGERS
Wednesday April 24, 2013 - by Jen Montague
We are happy to introduce you to the newest members of our Softball squad: meet Ingrid, Henna, Jen, Ronja and Cheyenne.
 
YING-JUI HSU (AKA INGRID)
 
Ingrid is 29 years old and originally from Taiwan. Her Chinese name is 櫻瑞 (pronounced Ying-Jui, obviously).
 
Ingrid is possibly one of the most important new members of the Challengers softball team, because as she is currently doing a PhD study in Earth Sciences at ETH, she has agreed to give all Challengers advanced warning of any expected volcanic eruptions. Respect.
 
Baseball is the most popular sport in Taiwan, so it is only natural that Ingrid would gravitate to the sport back in her home country. Ingrid started playing softball as an undergraduate student back in Taiwan. After being introduced to the sport, she played for her university’s women’s softball team (mostly slowpitch), playing pitcher as well as other infield positions. She was a bit rusty when she arrived in Switzerland so in many ways is learning all over again.
 
Ingrid loves the teamwork involved in softball – particularly how everyone has a different position in the field but all are equally important. Additionally, the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC) finished in March and, as a massive baseball fan, Ingrid was really impressed and inspired.
 
Ingrid’s decision to join the Challengers came as most great decisions do – she was drunk at a party and met someone who introduced her to Leandra. And the rest, as they say, is history...
 
Ingrid says, “it’s a pleasure to join this team, improve my skills, and most importantly – enjoy all the training and games with the Challengers!”.
 
 
HENNA MÄÄTTÄ
 
Henna is 36 years old and originally from a tiny place in northern Finland called Oulunsalo. She has been living in Switzerland for 7 years.
 
Henna currently works in the IT Department of Credit Suisse as a Financial Controller and Portfolio Manager. She also drives a sweet Mustang.
 
Henna was actually scouted and recruited for the Challengers when she was spotted by Werner Zingg practicing Finnish baseball (pesäpallo) in her back garden on her own. She agreed to join the Challengers at first to see the differences between Finnish baseball and softball. Her other sporting hobbies include unihockey and kickboxing. Do not make her angry.
 
The best part of the Challengers, according to Henna, is the open and international team we have. She enjoys learning and every practice picks up something new. She hates jogging, so the fact that we don’t warm up by jogging for hours is also a bonus.
 
Henna is looking forward to improving her batting, adjusting to the larger sized softball, and learning the hand signals when she’s up at bat during the season.
 
Henna says, “I hope the team will have a good and successful season and I can support the team to win lots of games!. So do we Henna, so do we.
 
 
 
 
 
JEN MONTAGUE
 
Jen is 32 years old and originally from New York, then Boston in the USA. Before moving to Switzerland, she spent 12 years living and working in the UK.
 
Jen is currently one of Switzerland’s top dog walkers (although this statistic has yet to be confirmed) and is looking forward to fruitful employment of some description in the very near future.  Jen is also currently training to run the Jungfrau Marathon in September to raise money for charity.
 
Growing up in the USA with a father who is a softball coach, softball was always in Jen’s future. She played Little League from the age of 8, eventually playing  on the New York regional team (The Westchester Diamonds), and in high school, being named named All American in softball, basketball and field hockey many moons ago. When she moved to the UK, Jen joined the Brighton League team Hove Tuesday, a slowpitch mixed team who ended up being League Champions and coming third in all of the UK at the national slowpitch tournament in their second year of existence. Not bad when one considers beers were consumed before, during and after games regularly. It is very different to Switzerland. 
 
Jen came to the Challengers through volunteering with an ex-Challenger who introduced her to Leandra, and a beautiful friendship was formed. Jen really enjoys being a part of the lovely team and seeing how so many new players have joined and improved over the months. She’s really looking forward to an enjoyable summer playing softball and learning German.
 
 
RONJA WEBBER
 
Ronja is 18 years old and originally from Männedorf. She will soon be graduating from the Kantonsschule Küsnacht and moving on to study Health Sciences and Technology at ETH. 
 
Ronja was introduced to softball through her friend (and fellow newcomer), Cheyenne La Marr. They both played softball and baseball at school and really enjoyed it, so Cheyenne did a google search for softball clubs in Zürich and low and behold found the Challengers. Cheyenne started with the club first and eventually convinced Ronja to give it a shot – and here she is!
 
Ronja enjoys the fielding aspect of the sport so far – she originally found it a bit confusing but improves every day and is now regularly training at second base.  Her other favourite part about softball is the team – everyone is really nice, friendly and willing to help. Most importantly the team is patient with her and the other new players and really passionate about helping them improve in softball. 
 
Ronja’s personal softball goal is to not mess up in a game and not make any mistakes – especially not striking out by looking - AHEM! She would really like to score some runs for the team and is working hard to improve at every practice. 
 
Ronja says, “my goal with the whole team is to win, of course, and most importantly to have a lot of fun!”. BOOM.
 
 
CHEYENNE LA MARR
 
Cheyenne was born in Richterswil and moved to Männedorf when she was young. She is also 18 and in the same class as Ronja, also about to graduate.  She will be attending the University of Zürich to study English and Mathematics shortly.  
 
As with Ronja, Cheyenne played baseball and softball at school and really enjoyed it. She decided to google search on teams in Zürich where she could continue to play and came across the Challengers, eventually convincing her good friend Ronja to join, too. 
 
Cheyenne’s favourite part of softball is the batting and her favourite position is first base. She works really hard to improve at each and every practice and is looking forward to a fantastic and successful season with the Challengers.
RESULTS
BASEBALL NLA
April 20 at Flyers
Game ppd. rain

BASEBALL NLB
April 21 at Flyers
LOST 1-5 and 6-12

BASEBALL 1. LIGA
No games played

SOFTBALL NLA
No games played

CADETS
April 21 vs Flyers
Game ppd. rain

JUVENILES
No games played
NEXT GAMES
BASEBALL NLA
April 28 vs Flyers

BASEBALL NLB
May 5 vs Cardinals

BASEBALL 1. LIGA
May 5 at Eagles2
vs Cardinals3


SOFTBALL NLA
April 27 vs Eagles

CADETS
May 25 vs Flyers
at Cardinals/Frogs

JUVENILES

May 26 vs Bern
at Flyers
SPONSORS
Junioren-Förderung durch die Zürcher Kantonalbank
Contact us for more Information.
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Challengers Baseball & Softball Club Zürich
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