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CHALLENGERS NEWSLETTER 5/2013
CHALLENGERS BESTREITEN GLEICH DREI HEIMSPIELE
Nachdem die Challengers am letzten Wochenende nur gerade eines von insgesamt acht Spielen für sich entscheiden konnten, haben sie am kommenden Weekend die Möglichkeit, vor heimischem Publikum ein Zeichen zu setzen. Die Jungs der NLA und die Ladies des Softball-Teams laufen am Samstag im Heerenschürli bzw. auf der Klopstockwiese auf, während am Sonntag das 1. Liga Team ihr allererstes Spiel auf dem Heerenschürli austragen werden.

Und auch nächste Woche steht ein Highlight auf dem Programm. Am Dienstag und Mittwoch finden die ersten beiden Nightgames statt, wobei die NLA auf den Stadtrivalen Barracudas trifft.
RECAP
CHALLENGERS SPLIT WITH EAGLES
Saturday May 4, 2013 - by Chris PalatinusPhoto Album
One week after sweeping the Therwil Flyers the Challengers (3-1) split with the Luzern Eagles (1-5) on Saturday, May 4 at Reussbühl. The C's recorded their third win of the season, as they cruised to 14-2 victory in Game 1. But the Eagles had the better end in Game 2, as pitcher James Chapman kept the Challengers under control, as the Eagles posted a 4-2 win.
 
The Challengers will face the Embrach Mustangs on Saturday, May 11 at the Heerenschürli ballpark. Game 1 Recap  -  Game 2 Recap
CARDINALS' BATS, GORDON'S ARRIVAL, DOOM CHALLENGERS
Sunday May 5, 2013 - by Alex Gordon
Baseball is a team sport. At the same time, teams are made up of individuals and sometimes individuals bear more or less responsibility for team performance. You never want to say that any one player is to blame when a team loses, but you never want to ignore cold hard facts either. When it comes to the Challengers' two games against defending NLB champs Bern, the facts are these: From 11am until about 1:30pm, the Zurich Challengers battled the Bern Cardinals to a 5-5 tie. From 1:30pm until 5:55pm, when Alex Gordon joined his teammates at the field, the Challengers were pummeled by a score of 22-4.
So again, I'm not saying that Gordon's mere presence is solely responsible for the Challengers losing two games. I'm just saying that the facts are the facts. Everyone is free to draw their own conclusions.

The opening game appeared to be an epic battle - I say “appeared” because, as indicated above, I was absent for the first 8 innings due to a previous engagement. Starter Dean Scherbaum actually had a no-hitter going for the first 5.1 innings, only allowing a walk to the first 14 batters he faced.

In the top of the 5th, back-to-back one-out doubles by the Cardinals chased Scherbaum, and cut the Challengers' lead to 2-1. Pitching in relief, Wascar Garcia was unable to match Scherbaum's effectiveness, giving up two walks, a single, and throwing three wild pitches without retiring a batter (said coach Rob Sedin later “maybe I pulled Dean a little too quickly”). By the time the Challengers were able to stop the bleeding, four more runs had scored, and the Cardinals led 5-2.

The Challengers got one back in the bottom half of the inning, as an error by the Cardinals' third baseman on Jesus Martinez's bases loaded grounder with two outs allowed a run to score (and also, so I was told, led Bern's normally mild-mannered Rick Schaller to completely lose his sh**…kinda wish I had been there to see that). Trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the 6th, NLB stormed back to tie the game on four consecutive singles (I'd give credit to those who knocked in the runs, but the score sheet is a bit on the undecipherable side, sorry).

From that point, it became a pitcher's duel, as Oli Christen, channeling pre-2013 Roy Halladay befuddled the Bern batters with a dazzling array of off-speed pitches. Christen was so effective, that even he wondered aloud whether he was “on drugs or something” (the results of his post-game urine-sample were still pending at the time that this article was written).

It remained 5-5 until the top of the 10th inning, when Christen - possibly due to Gordon's arrival - began channeling 2013 Roy Halladay and finally lost his edge. Seven runs and two relief pitchers later, it was 12-5 Cardinals, which is how the game ended. Nonetheless, it was an impressive performance by the Challengers against a team that had mercy-ruled them multiple in 2012.


The second game started off well for the Challengers, as they jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. Daiki Sato singled leading off, and took third on an errant pick-off throw by the Cardinals' pitcher. Kurt Kovac drove in Sato with an RBI single, and later scored himself on a two-out hit by Oliver Bernet. Bern tied things up in the top of the second, touching NLB starting pitcher Reyes for 2 runs on 3 singles.

The Cardinals handed the Challengers a gift run back in the bottom of the inning: Renzo Falcone reached first on an error, took second on a wild pitch and then third on a passed ball, and then scored when Sato's ground ball was mishandled by the Bern shortstop for another error. Unfortunately for NLB, the Cardinals came right back with two more runs in the top of the third, as a tiring Reyes gave up two walks and a single. Still, the score was only 4-3 Bern heading to the bottom of the third.

It remained that way through the fourth, although Bern threatened in the top of the inning before relief pitcher Kovac escaped with a runner on third (also escaping near disaster, centerfielder Gordon's face, which was almost obliterated by Reyes running out from shortstop to catch a shallow fly. Evidently he called me off in Spanish…I was only tuned in for English or German at the time).

In the top of the 5th, things started to go downhill for NLB, as Bern scored four times off of relievers Thomas Burger and Hendrix Kämpfer. Hits, walks, errors, wild pitches… anything that could go wrong for the Challengers in the late innings did, as the Cardinals scored 11 runs in the last three frames to put the game away. The best NLB could muster was one run in the 5th, as Kovac walked and scored on a passed ball, and some unintentional comedy when Gordon swung at a high outside pitch and nearly fouled the ball off of an unsuspecting Hendrix's skull in the dugout.

The Challengers will look to regroup next weekend against the Sissach Frogs, who took three out of four against Zurich last year. Defense will again be a concern, particularly as NLB will be without the services of Reyes and Martinez, who will have exhausted their B-league eligibility (unless of course, Reyes' wife heeds my pleas to lock him in the basement all of Saturday…just kidding…so far as you know).
TWO LOSSES BUT MANY POSITIVE SIGNS
Sunday May 5, 2013 - by Michel RomangPhoto Album
After their season opener was rained out, the Spielgemeinschaft Truck Star/Challengers started their adventures in the 1st league this weekend. The newly founded team played for the first time together and met the Bern Cardinals 3 and Lucerne Eagles 2 at the Bern Allmend. With the scores of 16-2 vs. Bern and 19-10 against Lucerne, both games were lost, but the SG showed that they are willing to compete.

For most of the players these games were the first they’ve ever played at this level. Therefore, there is a certain lack of experience and also a lack of automatism as the players haven’t trained together once.

These missing parts were obvious from the get-go against Bern. The first batter reached base after an error by the SG’s defense. The next batter hit the first pitch he saw over the fence for an early 2-0 lead. Those two runs were the lone runs Bern could get in the first inning. The SG threatened in their half inning with Torbjorn Olsen standing at third with just one out. But unfortunately he was stranded there. That was it for a while from the Truck Star/Challengers’ offense as Bern went on to score 14 more runs in the next 3 innings.

In the bottom of the 4th, the SG started a little 2-out rally and scored the first 2 runs of the season. Loud cheers were heard and high-fives exchanged. But when it was all said and done, the Cardinals won by a score of 16-2.

The second game vs. Lucerne showed two starting pitchers struggling to find the strike zone. This resulted in a lot of walks and runs, evidenced by a score of 4-3 for Lucerne after the first inning. The Truck Star/Challengers’ defense then broke down entirely. They were unable to record three outs without allowing 15 runs to cross home plate. The low point was a 2-out grand slam by Lucerne, which chased starter Ryan Koley off the mound. The young lefty probably hoped for a better outcome in his pitching debut.

After being down 19-3, the young SG showed great morale as they went on to score a combined 7 runs in the innings 3 and 4 – walks, smart base running and timely hitting was shown by the team. Unfortunately, the rally came too late as Lucerne went on to win 19-10. But silver linings were definitely visible and this makes the team feel confident for the upcoming games.


Nach dem verschobenen Saisonstart, konnte die Spielgemeinschaft Truck Star/Challengers erst dieses Wochenende in die 1. Liga-Meisterschaft eingreifen. Das neugegründete Team spielte zum ersten Mal zusammen und traf in Bern auf die Bern Cardinals 3 und das zweite Team der Luzern Eagles. Mit 16:2 gegen die Cardinals und 19:10 gegen die Eagles gingen zwar beide Spiele verloren, doch vor allem im zweiten Spiel zeigte die SG, dass sie in der 1. Liga keineswegs nur Kanonenfutter sein werden. [READ MORE]

Für die meisten Spieler der Spielgemeinschaft Truck Star/Challengers waren es die ersten Spiele bei den Grossen. Dementsprechend fehlt es noch an Erfahrung im Spiel und im Zusammenspiel der Teams, da vorher nie gemeinsam trainiert werden konnte.

Diese Unerfahrenheit zeigte sich dann auch gleich zu Beginn des Spiels gegen die Berner. Nachdem der erste Hitter durch einen Error an die erste Base gelang, schlug der folgende Hitter der Berner den nächsten Pitch gleich über den Zaun zur schnellen 2:0-Führung für die Cardinals. Bei diesen zwei Runs blieb es dann im ersten Inning. In ihrer Hälfte des ersten Innings kamen die Spieler der Truck Star/Challengers dem ersten Run nahe. Doch obwohl Torbjorn Olsen bei nur einem Out an der dritten Base stand, gelang es der SG nicht, einen Run zu erzielen. Dies schien den Spielern etwas den Zahn zu ziehen, denn in der Folge konnten die Cardinals 14 weitere Runs erzielen.
Erst im vierten Inning setze die SG zu einer kleinen 2-Out Rallye an und es gelangen die ersten beiden Runs des Teams, welche mit grossem Jubel gefeiert wurden. Dies änderte jedoch nichts daran, dass die Cardinals das Spiel schlussendlich deutlich mit 16:2 gewinnen konnten.

Das zweite Spiel gegen die Luzern Eagles 2 war zunächst ein Duell der Pitcher, welche etwas Mühe bekundeten die Strikezone zu treffen. Viele Walks waren die Folge. Nach dem ersten Inning stand es dann auch bereits 4:3 für die Eagles. Im zweiten Inning brach dann die gesamte Defensive der SG Truck Star/Challengers ein. Sie fanden kein Mittel, um die drei Outs zu erreichen. Die Eagles konnten so 15 Runs in einem Inning erzielen. Negativer Höhepunkt war sicherlich der 2-Out Grand Slam der Luzerner. Dies war dann auch für Starter Ryan Koley genug und er wurde ersetzt. Der junge Lefty hatte sich sein Pitching-Debüt sicherlich anders vorgestellt.

Im dritten Inning erwachte dann aber die Offense der SG wieder zum Leben. Dank einigen Walks, intelligentem Base Running und gutem Hitting konnten noch insgesamt 7 Runs erzielt werden. Die Aufholjagd kam jedoch zu spät und zum Schluss stand es 19:10 für die Eagles. Wäre dieses verflixte 15-Run Inning nicht gewesen - wer weiss. Nach dem zwischenzeitlichen 19:3 Rückstand bewies das Team jedoch Moral und hing sich nochmal voll rein – ein sehr positives Zeichen für die kommenden Spiele.
CADETS' SAISONSTART MISSLUNGEN
Saturday May 4, 2013 - by René Thommen
The U15-Cadets lost twice to open their season on Saturday, May 4 at Dulliken. The games against the Therwil Flyers have been rescheduled for Saturday, after a rainout two weeks ago. And it was all Flyers, as they won 15-1 and 18-1 against the SG TruckStar/Challengers.

Der Saisonstart der Cadets ist deutlich misslungen. Bei nasskaltem Wetter konnten die Therwil Flyers für ein Double Header empfangen werden. Die Baselbieter gingen gleich von Anfang an zur Sache und fertigten die Spielgemeinschaft Truck Star / Challengers gleich mit 15-1 ab. Nach einer kurzen Pause ging es im zweiten Spiel im gleichen Stil weiter. Die Einheimischen spielten viel zu zögerlich und ohne Biss. Phasenweise konnten sie ihr Können aufblitzen lassen, um es sofort wieder, dem Wetter nachahmend, hinter Wolken von Unvermögen verschwinden zu lassen. Während beim Warm-up die Bälle über das ganze Feld geschlagen wurden, fehlte dieser Exploit im Spiel gänzlich. Dementsprechend ging das zweite Spiel sogar mit 18-1 verloren.

Nur gerade je ein Base-Hit von Nick Theiler im ersten Spiel und Yannick Bolliger im zweiten Spiel brachten je einen Run von Marcel Zuberbühler im ersten und Markus Schenk im zweiten Spiel als Ausbeute ins Ziel. Die Therwil Flyers hingegen schlugen die Bälle nach belieben und konnten dadurch Run für Run scoren.

Die Spielgemeinschaft Truck Star / Challengers hat noch ein gutes Stück Arbeit vor sich, bevor sie am 25. Mai die Luzern Eagles und die Spielgemeinschaft Cardinals / Frogs empfangen können.
GAME PREVIEWS
NLA vs MUSTANGS
Saturday May 11, 2013 - 11am & 2pm Facebook Event
The NLA-Team will host the Embrach Mustangs on Saturday, May 11 at the Heerenschürli ballpark. After a 3-1 start into the 2013 campaign the Challengers will try to stay over .500, though they are waiting for a victory against the Mustangs for almost two years. The C's have won 27 of the 38 meetings between the two teams, but 7 of the Mustang's 11 wins came in the last two years.
The last victory for the Challengers was on May 14, 2011, as the C's posted a 8-4 win. The games start at 11 am and 2 pm at the Heerenschürli.

Das NLA-Team empfängt die Embrach Mustangs am Samstag, 11. Mai im Baseballstadion Heerenschürli. Nach drei Siegen aus vier Spielen zum Saisonstart werden die Challengers versuchen, die positive Bilanz weiter auszubauen. Jedoch warten die Stadtzürcher seit bald zwei Jahren auf einen Erfolg gegen die Mustangs. Zwar führen die Challengers im Allzeit Vergleich mit 27 zu 11 Siegen, die Unterländer feierten allerdings sieben dieser elf Erfolge in den vergangenen beiden Jahren. Der letzte Sieg der Challengers datiert vom 14. Mai 2011, als sie sich mit 8-4 durchsetzten. Die Spiele beginnen um 11.00 und 14.00 Uhr.
NLA NIGHTGAMES at BARRACUDAS
Tue & Wed May 14&15, 2013 - 7pm Facebook Event
The Zurich Barracudas and the Zurich Challengers will meet for the first night games of the 2013 campaign with a two-game series on Tuesday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 15 at the Heerenschürli ballpark. Since the rebuilding of the Heerenschürli in 2009 the night games between the two cross-town rivals belong to the highlights of the Zurich baseball season.
In 2012 the C's won three out of four games against the Barracudas. The games start at 7 pm on both days.

Die Zürich Barracudas und die Zürich Challengers bestreiten am Dienstag, 14. und Mittwoch, 15. Mail die ersten Night Games der Saison 2013. Seit dem Neubau der Sportanlage Heerenschürli vor vier Jahren gehören die Nightgames zwischen den beiden Stadtrivalen zu den Highlights der Zürcher Baseballsaison. Im vergangenen Jahr feierten die Challengers drei Erfolge in den vier Duellen gegen die Barracudas. Spielbeginn ist an beiden Tagen um 19.00 Uhr.
NLB at FROGS
Sunday May 12, 2013 - 11am & 2pm
The NLB-Team will travel to Sissach on Sunday, May 12, where the Challengers will face the Sissach Frogs. The C's will try to halt their four-game losing streak and reach the .500 mark with two wins against the third-placed Frogs. The games start at 11 am and 2 pm at Sissach Tannbrunn.

Das NLB-Team reist am Sonntag, 12. Mai nach Sissach, wo es auf die Frogs treffen wird. Die Challengers wollen die Negativserie von zuletzt vier Niederlagen de suite stoppen und ihre Saisonbilanz gegen die drittplatzierten Frogs wieder ausgleichen. Die Spiele starten um 11.00 und 14.00 Uhr in Sissach Tannbrunn.
SOFTBALL vs CARDINALS
Saturday May 11, 2013 - 11am & 1.30pmFacebook Event
The Softball-Team will take on the Bern Cardinals on Saturday, May 11 at the Klopstockwiese. After losing their first four games against the Therwil Flyers and the Luzern Eagles the Challengers will try to arrive in the winning column against the Cards. Newly acquired Macy Morgan will make her debut for the blue and red.
In 2012 the C's took three out of four games against Bern. The games begin at 11 am and 1.30 pm at the Klopstockwiese.

Das Softball-Team trifft am Samstag, 11. Mai auf der heimischen Klopstockwiese auf die Bern Cardinals. Nach vier Niederlagen gegen die favorisierten Therwil Flyers und Luzern Eagles werden die Challengers versuchen, gegen die Hauptstädterinnen zum ersten Saisonsieg zu kommen. Die neuverpflichtete Amerikanerin Macy Morgan wird am Samstag ihr Debut in blau rot geben. Vergangene Saison gewannen die Zürcherinnen drei von vier Spielen gegen Bern. Spielbeginn ist um 11.00 und 13.30 Uhr.
BASEBALL 1. LIGA at LIONS vs EIGHTERS
Sunday May 12, 2013 - 12.30pm & 3pmFacebook Event
The 1st League-Team will play its first games ever at the Heerenschürli ballpark on Sunday, May 12, as the SG TruckStar/Challengers will face the Zurich Lions and the Zurich Eighters. The games begin at 12.30 pm and 3 pm at the Heerenschürli.

Das 1.Liga-Team bestreitet am Sonntag, 12. Mai seine ersten Spiele im heimischen Baseballstadion Heerenschürli. Gegner bei der Heimpremiere der SG TruckStar/Challengers sind die Zürich Lions und die Zürich Eighters. Spielbeginn ist um 12.30 und 15.00 Uhr.
RESULTS
BASEBALL NLA
May 4 at Eagles
WON 14-2, LOST 2-4

BASEBALL NLB
May 5 vs Cardinals
LOST 5-12 and 4-15

BASEBALL 1. LIGA
May 5 at Bern
LOST 2-16 vs Cardinals
LOST 10-19 at Eagles

SOFTBALL NLA
No games played

CADETS
May 4 vs Flyers
LOST 1-15 and 1-18

JUVENILES
No games played
NEXT GAMES
BASEBALL NLA
May 11 vs Mustangs

NLA NIGHTGAMES
May 14 at Barracudas (7pm)
May 15 at Barracudas (7pm)

BASEBALL NLB
May 12 at Frogs

BASEBALL 1. LIGA
May 12 at Lions
vs Eighters


SOFTBALL NLA
May 11 vs Cardinals

CADETS
May 25 vs Flyers
at Cardinals/Frogs

JUVENILES

May 26 vs Bern
at Flyers
SPONSORS
Junioren-Förderung durch die Zürcher Kantonalbank
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