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CHALLENGERS NEWSLETTER 29/2013
NLB-TEAM ENDS UP IN 2ND PLACE
Das war sie nun also - die Baseball und Softball Saison 2013. Das NLB-Team der Challengers unterlag am Samstag in der Belle um den NLB-Meistertitel dem Favoriten Bern Cardinals mit 4-17 und beendet die Saison im hervorragenden 2. Rang.

Die letzte Krone des Jahres wurde am Sonntag in der NLA vergeben. Die Bern Cardinals sicherten sich ihren neunten Schweizer Meistertitel mit 3-1 Siegen gegen die Embrach Mustangs.

Eine Medaille gewann auch die Sportanlage Heerenschürli. Diese wurde am Dienstag mit dem Award 2013 für beispielhafte Sport- und Freizeitanlagen des IOC/IAKS ausgezeichnet.

Und das war sie auch - die erste Saison des CBCZ Newsletters. Wie er euch gefallen hat, was ihr vermisst habt, was ihr gut oder schlecht gefunden habt: in der Umfrage könnt ihr eure Meinung kund tun. Schon jetzt vielen Dank fürs Feedback!

Euer CBCZ Newsletter Redaktionsteam
RECAP
C's LOSE GAME 3, CARDINALS WIN NLB-FINAL
Saturday October 19, 2013 - by Serge Kuenzler
The NLB-Team lost the deciding Game 3 of the NLB-Final series on Saturday, October 19 against the Bern Cardinals. After the Challengers took Game 1, the Cardinals turned things around by winning Game 2 and 3 to defend their NLB title.

The Cardinals built an early lead, while the C's fought strong, as they limited the deficit to five runs after seven frames to keep the hopes alive. But the Cardinals shut the door to eventually walk away with a 17-4 victory to win the crown.

The C's NLB-Team played its best season since 2002, as they won the last of their three Swiss Champion titles. After finishing the preeliminary round in third place, they beat the Therwil Flyers 2-1 in the semi-finals and were just one win away from winning the championship.
COME TOGETHER, RIGHT NOW: NLB C's SHOCK CARDINALS 14-3 IN GAME 1
Saturday October 12, 2013 - by Alex Gordon
Author's Note: Yeah, we all know now how the series ended, but let's take a moment to remember how well it began.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before but I HATE playing baseball in Bern. It's over an hour away from Zurich, the field is poor, and the bathrooms are at least 300 kilometers away (all distances approximate). Then of course there are the games themselves, which since at least 2010, have typically remained competitive for an average of 15 minutes. Basically, not only do I have to get up early and sit on the train for an hour, I then have to endure getting my ass kicked for two hours (or however long it takes for the mercy-rule threshold to be breached). Not to get too technical here, but playing against the Cardinals in Bern sucks.

Prior to last Saturday's (12 October) Game 1 of the NLB Finals, everything seemed set for another typical trip to Bern, only with crappier weather. Not only was it lightly raining, but it was FREEZING. Now, having grown up in the Northeastern United States, I'm perfectly used to cold weather...but this was ridiculous. Of course, not quite as ridiculous as what I saw when I arrived at the field, which was water everywhere. Actually, that part wasn't particularly ridiculous. What was ridiculous - at least in my humble opinion - were the measures being taken by the Bern team to prepare the field for play: Players were stationed at each base, and attempted to "bail out" the standing water with paper coffee cups. I'm not even kidding. Suffice to say, the process was not effective, although it did achieve a high ranking on the unintentional comedy scale (To be fair, the Cards did get the field in great shape, albeit an hour late and with the use of dirt and a wheelbarrow rather than coffee cups!).

The last time the two teams had met at Bern, things did not go well for the Challengers, but several key players, including Nick Lehmann and Yusuke Azuma, had been unable to play. While I was certainly not anticipating an easy (or even a difficult) victory, I was interested to see how things would play out when the Challengers were able to field a full roster. Starting on the mound for the Challengers would be the aforementioned Lehmann, who was in RARE form before the game. Now I'm not sure whether driving around in a van with two giant pictures of himself had finally forced him over the edge, or whether there was some other reason, but here's just a sample of some of the bits of knowledge Lehmann dropped on his teammates before the game: (Noting the presence of the Knie circus tents set up in an adjacent field): "Just imagine guys, if you had the biggest circus tent in the world here, and put it over this field, we could definitely play under it. I think that would be really interesting"; (Noting a worm on the ground) "Hey, somebody get that worm. That's totally our rally-worm.". These are all actual quotes, I'm not even kidding. Quite frankly, I don't even know what else to say.

Anyway, the Challengers' offense got off to a slow start against Bern starter Christoph Beyeler and his off-speed pitchers. Renzo Falcone had a two-out single in the top of the first, but was thrown out attempting to steal second. Really, the only reason for mentioning this at all is to note that Falcone actually SLID into second base. And here we all thought that he didn't know how! Poor base running by Bern helped Lehmann retire the side in order. After giving up a lead-off walk to shortstop Raciel Rodriguez, the next batter lifted a pop fly to shallow left that Kurt Kovac tracked down from his shortstop position. Rodriguez, a notoriously poor base-runner (at least in the games against the Challengers), was practically standing on second base when the ball landed in Kovac's glove, and was easily doubled off of first.

The Challengers threatened in the second, but failed to score: After Oliver Bernet reached on a one-out single to bring Alex Gordon to the plate, coach Rob Sedin flashed the bunt sign - a highly questionable decision given the sheer atrociousness of Gordon's bunting abilities (trust me, I would know). Naturally, Gordon bunted the ball directly back to the pitcher, who threw to second in time to nail Bernet (who hadn't exactly gotten much of a lead off of first, but still). Despite bunting into an out, there were some positive aspects to the play: Gordon is a much faster runner than Bernet (or at least he thinks he is), and, more crucially, Gordon also managed to avoid bunting into a double play (unlike the last time he tried to bunt in a night game against the Barracudas). Oddly focusing on the runner at first - despite there being two outs - Beyeler threw wildly over to first on a pick-off attempt, allowing Gordon to reach second. Two pitches later, Gordon was on third via a passed ball. However, Beyeler bounced back, retiring Daiki Sato, after making a great bare-handed pickup.

The Cardinals put up the game's first run in the top of the second, on a single, stolen base, and 2-out RBI by Beyeler, but the Challengers struck right back to tie things up - with a LOT of help from the Bern defense. With two outs and nobody on, Azuma hit a grounder to short, which was booted by Rodriguez for an error. Kovac followed with a grounder of his own, which Rodriguez again mishandled, putting runners on first and second. Two passed balls allowed Azuma to score, tying the game at 1-1, and sending Kovac to third, before Beyeler struck out Falcone to end the inning. Lehmann retired the Cardinals in order in the bottom of the third, with an assist from Azuma who nailed a runner trying to steal second for the third out.

Shoddy defense helped the Challengers put another run on the board, but it could have been more: Carlos Nepomuceno reached on yet another error by Rodriguez (his third in the last four batters), took second on an error by the first baseman, and then third on a wild pitch. Bernet then grounded into a fielder's choice to short, but Rodriguez's throw home was wild (his fourth error of the game), which allowed Nepomuceno to score and Bernet to reach second. After Gordon whiffed, Sato grounded into a fielder's choice (to I think the pitcher), which resulted in Bernet being tagged out by the third baseman for the second out. An error by the second-baseman on Michel Romang's grounder put runners on first and second, but Sato was picked off of second, because, well of course he was (I wouldn't be so obnoxious...I mean, of course I'd still be obnoxious about it but less so, if Sato hadn't been explicitly warned the pitch before not to take such a big lead). We may need to spend some more time on base-running drills in practice next year...just a thought.

The Cardinals knotted the score in the bottom of the inning. After a one-out single, Azuma's throw on a stolen base attempted skipped past Kovac and in to center-field, allowing the runner to reach third (in classic Spielplan.ch fashion, the error was charged to Sato at third base...who had absolutely no involvement in the play. Classic). An RBI-groundout brought the tying run home, before Lehmann recorded the third out.

After a scoreless top half of the 5th, the Cardinals had the bottom part of their order up against Lehmann, who had been cruising. After striking out the lead-off batter, however, Nick ran into major trouble: A walk to the number 8 batter, a HBP for the number 9 batter, and a single by Rodriguez loaded the bases with just one out, and nearly causing me to have a 'Nam-style flashback. When the next batter lined a shot that seemed headed to right-center, it looked like Bern was on tap for a big inning - right up to the moment when the ball found Nepomuceno, who snared the ball for one out, and stepped on second to double off the runner. Perhaps, today was going to be the Challengers' day after all...

The C's threatened in the top of the 6th, but were unable to break the tie. Nepomuceno led off with a single and then stole second. Then, with one out, Gordon flared a single into right-field, sending Nepomuceno to third. After Gordon stole second on the next pitch, the Challengers seemed poised to cash in (Just a quick note here: I don't know what I did to offend the official scorers at Bern, but somehow I managed to be the only player in any Challengers game I've seen so far, that didn't get credited with a steal on the 'ole "runners on first and third, guy on first runs but they don't throw through." Maybe the guy didn't start me in his NLB fantasy league and wanted to avoid losing the points, I don't know). Unfortunately for the C's, however, Beyeler struck out Sato and then Romang - both looking - to end the threat. Maybe it wasn't going to be our day...

Nope, I was wrong - definitely our day: Bern put the pressure right back on the Challengers with consecutive singles to start the inning. After the next batter - sporting a spectacular Amish-style beard by the way - flew out to Gordon in left (props here to Sedin for literally positioning Gordon in the exact spot where the ball was hit...I mean the EXACT spot), the Cardinals pulled off an apparent double steal, giving them runners on second and third with just one out. I say apparently, because the batter - whose swing hit Azuma on the follow-through - was called for interference. As a result, the lead runner was called out, and the trail runner was sent back to first. Just tremendous positioning there by Yusuke...he should consider getting hit by the bat in crucial situations more often!

After both teams failed to score in the 7th inning, the game moved to the 8th with the score tied at 2. Now at this point, to be perfectly honest, I was feeling pretty good about how things, if for no other reason than that in most of our other games in Bern, we were usually losing by about 52 after the third or fourth inning (all figures approximate). And it was about to get a whole lot better...

In what can only be described as an EXTREMELY positive development for the Challengers - and that's a major understatement right there - Beyeler did not come out to pitch the top of the 8th. Really at that point, they could've taken Beyeler out and put in Justin Verlander, and I would've been cool with it (primarily because I'm betting that Verlander still has Kate Upton's cell number, but still), but the relief pitcher was no Verlander -- in fact, NLB might've been a bit of a mismatch for this poor guy.

Nepomuceno led off with a walk - a soon to be common theme - and took second on a passed ball. Following walks to Bernet and Gordon, the Challengers had the bases loaded with no outs. Sato followed with a grounder to third that the third-baseman threw away for an error, allowing Nepomuceno to score. Bernet was tagged out at home trying to score from second, but Gordon moved up to third and Sato ended up at second. Romang followed with a single, scoring Gordon and sending Sato to third. After Romang stole second, Lehmann grounded back to the pitcher for the first out of the inning. On the throw to first, however, Sato broke for the plate. The return throw home sailed wide, as Sato dove safely head first into home, toppling the Bern catcher in the process, and leaving both players writing on the ground in pain (Romang took third on the play). Sato was able to remain in the game, but the Bern catcher was forced out with an apparent back injury (and his replacement was even more overwhelmed than the pitcher was, which is really saying something). After Romang scored on a passed ball, Azuma started the cycle all over again with a single over a bizzarely drawn-in infield (had the SS been playing at normal depth, the ball would have gone right to him and the inning would have been over). After Yusuke stole second, Kovac drove him in with a single, making the score 7-2 Challengers. Kovac then stole second and was himself driven in on a single by Falcone (who promptly stole second). Consecutive walks to Nepomuceno and Bernet loaded the bases with two outs for Gordon. With the count 2-2, Gordon lined a ball down the right-field line that appeared to land either on, or just to the right of the foul line, which the home plate umpire seemed to rule fair. All three runners scored as Bern looked on in confusion, thinking the ball had been foul. As it turned out, the ball was foul...the umpire just didn't know the difference between the hand signal for "foul" and the hand signal for "fair" (I mean, why would he have, right)? So the runners were sent back, and Gordon's at-bat resumed. After barely fouling off a high fast ball, Gordon went opposite field and dropped a single into right field. Falcone and Nepomuceno scored, and Bernet pulled into third. Sato grounded out to finally end the inning, but by the time the dust had cleared it was 10-2 Challengers.

Running out to left-field for the bottom of the 8th, I suddenly noticed that I was nervous...we really had a chance to beat the Cardinals! Bern started off the inning with a double, with a passed ball sending the runner to third, and an RBI-ground out made the score 10-3. The next batter absolutely crushed a line drive to left (I swear I could hear the ball screaming for mercy), but right at Gordon, who made the catch for the second out. Another line out to second base ended the inning.

Against the Cardinals offense, a seven-run lead didn't seem sufficient, so the C's bats got back to work.  With one out, Lehmann worked a walk, and, following a pop-out by Azuma, went to second on a single by Kovac. Falcone was drilled by a pitch, loading the bases for Nepomuceno, who walked, scoring Lehmann. Bernet followed with a grounder to short, which was - you guessed it - botched by Rodriguez for another error. Kovac scored, and the bases were loaded again for Gordon. With the count 2-1, Gordon (me) heard Romang (who was coaching first) yell out "do it for your son!". Well in that case... in a case of deja vu all over again, Gordon laced a line drive to right, scoring Falcone and Nepomuceno, with Bernet chugging into third. Gordon had a career high 4 RBIs, and the Challengers had a 14-3 lead over the mighty Cardinals.

As Lehmann took the hill for the bottom of the 9th, there were no more nerves. After quickly retiring the first two batters on strike outs, Lehmann allowed a meaningless single before getting the third out on - what else - a line out to Nepomuceno at second. And with that, the game was over, and the NLB Challengers had done the unthinkable: not just beating Bern on the road, but throttling them.

I'm not going to lie - I certainly hadn't expected it...and I'm pretty sure that no one else (on either side) had either. Staying competitive? Definitely. But winning, let alone blowing the Cardinals out on their own field? No way. In fact, I still can't believe it.

But it happened.
NEWS
CBCZ GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Wednesday October 23, 2013
The 34th General Assembly of the Challengers Baseball & Softball Club Zurich will take place on Sunday, December 1 2013 at 4pm at the Restaurant Linde Oberstrass (Universitätsstr. 91, 8006 Zurich; Tram 9 & 10 to Winkelriedstrasse). 
 

Die 34. ordentliche Generalversammlung des Challengers Baseball & Softball Clubs Zürich findet am Sonntag, 1. Dezember 2013 um 16.00 Uhr im Restaurant Linde Oberstrass (Universitätsstr. 91, 8006 Zürich; Tram 9 & 10 bis Winkelriedstrasse) statt.
UMFRAGE NEWSLETTER
Wednesday October 23, 2013
Die erste Saison des Challengers Newsletters geht zu Ende. Wir sind natürlich gespannt auf euer Feedback und würden uns daher freuen, wenn ihr an der kurzen Umfrage teilnehmen würdet.
HEERENSCHÜRLI GLÄNZT MIT MEDAILLE
Wednesday October 23, 2013 - by Stadt Zürich Hochbaudepartement
Sportanlage Heerenschürli erhält IOC/IAKS-Bronze-Award

Die Stadt Zürich als Bauherrin und das Planerteam Topotek 1 GmbH, Berlin (Landschaftsarchitektur) mit Dürig AG Architekten ETH SIA, Zürich (Architektur) wurden vom IOC/IAKS am 22. Oktober in Köln für die Sportanlage Heerenschürli mit dem Award 2013 für beispielhafte Sport- und Freizeitanlagen ausgezeichnet. Die Bronze-Medaille in der Kategorie B, Sportplätze und Outdoor-Anlagen, wird im Namen des Projektteams von Topotek 1 GmbH entgegengenommen.

Der IOC/IAKS Award wird vom Internationalen Olympischen Komitee (IOC) und der Internationalen Vereinigung Sport- und Freizeiteinrichtungen (IAKS) vergeben. Er bringt beispielhafte Bauten und Anlagen ins Blickfeld der Öffentlichkeit, denen es gelingt, die Faktoren Nachhaltigkeit und Vermächtnis, eine klare Funktionalität und eine aussergewöhnliche Architektur miteinander in Einklang zu bringen. Grundlegende Zielsetzung des Awards ist es, das Engagement der Menschen für Sport- und Freizeitaktivitäten zu unterstützen und ihren respektvollen Umgang mit der Umwelt durch den Entwurf, die Materialauswahl und Kreativität auszuzeichnen. Die Stadt Zürich, vertreten durch das Amt für Hochbauten und Grün Stadt Zürich, ist als Bauherrin gemeinsam mit dem Planerteam besonders stolz, mit dem IOC/IAKS Award einen der bedeutendsten internationalen Architekturpreise für Anlagen des Sports, der Freizeit und der Erholung entgegenzunehmen. Diese Auszeichnung bestärkt das Engagement der Stadt für eine sorgfältige Gestaltung von Freiräumen und Anlagen wie auch in ihrem Einsatz für eine qualitätsvolle Architektur, die die richtige Balance findet zwischen Funktionalität, Wirtschaftlichkeit und Ökologie. 

Sportanlage Heerenschürli

Die Sportanlage Heerenschürli wurde im August 2010 eröffnet. Sie gehört mit einer Fläche von über fünfzehn Hektaren zu den grössten Rasensportanlagen der Stadt Zürich. Die Sporteinrichtungen wurden auf zwei Dritteln der Anlagenfläche vollständig neu gebaut, ein zeitgemässes Garderobengebäude wurde erstellt und im neuen Werkhof von Grün Stadt Zürich sind die zahlreichen Material- und Gerätelager zusammengefasst. Durch die Neuordnung von Spielfeldern und Gebäuden konnten auf der bisherigen Fläche ein zusätzliches Fussballfeld und eine Baseballanlage mit Abmessungen nach internationalen Regeln realisiert werden. Die sechs neuen Kunstrasenplätze sind ganzjährig verfügbar und können bei jeder Witterung bespielt werden können. Dank grosszügiger Freiräume sowie der Freestyleanlage für Kinder und Jugendliche in unmittelbarer Nähe zum Gemeinschaftszentrum Hirzenbach dient die Anlage auch als Naherholungsraum.
EPILOGUE
Nun steh ich hier ich armer Spielmann
Und die Krähen auf den Bäumen
Sie lachen mich aus
Doch ein neuer Sommer
Wird den Winter vertreiben
Und ich will spielen, spielen, spielen
Ein Jahr mehr oder weniger
Was macht's?

In Extremo - Poc Vecem
RESULTS
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October 19 at Cardinals
LOST 4-17 

Cardinals win series 2-1
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