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CHALLENGERS NEWSLETTER 10/2013
SWISS NATIONAL TEAM TESTS
Bereits am vergangenen Wochenende durfte das Softballteam, zusammen mit den Luzern Eagles, die Schweizer Nationalmannschaft für die bevorstehende EM testen. Heute Abend wird die NLA - verstärkt durch die Barracudas - das Swiss National Team unter Leitung von Andy Fleischacker auf die Probe stellen. Und dies zur Abwechslung einmal bei schönem Wetter...
RECAP
AFTER SLOPPY PLAY COSTS NLB GAME ONE, CHALLENGERS REBOUND TO ROUT BARRACUDAS IN GAME TWO
Saturday June 8, 2013 - by Alex Gordon
The Zurich Barracudas were, at least to this writer, a somewhat surprising occupant of the NLB cellar, given the quality of their play in seasons past. Nonetheless, coming into their first set of games against the Challengers, the 'Cudas had yet to post a single victory, getting off to an 0-5 start. Perhaps feeling sorry for their co-tenants, the Challengers seemed to go out of their way in Game 1 to make sure that the Barracudas would get that first win.

Things get off to a rough start for Challengers' starter Dean Scherbaum, who gave up 3 runs in the first inning on 4 hits and 2 walks. The damage actually would have been worse had Barracudas' lead-off man Ueli von Burg not been caught taking too big of a turn at first base (credit catcher Yasuke Azuma for being in the right spot after the ball got past first baseman Oliver Bernet). The Challengers got one back in the bottom of the frame, as Daiki Sato walked, took second and then third on errors, and then scored on Kurt Kovac's RBI ground-out. NLB continued to chip away, getting runs in the second and third, to tie the game up at 3-3.

After a shaky start, Scherbaum was lights out over the next three innings, retiring 9 out of the next 10 batters after the first inning. In the bottom of the 4th, the Challengers took the lead on an RBI single by Azuma, which plated right fielder Renzo Falcone.

Having been given the lead, and after having cruised through the last three innings, things started to unravel for Scherbaum in the top of the 5th. With one out and a runner on first, Scherbaum induced a come-backer to the mound. Instead of starting a 1-6-3 double-play, however, Dean's throw was wild, pulling shortstop Kovac off the bag and allowing both runners to reach safely. Two batters later, three runs had scored and the Barracudas were back on top. Oli Christen came on in relief to record the final two outs, but the damage had been done.

The Challengers started to work on reducing the deficit in the bottom half of the inning, as Yoni Martinez drove in Kovac, who had singled leading off. After Martinez swiped second, the Challengers seemed poised for a big inning, but were done in by poor base-running. With a hit and run on, Martinez took off for third and made it easily despite a swing and miss by the batter. However, apparently believing that the umpires had called a foul ball, Martinez walked off third and headed back towards second base. In reality, no such call had been made, and Martinez was tagged out. After the next two batters went down swinging, NLB had missed a golden opportunity to creep closer.

Christen held the Barracudas scoreless in the top of the 6th, but the Challengers once again stepped on their own chances for a big inning. After Falcone and Azuma both reached base, and then pulled off a double steal, NLB was in prime position not just to tie the game, but to take the lead. Once again, it was not to be: with Gregory Zingg at the plate, Falcone made an ill-advised choice to try and score on a pitch that bounced a short distance away from the Barracudas' catcher. The ball was recovered in time to nail Falcone at the plate, who had chosen not to slide. After Zingg struck out, the Challengers faced the very real possibility of coming away with nothing after having had runners on second and third with no outs. When lead-off hitter Alex Gordon lofted a soft pop fly into foul territory near first base, that possibility nearly became reality.

Fortunately for the Challengers, the ball landed just out of the reach of the Barracudas' first baseman, giving Gordon new life. Apparently using his second chance to realize that he actually HAD played baseball before, and thus didn't need to try and swing the bat when his front foot was still in the air, Gordon lashed a double down the left-field line, scoring Azuma and tying the game at 6-6. After Sato walked, and Kovac reached on an error, the Challengers had the bases loaded and slugger Martinez coming to the plate. Oddly, the Barracudas issued a first-pitch intentional ball, apparently ready to give Martinez the Barry Bonds treatment (sans 'Roids). On the next pitch, however, Martinez popped up to second, and the inning was over.

Apparently drawing inspiration from their bizarre strategic approach in the last half-inning, the Barracudas decided to try something new in the top of the 7th. After two singles put runners on first and third with no one out, Barracuda batters started dropping squeeze bunts with spectacular success. While the tactic may have been rather bush-league, there's no denying that it worked. The tactic clearly messed with pitcher Christen who committed two errors in the inning. When the dust had settled, four runs had scored, and the Barracudas led 10-6. When the Challengers went down in order in the 7th - the only inning that NLB failed to score at least one run all day - the Barracudas had their long awaited victory.

In Game 2, the Barracudas seemed to pick up right where they left off. After a lead-off triple off starting pitcher Kovac, followed by a passed ball, the visitors were ahead 1-0. But it would be a long, long time before they scored again.

Center fielder Gordon led off with a walk, and reached second when Azuma's grounder was mishandled by the Barracuda shortstop. Following a Sac bunt by Kovac, Martinez drove in both runners with an RBI single, giving NLB a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the second, the Challengers managed to score another run, but nearly had much more. After the first four batters of the inning walked (with Falcone scoring on a bases-loaded passed ball), Azuma smashed a line drive that was unfortunately right at the third baseman. Unable to tell whether or not the ball had been caught (it had not been), the runners momentarily froze, which provided the Barracudas with enough time to turn a double-play by forcing the runners at home and then third. With two outs, Gordon and Azuna pulled off a double steal, putting runners on second and third, but Kovac flew out to right to end the inning.

The Challengers tacked on two more runs in the third, as sloppy Barracuda fielding allowed two runs to score. Key to the inning was a long Sac Fly by right fielder Falcone, which allowed runners to advance to second and third, and thus be in position to both score on the error. Meanwhile, Kovac was cruising on the mound, retiring 9 of the next 10 batters he faced after the lead-off triple, and ultimately 12 out of the next 15 over 5 dominant innings of work.

In the fourth inning, NLB finally decided to put the game away. After Gordon and Azuma led off with back-to-back singles, the Barracudas called for a reliever. Taking advantage of the new pitcher's "El Duque-esque" leg kick, Gordon and Azuma again pulled off a double steal, putting runners on second and third. Kovac drove in Gordon with an RBI single, and a double by Martinez plated both Azuma and Kovac. After Martinez scored on an error, and a Sac-Fly by Falcone scored Bernet (who had also reached on the aforementioned error), the Challengers had put up a 5-spot and the game was, for all intents and purposes, over. NLB added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth, with two scoring on a titanic double to the left-field wall by Martinez, to stretch the lead to 13-1. The Barracudas scored two meaningless runs off reliever Martinez in the top of the 6th, but they weren't enough to stave off a "Mercy Rule" defeat at the hands of the home team.

After the game, coach Rob Sedin was happy with the outcome of the second game, but still troubled by the effort his team had put forth in the first. On a day that woulda-coulda-shoulda been a sweep for the Challengers, one win didn't quite seem like enough. But NLB will take it, nonetheless.
LADIES "CHEAGLES" vs SWISS NATIONAL TEAM
Saturday June 8, 2013 - by Simona CellarPhoto Album
The Softball-Team played its part in the Swiss Nationalteam’s preparation for the European Championship in Prague. Combined with the Luzern Eagles they played two friendly games on Saturday, June 8 at Hünenberg. The "Cheagles" split: they won the first game 7-2 and lost the second game 1-4.
CADETS SPLIT IN DULLIKEN
Saturday June 8, 2013 - by Serge KuenzlerPhoto Album
Challengers Cadets in Dulliken
Photo by Truck Star Dulliken
The Challengers Junior Teams had another great weekend, as both the U15-Cadets and the U12-Juveniles ended up with a split. The U15-Cadets celebrated their second win of the season on Saturday, June 8 at Dulliken, as the SG TruckStar/Challengers posted 14-8 victory over the Luzern Eagles. In the second game of the day the SG was topped by the first placed Thun Hunters, as the so far unbeaten Hunters cruised to a 20-3 win.

Die Challengers Nachwuchsteams verbuchten ein erfolgreiches Wochenende, denn sowohl die U15-Cadets als auch die U12-Juveniles erreichten einen einen Split. Die U15-Cadets feierten ihren zweiten Saisonsieg am Samstag, 8. Juni in Dulliken, als die SG TruckStar/Challengers gegen die Luzern Eagles mit 14-8  siegten. Im zweiten Spiel des Tages gegen den Tabellenführer Thun Hunters setzte es hingegen eine Niederlage ab. Die noch ungeschlagenen Hunters gewannen deutlich mit 20-3.
SUCCESSFUL U12 IN HÃœNENBERG
Sunday June 9, 2013 - by Serge KuenzlerPhoto Album
The Challengers U12 in Hünenberg
Photo by Truck Star Dulliken
The U12-Juveniles remained at .500 after the second gameday of the season. The SG TruckStar/Challengers lost the opener on Sunday, June 9 against the Hünenberg Unicorns by a score of 7-17, but walked away with a 9-6 win over the Therwil Flyers to even its record at 2-2.

Die U12-Juveniles konnten auch am zweiten Spieltag der Saison ihre ausgeglichene Bilanz bewahren. Die SG TruckStar/Challengers unterlag am Sonntag, 9. Juni in der ersten Partie dem Gastgeber Hünenberg Unicorns mit 7-17, erzielte jedoch im zweiten Spiel einen 9-6 Erfolg gegen die Therwil Flyers.
GAME PREVIEWS
BASEBALL NLA NIGHTGAME
vs SWISS NATIONAL TEAM

Wednesday June 12, 2013 - 7pm Facebook Event
For the second time this year a team with players from the Zurich Barracudas and the Zurich Challengers will host the Swiss National Team for a friendly game at the Heerenschürli ballpark on Wednesday, June 12. The game starts at 7pm. The Swiss Baseball National Team is preparing for the Baseball European Championships B, which will take place from July 22 till 27 at the Heerenschürli ballpark in Zurich. Before the ECh the Swiss will play some more games to get ready for the tournament, as Switzerland will also take part at the 2nd Swiss International Alpine Cup from June 28 till 30 at the Heerenschürli.

Zum zweiten Mal in diesem Jahr empfängt ein Zürcher Team mit Spielern der Barracudas und der Challengers die Schweizer Nationalmannschaft zu einem Freundschaftsspiel im Baseballstadion Heerenschürli. Die Partie findet am Mittwoch, 12. Juni um 19.00 Uhr statt. Das Baseball Nationalteam bereitet sich derzeit auf die Baseball B-Europameisterschaften vor, die vom 22. bis 27. Juli im Heerenschürli über die Bühne gehen werden. Vor den Europameisterschaften stehen für die Schweiz noch weitere Vorbereitungsspiele auf dem Programm. Die Schweizer nehmen am 2. Swiss International Alpine Cup teil, der vom 28. bis 30. Juni im Heerenschürli stattfinden wird.
SOFTBALL NLA vs FLYERS
Sunday June 16, 2013 - 11am & 1.30pm Facebook Event
The Softball-Team will host the Therwil Flyers on Sunday, June 16 at the Klopstockwiese. In the past the games against their archrivals mostly brought out the best of the Challengers (3-5). On opening day the Flyers (5-1) swept the C's, but the young Challengers team kept the games wide open. The games start at 11am and 1.30 pm.

Das Softball-Team empfängt am Sonntag, 16. Juni die Therwil Flyers auf der Klopstockwiese. In der Vergangenheit wuchsen die Zürcherinnen in den Duellen gegen die Erzrivalinnen aus Basel immer wieder über sich hinaus. Auch zu Saisonbeginn, als die Flyers zweimal gewinnen konnten, vermochte das junge Challengers Team die Partien lange offen zu halten. Spielbeginn ist um 11.00 und 13.30 Uhr.
BASEBALL NLA at MUSTANGS
Sunday June 16, 2013 - 11am & 2pm
The Challengers will meet the Embrach Mustangs on Sunday, June 16 at Embrach. The third placed Challengers (7-2) will try to increase the gap to the fifth placed Mustangs (9-4). But for that the C's need to find back to winning ways, as the Challengers are waiting for a victory against the Mustangs for more than two years. The C's posted a 8-4 win on May 14, 2011 at Embrach. The Mustangs put away also this year's only game between the two teams, as the C's blew a two-run lead to eventually lose 4-6. The games start at 11am and 2pm at Embrach PZ Hard.

Die Challengers treffen am Sonntag, 16. Juni in Embrach auf die Mustangs. Die drittplatzierten Challengers werden versuchen, den Abstand auf die fünftplatzierten Mustangs zu vergrössern. Allerdings taten sich die Challengers gegen die Unterländer zuletzt oft schwer, liegt doch der letzte Sieg bereits über zwei Jahre zurück. Am 14. Mai 2011 gelang den Stadtzürchern auswärts ein 8-4 Erfolg. In dieser Saison duellierten sich die beiden Teams wetterbedingt erst einmal, als die Stadtzürcher trotz einer Führung mit zwei Runs letztlich mit 4-6 den Kürzeren zogen. Spielbeginn ist um 11.00 und 14.00 Uhr in Embrach PZ Hard.
BASEBALL NLB at CARDINALS
Sunday June 16, 2013 - 11am & 2pm
The NLB-Team will travel to the capital city, where the Challengers (5-5) will meet the first placed Bern Cardinals (9-1) on Sunday, June 16 at 11am and 2pm at Bern Allmend. The C's will try to keep up the good performance from the first encounter of the season against the Cards, as the C's were able to send the game into extra-innings.

Das NLB-Team reist am Sonntag, 16. Juni in die Bundeshauptstadt, wo sie um 11.00 und 14.00 Uhr auf der Allmend auf den Tabellenführer Bern Cardinals treffen. Die Challengers werden versuchen, an die gute Leistung aus dem Hinspiel anzuknüpfen, als sie den Leader in die Extra-Innings zwangen.
BASEBALL 1LIGA vs EAGLES at CARDINALS
Sunday June 16, 2013 - 10am & 3pm
One week before summer solstice the 1st League-Team will try to put its second gameday of the season into execution. After being rained out already three time the SG TruckStar/Challengers will face the Luzern Eagles and the Bern Cardinals on Sunday, June 16 at Dulliken. The games start at 10am and 3pm at Dulliken Untere Ey.

Eine Woche vor der Sommer Sonnenwende unternimmt das 1.Liga-Team erneut einen Versuch, das zweite Tagesturnier der Saison unter Dach und Fach zu bringen. Nachdem bereits drei Spieltage der SG TruckStar/Challengers abgesagt werden mussten, sieht der Spielplan vor, dass die SG am Sonntag, 16. Juni in Dulliken auf die Teams der Luzern Eagles und der Bern Cardinals treffen soll. Die Spiele beginnen um 10.00 und 15.00 Uhr in Dulliken Untere Ey.
BASEBALL CADETS at EAGLES vs HUNTERS
Saturday June 15, 2013 - 11am & 1.30pm
The U15-Cadets will take on the Cardinals/Frogs and Geneva on Saturday, June 15 at Bern. The games for the SG TruckStar/Challengers will start at 11am and 1.30pm at Bern Allmend.

Die U15-Cadets bestreiten ihren Spieltag am Samstag in Bern, wo sie auf die Spielgemeinschaft der Cardinals/Frogs und das Team aus Genf treffen wird. Spielbeginn für die SG TruckStar/Challengers ist um 11.00 und 13.30 Uhr.
NEWS
FITNESSABO ZU SONDERKONDITIONEN
Wednesday June 12, 2013 - by Thomas Blank
Dank einem neuen Partnervertrag mit dem Silhouette Fitnesscenter haben alle Challengers-Mitglieder ab sofort die Möglichkeit, vergünstigte Abonnements abzuschliessen. Beim Abschluss eines Halbjahresabos spart ihr 5% (475.- statt 499.-), bei einem Jahresabo sogar 12% (703.- statt 799.-). Meldet euch bei mir für weitere Details.
RESULTS
BASEBALL NLA
No games played

BASEBALL NLB
June 8 vs Barracudas
LOST 6-10, WON 13-3

BASEBALL 1. LIGA
No games played

SOFTBALL NLA
June 8 at Swiss National Team
WON 7-2, LOST 1-4

CADETS
June 8 at Eagles vs Hunters
WON 14-8, LOST 3-20

JUVENILES
June 9 at Unicorns vs Flyers
LOST 7-17, WON 9-6
NEXT GAMES
NLA NIGHTGAME
June 12 vs Swiss National Team

BASEBALL NLA
June 16 at Mustangs

BASEBALL NLB
June 16 at Cardinals

BASEBALL 1. LIGA
June 16 vs Eagles at Cardinals

SOFTBALL NLA
June 16 vs Flyers

CADETS
June 15 vs Cardinals / Frogs
at Geneva

JUVENILES

June 23 at Cardinals / Frogs vs Hünenberg
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