NLA Baseball - Flyers take two from Barracudas09.08.2018
On August 4th, with temperatures climbing past 35°C, the Flyers welcomed the league-leading Zürich Barracudas to Therwil. While first place was not up for grabs, the Flyers were looking to solidify their hold on 2nd place and get some payback for getting swept by the Barracudas earlier in the year. As always, advanced metrics are provided by Swiss-Statcast.
The Barracudas jumped out in the lead right away against Taka Oshima. A catchers' interference, followed by a double and a single gave them two quick runs to start the game. Not to be outdone, the Flyers got one of them right back in the bottom half of the inning when lead-off hitter Adrian "Toothpick" Kaufmann walked, stole second and came around to score on a pair of throwing errors. Both pitchers then traded zeroes in the 2nd, before the Flyers managed to tie the score at two-all in the 3rd on a pair of walks and an RBI single from Javier Rodriguez. The Barracudas then once again took the lead in the 4th, but the Flyers again rallied to tie the game at three-all in the following inning on a booming RBI double from Hide Oshima. The score would stay tied until the 7th, when the visitors once again jumped ahead 4-3. Then, in the bottom of the 7th, the Flyers finally made their move and took control of the game. Chris Horne led off the inning by getting plunked in the back. He was followed by Martin Novak who ripped a double down the left-field line which scored Horne all the way from first to tie the game. After Kaufmann singled to put runners on the corners, the Barracudas went to the bullpen. A double steal on the next pitch then gave the home team their first lead of the day. Rodriguez then followed with his 2nd RBI single of the game to score Kaufmann and give his team a 6-4 lead. With Taka Oshima grinding his way through the visiting line-up and keeping them off the board, the Flyers added an insurance run in the 8th to give themselves some breathing room. Down 7-4, the Barracudas rallied to make it interesting in the 9th, bringing the tying run to the plate, but Stefan Koller made a diving catch in left to kill the rally and help Oshima finish his complete game victory.
The Flyers sent Chris Horne to the mound in the 2nd game of the day to face Zürich lefty Evan Brisentine. This time it was the Flyers who struck first and often. In the 2nd, Koller lined a one-out double down the left field line and moved to third on a wild pitch. Micha Kratz then brought him home with an RBI groundout to give the home team an early 1-0 lead. The Flyers didn't let up at all as the game continued. With Horne dominating on the mound, the offense had lots of time to put together good at-bats and continue to add to their lead. In the 3rd, Kaufmann once again got a rally started. His single up the middle was followed by a walk to Hide Oshima. They then executed a perfect double steal to put runners on 2nd and 3rd for the hot-hitting Rodriguez. Once again he lined a pitch up the middle to score both runners and add to the Flyers' lead. A 3-0 lead with Horne on the mound seemed like more than enough, but Kaufmann wanted more. With a runner on 1st, he got hold of a fastball and hit it an estimated 265 feet to center field to add another two runs. With an exit velocity of 78mph, Kaufmann's shot will go down as both the shortest and weakest-hit home run since Swiss-Statcast was invented. However, it still counts as a home run. This was more than enough run support for Horne, who went 8 innings, only giving up one earned run and striking out 8 before giving way to Koller who closed out the 9th and the sweep.
The Flyers season continues on August 26th in Lausanne and then they close out the regular season at home against the Challengers on September 1st in Therwil.