NLA Baseball - Two wins against the Challengers
A long time ago (last Sunday), in a city far, far away (Zürich), the first-place Therwil Flyers battled the third-place Zürich Challengers. While both teams have claimed playoff-spots, the Flyers were in search of two more wins to get closer to grabbing the top seed for the semi-finals. The Challengers on the other hand, were hoping to pick up two wins to jump into 2nd place in the standings to avoid a one-game wild-card play-in scenario. Combine this with the longstanding rivalry between the two teams, and you're in for a great day of baseball!
The first game of the day featured a pitching matchup between Flyers lefty Hide Oshima and the veteran righty Andrea Girasole of the Challengers. The Flyers jumped out to a lead right off the bat, with Adrian Kaufmann reaching on an error and coming around to score on Taka "tortetop" Oshima's double. While lefty Oshima dominated the Challengers for the first few innings, the Flyers' offense continued to do what they have done all season - hit. Javier Rodriguez doubled in the 2nd and came around to score on consecutive hits by Sven Leemann and Sebastian Zwyer. They tacked on three more runs in the 3rd: new catcher Tyler Krobetzky led off with a 12-pitch walk and was followed quickly by a booming double off the bat of 3rd baseman David Castillo. Rafael Eigenmann then jumped all over a first-pitch fastball from Girasole to plate both base-runners and came around to score on another RBI-single by Zwyer. With the Flyers threatening to blow the game open, the Challengers offense responded by scoring three runs off of four singles and an error to close the gap to 5-3. The Flyers however, were up to the task. Eigenmann smacked a double to right-center to get things started. After a fly-out, Leemann added an RBI-double of his own and then scored on Zwyer's third RBI-single of the day. An RBI single from Krobetzky and RBI double from Castillo capped of the 6-run inning, giving the Flyers a commanding 11-3 lead. The Challengers got right back into the game in the 5th, scoring another three runs and trying to climb back into the game. They would creep even closer in the 7th, scoring another three runs off of Flyers' reliever Stefan Koller to close the gap to 11-9. That was as close as they would get, and after Castillo gave the boys in blue some insurance with a 415-foot three-run blast to left field, Koller closed out the game with an easy 9th inning to seal another Flyers' win.
After a well-earned lunch break, the two teams were back at it in the 2nd game of the day. This time the Flyers had lefty Connor Moriarty on the mound, while the Challengers countered with Sandy Patrone. Neither team scored in the 1st inning, though the Challengers came close. Robert Sedin tried to score all the way from 2nd on a wild pitch, but was tagged out by Krobetzky, who showed his cat-like reflexes. Fired up after an amazing defensive play, the Flyers quickly took the lead through singles by Stefan Koller and Edwin Hernandez. Once again, the Challengers almost scored in the 3rd inning, but left-fielder Hernandez wasn't having any of that, picking up an outfield assist at home. Once again, the Flyers turned brilliant defense into offense, scoring two runs in the 4th to go up 3-0. This time it was Leemann who reached base, before singles by Koller and Hernandez brought runners home. While the Challengers managed to score single runs in the 4th and 5th, Moriarty was in control throughout, striking out 9 hitters and enjoying his run-support. As we have become accustomed to, the Flyers' offense did not rest, continuing to pound out hit after hit and run after run to finish the game after 7 innings with a score of 12-2. Offensive highlights included triples by Castillo and Leemann in the 7th inning, causing there to be a short delay as oxygen masks were brought to both players who are not used to running so far at once. When the dust had settled, the Flyers had pounded out 20 hits in the game, lead by Krobetzky with four, Leemann and Hernandez with three apiece, and Koller, Castillo and the Oshima brothers who added two apiece.
The season continues on August 13th in Hünenberg against the last-place Wil Devils.