NLA Baseball - Flyers sweep Eagles
Just one week after their first meeting, the Flyers and Luzern Eagles met again to finish off their season series. While the previous game day had been cold and rainy, this one dawned hot and sunny. With temperatures climbing above 30°C, the only happy person was Aussie Chris "I like tall girls" Horne, who finally felt at home in Switzerland for the first time. "I don't know why everyone was complaining about the heat", Horne said after the game, "It was a beautiful and warm spring day. I didn't even have to put sunscreen on. You Swiss people have no idea what real heat is like".
Advanced metrics provided by Swiss Statscast.
After struggling offensively for much of the previous two games, the Flyers took to the road determined to jump ahead early and give their starting pitcher Stefan "Kolli" Koller (2-0, 1.54 ERA) an early lead. They did just that, with lead-off hitter Adrian Kaufmann reaching on an error and stealing his way to 3rd base, before Javier Rodriguez knocked him in with a single to take a quick 1-0 lead just three hitters into the game. After another single, from recent college-graduate Rafael Eigenman, put two runners on, Jeremy "I am an American" Schreiber launched a three-run homer to deep left field. The exit velocity of 102mph was quite low, but the high temperature helped the ball carry an astounding 390 feet before it landed. Just like that, the Flyers had taken a 4 run lead into the bottom of the 1st, in which Koller had himself a 3-up-3-down inning to let the bats get back to work. The bats got back to work in the 2nd and never stopped until the game ended early due to a mercy-rule after the 6th. The offense was led by a mind-blowing six home runs by six different players in all six innings. Kaufmann had a 413-foot blast to dead center in the 2nd. One inning later, Sven Leemann led off with a 380-foot solo-shot to right center. "It was a first-pitch curveball" an excited Leemann said upon his return to the dugout "I've never hit one of those before". In the 4th, clean-up hitter David Castillo got in the act with a 399-foot, three-run blast of his own. The home-run in the 5th belonged to Horne, who's 405-foot shot easily cleared the fence in left. And finally, Eigenmann joined the party in the 6th with a line-drive home-run to right center (launch angle 15°) that ended up travelling 385 feet. Once the dust settled, the Flyers had scored 23 runs on 22 hits. This ended up being more than enough runs for Koller, who had to depart after 3.2 innings with an injury. Kaufmann took over on the mound in the 4th and closed out the game from there.
The previous week, the Flyers had started the 2nd game of the day slowly and had fallen behind early. With Horne (3-0, 3.10 ERA) on the mound again, they were determined to keep the offense rolling and jump out to a lead once again. After Kaufmann led off the game with a double, Rodriguez once again singled him home for a quick 1-0 lead. Castillo then extended his league-leading home-run total to four, with his 2nd blast of the day, a 382-foot shot to the opposite-field in right. Two hitters later, Schreiber made up for the low exit velocity on his first home-run of the day, crushing a pitch to deep left field that left his bat at 118.7mph to give his team an early 5-0 lead. Those five runs would be all Horne needed, going 8 innings with 10 strikeouts and only giving up 2 runs on 4 hits. That didn't matter to the Flyers offense though, as they continued their assault on Eagles pitching. Aided by the long ball, they tacked on run after run in almost every inning. Leemann picked up his 2nd homer of the day in the 6th. In the 8th, the Flyers hit their 10th and final home-run, as Horne added his 2nd of the day, a 370-foot pop-up that just barely cleared the shortest portion of the fence in right-center. With a 15-2 lead on 15 hits, the Flyers had Taka Oshima throw the final inning to finish up their season-sweep of the Eagles.
On the way home, coach Lukas Croton summed up the day: "It was amazing. I have never seen anything like this on any level in my 17 years of baseball. It seemed like every ball we hit in the air just kept carrying and went over the fence. It was a good confidence-boost and now we just have to keep it up at the Euro-Cup next week."
The Flyers, riding a 7-game winning streak now head to the Czech Republic to play in the Euro-Cup starting on June 7th.