On a historic day when Swiss baseball turned over a new leaf the Challengers and the Zurich Barracudas opened their brand new Heerenschürli ballpark on Saturday, April 17.
There was no question that the main centerpiece of the day was the new ballpark, one that had first been talked about more than a decade ago. But the C’s managed to make sure that a sweep in a classical Zurich derby was a headline too.
Marco Visetti threw out the ceremonial first pitch and the crowd reserved a large ovation for him, before Challengers starter Thomas Burger opened the game. The first game was a worthy opener, as the Barracudas jumped out to an early 3-2 lead thanks to a pair of defensive miscues by the C’s, but a four-run eight inning turned things around for the C’s. The Barracudas answered with two runs of their own in the ninth, but reliever Tobias Siegrist sealed the 6-5 win for the Challengers with a strikeout with the tying run on third base.
Siegrist pitched 7 innings of relief, allowing two runs and six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts for his first win of the season.
Game 2 was all Challengers, as they cruised to a 11-0 win over the Barracudas. Playing coach Brian Hipps, who made his debut in blue and red, went 3-for-3 with a double and Farid Bekkali highlighted his first game with the C’s since 1995 with a triple, while James Sanders tossed seven magnificient innings, as he allowed six hits and two walks, while also striking out seven for a shutout win.