Softball-Team extends winning streak to nine

The softball players had a tough time against the Sissach Frogs, but narrowly defeated the Baselbieters twice. This means that the Challengers kept their winning streak alive.
Four weeks ago the Challengers celebrated two easy wins in Sissach. The Baselbieters have since strengthened their team with the addition of 22-year-old American Madison Johnson. She gave her team a lot of stability in defense and proved to be tough to crack in the second game as pitcher. But the home team had a hard time in the first game as well. In the third inning the Challengers took an 8-6 lead and managed to win early with four runs in the fifth inning to make it 14-7 thanks to the mercy rule. Isabelle Tan had two hits and three RBI, Carmen Lutz-Demetz scored two doubles, Leandra Simitovic and birthday girl Molly Mullens each scored two hits, while Tamara Ammeter and Amanda Marxer each contributed two RBI to the win. Ammeter gave up two runs, one hit and three walks in four innings with four strikeouts for the win.
Game two developed into a duel between the two defenses. The Challengers managed the maximum of five runs allowed by rule in the first inning, but then failed to score another run in six innings against Johnson. Carmen Lutz-Demetz and Lara Müller managed two doubles against the American, but ultimately the C’s had just four hits and struck out ten times. The fact that the Challengers still came away as winners was due to their excellent defense. The Frogs shortened the score to 4-5 in the third inning, but the Challengers defense around pitcher Leandra Simitovic prevented them from equalizing several times at the last minute. In the fifth inning, Simitovic and Isabelle Tan put Johnson out at home plate, in the sixth inning Lutz-Demetz and Simona Cellar erased a lead-off triple by Ramona Thommen with a spectacular double play and in the seventh inning center fielder Tamara Ammeter finished the game with a beautiful catch in right center with the tying run on second base, preserving the Challengers’ nine-game unbeaten streak. Leandra Simitovic was credited with the win by allowing just two runs, five hits and three walks in six innings, with three strikeouts.

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Softball home game on Sunday

The Softball-Team welcomes the Sissach Frogs on the Klopstockwiese on Sunday. The Baselbieters are in their third season since the team was founded and are noticeably improving from year to year. But the Challengers are trying to keep pace with the top duo Zurich Barracudas and Wittenbach Panthers with two wins. The game starts at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
For the 1st League-Team the journey goes east. The third team of the Challengers organization will meet the hosts Wittenbach Pirates at the Sonnenrain in Wittenbach at 10 a.m. before they will face the Zurich Eighters again at 12:30 p.m.
The U12-Juveniles also travel to the canton of St. Gallen. The youngest Challengers face the Wil Devils in the Wiler Lindenhof. The games start at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

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Softball-Team adds another two wins

The Softball-Team won twice on Saturday against the Bern Cardinals. The Challengers made up the difference in the third inning both times. They are now riding a seven game winning streak.
The guests from Bern made a bold appearance on Zurich’s Klopstockwiese, as the Cardinals kept getting nice hits in the gaps of the Zurich defense. However the Challengers were also in a good mood. The C’s had to rely on a number of former regulars due to a long list of injuries, but they fit seamlessly into the collective. The first game of the day was evenly matched until the third inning before the Challengers called it a difference. With six hits and three errors by the Cardinals the home team scored ten runs and turned a two-run deficit into a 16-8 lead and ultimately won 18-11.
Leandra Simitovic got her first win of the season. She gave up seven runs, five of them earned, seven hits and two walks in five innings with five strikeouts. Meanwhile, Carmen Lutz-Demetz led the offense with two doubles and two RBI, Leandra Simitovic and Tamara Ammeter each contributed two hits, while Lara Müller scored three runs and rookie Mrinalika Singh Dev had her first hit for the Challengers.
In Game 2, the Challengers also found themselves behind by a score of 6-8 in the third inning. This time they scored eight runs to make it 14-8 and in the fourth inning they sent the deal with another four runs to make it 18-8. Mia Matas shone with three hits, Tamara Ammeter provided four RBI, Carmen Lutz-Demetz and Anna Zgraggen each scored four runs and Lara Müller scored three again. In two weeks the Challengers will be hosting the Sissach Frogs at the Klopstockwiese.

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Busy weekend for the Challengers with all the teams in action

Next weekend all six Challengers teams will be in action. Four of them on Saturday, the NLB-Team and the U12-Juveniles on Sunday.
Three teams will play in Zurich on Saturday. The Softball-Team will welcome the Bern Cardinals on the Klopstockwiese in Zurich-Enge. The Challengers will try to maintain their winning streak, which has so far included five wins in a row. The games start at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The NLA-Team will play a preliminary round game in the newly designed Swiss Cup against the Zurich Barracudas’ NLB-Team at 2 p.m. at the Heerenschürli ballpark. The 1st League-Team will then play a night game at 6 p.m. in the Heerenschürli ballpark against the Zurich Eighters. This is finally the first game of the season for the 3rd team of the Challengers organization. Meanwhile, the U15-Cadets will host the SG Unicorns/Eagles at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in Embrach PZ Hard.
On Sunday the U12-Juveniles will be in action on the Klopstockwiese. The Challengers’ youngest team meets the Wil Devils in the top battle of the Eastern Group. The games start at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The first pitch in the cup match for the NLB-Team will also take place at 11 a.m. The second team faces the Emrbrach Mustangs in the Heerenschürli ballpark.

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Softball-Team wins fifth in a row

The Softball-Team collected two more wins against the Frogs in Sissach, so that the Challengers are riding a five game winning streak since the defeat in the opening game against the title holders Wittenbach Panthers. They are in second place in the standings with a 5-1 record.
The Challengers, who were severely weakened, got support from their neighbors Zurich Barracudas. The two talented young players Riona and Solana Lutz supported the Challengers in the Baselbiet. Thanks to strong performances in the pitcher’s circle, they got the two wins. This was also thanks to a solid defense, which played very confidently despite many changes. The C’s were only able to set a few accents on offense, but they remained patient at the plate and often got on base through walks, which they were regularly able to complete with successful runs. Finally the Challengers won 13-8 and 11-1.

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Derby weekend

Next weekend the local rivals Zurich Challengers and Zurich Barracudas will face each other four times in the Heerenschürli ballpark in Zurich-Schwamendingen. There are two games scheduled in the NLA on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon, while the NLB teams meet in a doubleheader on Saturday.
The NLA-Teams open the weekend with a night game on Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. No duel in Swiss baseball history has been as evenly matched as the Zurich local derby. In the past 30 years the two teams have met 139 times. The statistics show 70-69 wins in favor of the Challengers. And so far this season the duel is even at 1-1 after both teams clearly won one game on the opening weekend. The second game is scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m.
There will also be a clash between the Barracudas and the Challengers in the NLB. These games take place on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. And here too, both teams won one game each in the first meeting on the opening weekend.
The only team not involved in a local derby on the weekend is the Softball-Team. The women will meet the Sissach Frogs on Saturday. The games start at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in Sissach Tannbrunn.

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Ladies with strong offense

The Softball-Team wins its two home games against the Luzern Eagles. The Challengers know how to impress with their big roster depth, especially on offense.
It was hardly noticeable that several key players were not available for the Challengers. The experienced players gave the team stability and successfully guided the younger players through the game day. Coach Janni Micic was forced to make various changes. However the Challengers’ solutions proved to be successful. Carmen Lutz-Demetz acted as emergency pitcher and did not allow the guests’ offense to develop, while the Challengers themselves collected run after run on offense. The first game was therefore over after the minimum of three innings thanks to the mercy rule with the score of 20-5. Lutz-Demetz and Mia Matas each had two hits, Isabelle Tan, Lutz-Demetz and Molly Mullens added three RBI each, while Simone Zurschmitten and Amanda Marxer each contributed two RBI in the win.
In game two the home team had to fight more. The young Eagles team provided fierce resistance even after being in a 6-18 hole. In addition to that the Challengers defense no longer acted with the same security as in the first game of the day. Ultimately the home team prevailed 25-16 in five innings. Offensively the Zurich team was cruising. Six players collected two hits each, with Isabelle Tan, Carmen Lutz-Demetz and newcomer Lara Müller each delivering a triple. Tan amassed five RBI, Müller drove in four runs, Alexia Zingg and Amanda Marxer added three RBI each and Larissa Balsamo got on base twice with two walks and scored two runs in her first career plate appearances.
The Challengers showed a fine team performance and surprise with a great roster depth, which offers the coach alternatives and gives the team the certainty that they are extremely competitive even without a few key players. This is a nice development for the Challengers.

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Three homegames next weekend

Three Challengers teams will compete in a doubleheader on home soil the upcoming weekend. The Softball-Team and the NLA-Team play on Saturday, the NLB-Team does work on Sunday.
The women will welcome the Lucerne Eagles on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on the Klopstockwiese in Zurich-Enge. After the split against the reigning champions Wittenbach on Opening Day, the Challengers are clearly favorites against the young Eagles team.
Also on Saturday there will be a reprise of the last two finals of the Swiss Baseball Championship between the two arch-rivals Zurich Challengers and Therwil Flyers at the Heerenschürli ballpark in Zurich-Schwamendingen. The game starts at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. No duel has been played more often in Swiss baseball. In the last 30 years, the two teams have met 164 times, with the Flyers clearly ahead with 101 to 63 wins. On the other hand there is no team in the league that has won against the Flyers as often as the Challengers.
The NLB-Team meets the Hünenberg Unicorns on Sunday. The games start at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Heerenschürli ballpark. While the Zurich team won Game 1 in a split in the local derby on Opening Day, the Unicorns are still waiting for their first win of the season after two home defeats against the Lucerne Eagles.

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Softball-Team defeats Swiss Champion

The Softball-Team is already making its first statement at the start of the season. In a rematch of the last three final series in Swiss softball, the Challengers split with the reigning champions Wittenbach Panthers. A 5-12 defeat in the first game was followed by a narrow 7-6 success in the afternoon.
The opening game went as expected. The Wittenbach Panthers took an lead early, extended it to 9-3 by the third inning and won 12-5 after five frames. The Challengers only managed four hits, while the defense, with seven errors, was not at the level to be able to endanger the guests from the eastern part of Switzerland. Carmen Lutz-Demetz and Simone Zurschmitten each had two RBI, while Leandra Simitovic and Anna Zgraggen recorded the other hits for the home team.
Game 2 looked different though. The Panthers took the lead again in the first inning, but this time the Challengers also found their way into the game straight away. Carmen Lutz-Demetz got her team on the scoreboard with an RBI-double, Leandra Simitovic followed with a sac fly and Alexia Zingg scored a hit in her comeback after an absence of a year and a half due to a knee injury. After three innings the game was tied at 5-5. In the fourth inning Mia Matas gave the home team the lead for the first time with a bases loaded walk and Anna Zgraggen followed with a sac bunt to make it 7-5. Challengers pitcher Karen Heimgartner gave the Panthers’ strong bats some trouble. The guests couldn’t do more than to cut the deficit to one run thanks to an RBI-double from Felicitas Schatton. This is also because Mia Matas took the wind out of the opponents’ sails in the sixth inning with a spectacular diving catch against Panthers team leader Kim Zehnder.
Heimgartner allowed just four hits, one run and three walks with ten strikeouts in six innings, while Carmen Lutz-Demetz, Simona Cellar and Simone Zurschmitten each had two hits. The only downside from the Challengers’ perspective was the loss of Marina Vaccaro Brüderli, who injured her knee in a tag play situation.

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Opening Weekend with six home games

The new baseball and softball season begins with the Opening Weekend. Challengers fans can enjoy six home games from Friday to Sunday.
It starts with the NLA-Team, which opens its mission to defend the Swiss championship title against their cross-town rivals Zurich Barracudas with a night game in the Heerenschürli ballpark on Friday, April 12th at 6:30 p.m. Game 2 of this two-game series will take place on Saturday, April 13th from 5:30 p.m. also in the Heerenschürli with the official Challengers Season Opening Party.
The Challengers Softball-Team will also start the new season on Saturday, April 13th. In a reprise of the last three final series in Swiss softball, the blue and red welcome the reigning Swiss Champions Wittenbach Panthers on the Klopstockwiese in Zurich-Enge. The games start at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The NLB-Team opens its season on Sunday, April 14th in the Heerenschürli ballpark. The greatly rejuvenated second team will face the Zurich Barracudas second team in the small city derby. The games start at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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