The NLB team opens its season with two home defeats against offensively strong Lucerne Eagles. However, the results belie the much tighter gameplay.
It took the Challengers a bit to get stamped in the 2023 season. When Patrick Zöllig, Thomas Blank and Florin Kampfer scored the first runs for the Challengers in the third inning, the guests from Central Switzerland led already by five runs. The Eagles also knew how to respond to Zurich’s comeback. In the fifth inning Marcell Pena Reyes delivered a two-run double to make it 7-3 and they answered Thomas Blank’s sac fly with two more runs to make it 9-4. In the last inning the father-son combination was successful. Adrian Kampfer brought home his son Florin with an RBI single for a final score of 5-9. The most successful batter of the Challengers was Andreas Rüdisühli with two hits, while Patrick Zöllig and Florin Kampfer scored two runs each.
The second game began much like the opener. The Eagles were productive from the start, so their seven runs in the fourth inning were offset by an RBI-single from Adrian Kampfer only. However, the Challengers got back into the game again. A two-run single by Adderly Sarmiento brought home Noam Blickenstorfer and Ryan Koley, and in the fifth inning Denyo Benz, Ryan Koley and Adrian Kampfer, after a sac fly by Kurt Kovac, made it 6-8. But the guests had a final bouquet ready. With four hits and two errors by the Challengers, they managed five runs in the sixth inning before things fell apart in the Challengers defense in the last round and the Eagles eventually won 26-11 with an incredible 13 runs in the last frame.