The Challengers defeated the Zurich Barracudas 11-9 in an exciting Zurich derby on Wednesday night and secured home advantage for the playoff semifinals. There the C’s will meet the Barracudas again.
However, the home team dressed in green got off to a better start. The Barracudas took a 3-0 lead in the first inning and held a 5-2 lead after four frames. But in the fifth inning the Challengers made a big turnaround. After a lead-off single by Leonel Sosa Marte, Carlos Nepomuceno made it 3-5 with what was already his third hit of the game. He set off a veritable avalanche. Patrick Maier brought his team up to 4-5 with an RBI single before Nick Siemers and Hayden Jung-Goldberg’s RBI’s turned the game around. But that wasn’t all. Regis Reinhard made it 7-5 with a double and Leonel Sosa Marte capped the inning with a 2-run double to make it 9-5.
But anyone who had thought that the game was over was way off the mark. Maybe one or the other thought so. But not Livio Bundi. The Barracudas DH brought new life into his squad with a two-run homer in the second half of the fifth frame, and he even repeated the feat in the seventh inning to restart the game again at 9-9.
But the last exclamation point was set by the guests. Marco Limacher started the ninth inning with a walk and scored the go-ahead run on an RBI triple from Nick Siemers. And Siemers scored an insurance run after an RBI single from Regis Reinhard to make it 11-9. However, Luis Mateo Jimenez did not need one at all. The pitcher ended the game with three quick outs.
With the win the Challengers now have ten wins and four losses and can no longer be pushed out of second place. On Friday and Saturday night, the Challengers will meet the undisputed leaders Therwil Flyers twice at the Heerenschürli ballpark. The outcome of these two games does not change the fact that the next Zurich derby with the Barracudas will take place in the semi-finals.