NLA Game 5, May 27, 01

Challengers 1010202693
Flyers 011133x9143
W: Siegel L: Räber

Challengers lose first game of the season 9-6 to Flyers

The Challengers lost their first game of the season in a rematch of last season's Playoff Finals against the Therwil Flyers on Sunday.

Patrick Zöllig lays down a perfect bunt in the 6th inning.
It was a perfect rematch as the game was close throughout seven innings, with the lead changing five times.

The Challengers scored first on a throwing error by shortstop Reto Siegel in the first inning.

But the Flyers scored their first run off starter Benny Räber in the bottom of the second inning on a run-scoring ground out by Karim Traore that scored Roy Allenspach who led off the inning with a triple to right field.

Thomas Landis' run-scoring ground out in the third gave his team the lead, but the Flyers tied it up again on player-coach Anthony Bennett's run-scoring ground out.

Stefan Koller was effective through 4+ innings, but ended up with a no-decision.
The Challengers were shut out by Stefan Koller in the top of the fourth, and the Flyers took the opportunity to go ahead in the bottom half of the inning on a wild pitch by Räber that enabled Djibril Traore to score from third.

Djibril Traore also reached on a triple, one of a total three triples hit by the Flyers off Räber.

But the Challengers again came back, scoring twice off reliever Siegel on Landis' RBI-single and a bases-loaded walk to Manny Marchant.

The Flyers answered with three runs of their own to take a 6-4 lead after five innings.

First baseman Eichenberger hit an RBI-double, and Djibril Traore capped the inning with a two-run single.

Tobi Siegrist had a team-high two hits.
Siegel then shut down the Challengers' offense, getting also some help from his defense with a double-play on Anubis Benitez' ground out.

The Flyers, on the other hand, continued to score in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Siegel singled and tried to steal second base. His jump was too early and Räber managed to step off to nail him at second base. What looked like an apparent easy play turned out to be fatal for the Challengers.

Second baseman Chris Palatinus couldn't hold on to the balll and was drilled in the face, forcing him to leave the game and getting his upper lip stitched in the hospital. He later returned for Game 2 and is day-to-day.

Siegel went on to score on Seppi Zwyer's double, and Bennett and Allenspach hit consecutive two-run singles with two outs for a commanding 9-4 lead.

The Challengers had a final shot to start a rally, and they did so by getting a double by Jose Valdez and three consecutive singles by Tobias Siegrist, Marchant and Jose Vazquez with just one out for two runs.

But with runners on the corners, Siegel retired Harry Bregy on a popup and got Patrick Zöllig looking at a third called strike to end the game.

Game notes
Benitez received his 50th walk of his NLA-career with the Challengers. ...The game lasted 2 hours and 30 minutes, the longest for the Challengers this season. ...The six runs scored by the Challengers were the fewest this season, and the fewest since losing 10-4 in Game 3 of last season's Playoff Finals to the Flyers.