NLA Game 30, Sep. 28, 14

Challengers 200000012592
Flyers 00013011x6110
W: Croton, L. L: Byrne, R. S: Oshima, H.

Flyers edge Challengers 6-5 in Game 5, advance to Finals

For the third consecutive season, the Challengers got eliminated in the Semifinals, making it seven years in a row without a Finals berth for the C's.

The Series against the Therwil Flyers was as close as it gets, with Game 5 going down to the very final out.

The Challengers scored early but then surrendered the lead and trailed 6-3 before mounting one more big comeback in the final inning that fell one run short of tying it all up.

Trying to make things happen against Flyers starter Lukas Croton, the Challengers successfully did so by executing two double steals on consecutive 1st-&-3rd situations to go up 2-0 in the first inning without an RBI.

The Challengers put two more runners on in the second inning, but Croton escaped the jam thanks to a 6-4-3 double play.

In the meantime, Challenger starter Ryan Byrne kept the Flyers' bats in check, allowing only a single hit through the first three frames.

With one out in the fourth, David Castillo deposited a line drive over the short center field fence to cut the deficit in half.

But in the bottom of the fifth, things fell apart for Byrne. With one out and the bases loaded, he surrendered back-to-back walks to Emanuel Raouzeos and Castillo to give the Flyers the lead at 3-2.

Byrne managed to strike out Ianis Bouteloup for the second out, but another walk to Adrian Kaufmann extended the Flyers' lead to 4-2.

Byrne managed to finish the inning by retiring Takanobu Oshima on a weak liner to short, but that one horrible inning made his day. Tobias Siegrist took over on the mound and surrendered only one baserunner in the sixth on a throwing error by third baseman Saentis Zeller.

But Bouteloup came through in the seventh, hitting an RBI-double that plated Raouzeos with the Flyers' fifth run.

The Challengers answered back in the top of the eighth after Croton retired 14 of the last 16 batters he faced, and now faced reliever Hideori Oshima. Byrne and Siegrist drew back-to-back walks, and after a wild pitch, Amado Tabilis Tomas' run-scoring ground out pushed the Challengers' third run across.

But that was all the Challengers managed to produce in that inning.

The Flyers were quick to respond and saw Javier Rodriguez and Stefan Koller hit back-to-back doubles to regain a three-run advantage in the bottom of the eighth.

Trailing 6-3 with two out in the top of the ninth, the Challengers mounted one last comeback bid. Zeller laced a double down the right field line, his third hit of the game, to put two runners in scoring position. James Sanders followed with a soft flare to right center that dropped between center fielder Koller and newly substituted right fielder Gavin Guerrera, plating both runners and bringing the Challengers' hottest bat to the plate.

But Byrne grounded out to first baseman Sven Leemann for the final out, ending the Challengers' 2014 campaign.

Game & season notes
Byrne set a new Swiss single season record by striking out 182 batters, topping Severin Fries' mark of 180 set in 1999. He also set a new franchise high with 113 innings pitched. …Lowuin Sacramento finished the season with an ERA of 0.51, a new franchise record. Byrne's 2.47 and Sedin's 2.49 also rank in the top six on the all-time list. …The Challengers pitching staff posted a franchise record 2.69 ERA. The 319 strikeouts also best the Swiss mark set by the Challengers with 264 in 1999. Besides that, they also set a new record by allowing only 113 runs. …Six of the 10 best pitched games all-time have come this season, with Byrne's Game Score of 96 vs. the Lions on July 20, 2014 topping this year's performances. …Siegrist set new career lows with 12 runs scored and an OBP of .363. …Thomas Blank posted his best OBP since 2007 with .380. …Harry Bregy set a new career high with seven sacrifices. …Bryan Shemley tied the franchise high for hit-by-pitches with nine, set by Anubis Benitez in 1999. He caught 11 games, the most since catching 17 games in 1998. He ended his season going hitless in his last 14 at-bats, striking out seven times. He finished the season with a career worst .148 batting average.