NLA Spiel 8, May 24, 97

Cardinals 003721215102
Challengers 3303003121212
W: Fries L: Brunner S: RZimmermann

Cardinals 15, Challengers 12

The second game of Saturday's doubleheader started much better than the first one, but ended much worse as the Challengers lost their first game against the Cardinals in four years.

The Challengers quickly led the score by pushing six runs over the plate on five base-on-balls, a passed ball, a wild pitch and a fielding error. This ended starter Kusano's day as he was relieved by first-game starter Fries in the second inning.

<aSaentis Zeller>
Saentis Zeller hit a single, a double and a homerun but his plays in the defense cost the Challengers the game.
Now that the Challengers had this comfortable lead, a situation they hadn't faced for a long time, they started to get sloppy on the field and made one error after the other. Firt, they let Roberto Chamorro get on base on Bryan Shemley's fielding error and he scored on another error by Shemley. The Challengers' lead was shortened by three now.

But that was just the beginning.

The Challengers committed three errors in the fourth inning and Chamorro said thanks as he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. One pitch later, the score was 9-6 in favor of the Cards.

The Challengers managed to come back in the bottom of the fourth with three runs as Saentis Zeller and Chris Palatinus hit back-to-back homeruns to center field.

But the defense didn't think about stopping making presents to the Cardinals and made three more errors in the next inning. This time, Landis was on the mound and had to watch helplessly as his teammates let him down play after play, he himself pitching his guts outs. At the end of the game, he went three innings in relief, allowing five runs, all (!) of them unearned.

Zeller probably played his worst game ever defensively as he officially made two errors, but he enabled the Cardinals with his untimely throws to score several costly runs.

The Challenger offense came back in the bottom of the seventh with three more runs as they collected three consecutive hits, one of them Zeller's second double of the season. But Palatinus and Landis struck out with two men in scoring position before Armin Blickenstorfer and Iqbal Khan followed with RBI-singles to cut the Cardinals' lead to 15-12. Bryan Shemley struck out on a called third strike that ended the game and the Challengers' four-game winning streak.