NLA Spiel 9, Jun. 05, 99
|W: Landis L: Bekkali S: Marchant|
Challengers withstand Barracudas' rally, win 12-11The Challengers started strong but finished weakly in game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader against their arch rivals Barracudas from Zurich. They blew a 10-1 lead and barely managed to stay atop for a 12-11 victory.
|Thomas Landis went 2-for-4 in game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader.|
The Challengers again started very strong, putting seven runs on the board against starter Farid Bekkali, one of three former Challengers that now play for the Barracudas. The runs came on Anubis Benitez' solo homer to lead of the game, Roger Brunner's two-run shot, Chris Palatinus' two-run double, Benitez' RBI-single and a balk by Bekkali that scored Palatinus.
The balk call was the first of seven called in the game by the umpires.
|Roger Brunner is greeted at the plate by Anubis Benitez (left) and Manny Marchant (right) after his two-run homer in the top of the first inning.|
The Challengers extended their lead to 9-1 after two innings and Bekkali was relieved by Nico Kölliker at the start of the third inning.
He quickly gave up a walk to Landis but managed to induce Jose Valdez to hit into a double play. But Brunner followed with another walk, and Kölliker was victimized by the first of two balk calls against him. Joe Cox followed with an RBI-double for the Challengers' tenth run.
|Barracudas starter Farid Bekkali lasted just two innings, giving up seven earned runs on seven hits and five walks while striking out none.|
In the fourth inning, Valdez bobbled a ball at first base and made a wide throw to third base and two more Barracudas scored.
But believe it or not, it came even worse. The Challengers made five errors in the following inning and let the Barracudas close the gap to 10-1. Last week, the Challengers lost a 9-1 lead against the Flyers in game 1 as they allowed them to score 13 runs in the top of the sixth.
This time, the Challengers held on to their slim one-run lead, and even scored some more when Cox hit an RBI-single in the top of the sixth and Valdez hit a solo homer the next inning.
Game Notes: Valdez grounded into two double plays, but then hit his 10th homer in nine games this season in the top of the seventh. ...Brunner's two RBI's in the first inning were his 100th and 101st of his NLA-career.