NLA Spiel 14, Jul. 19, 03

CHA
14
 1234567RHE
Challengers 350220214161
Frogs 020290013181
W: Bregy, H. L: Piaia
FRO
13

Challengers survive Frogs' rally to salvage split

The Challengers couldn't protect a 10-2 lead in Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Sissach Frogs and had to fight more than they would have imagined to get their first win in this year's Qualification Round.

NLA-rookie Oli Labhart pitched 4 2-3 innings and had to settle with a no-decision.
NLA-rookie Oli Labhart pitched 4 2-3 innings and had to settle with a no-decision.
The Challengers took a seemingly comfortable 8-0 lead after just two innings.

In these first two innings alone, Manny Marchant hit a three-run homer - his fourth of the season - and a two-run single, and Nick Lehmann - playing in his first doubleheader of the regular season since coming off the DL - collected three RBI's with an RBI-double and a two-run single.

Frogs' starter Daniel Traina was quickly done after that and was replaced by player-coach John Updike.

He retired five of the next six batters he faced, but his offense did little to give his team a chance.

Only Steve Klee managed to get a two-run double off starter Oliver Labhart who gave his pitching debut in the NLA.

The Challengers extended their lead to 10-2 in the top of the fourth on Marchant's RBI-double and Thomas Blank's RBI-single.

The Frogs got both runs back as Ivano Piaia hit an RBI-double with two outs, and later scored on Stefan Wick's RBI-double to cut the Challengers' lead to 10-4.

But Marchant and Lehmann continued their torrid hitting and contributed an RBI-double and an RBI-single, respectively, in the fifth inning.

Manny Marchant was a perfect 4-for-4 with a homer, a double and two singles while also collecting seven RBI
Manny Marchant was a perfect 4-for-4 with a homer, a double and two singles while also collecting seven RBI's.
But rookie Labhart started to tire and couldn't put the ball past the Frogs' batters.

He allowed six hits - one of them a bases-clearing three-run triple by Wick - in the bottom half of the sixth inning before being relieved by Harry Bregy.

But the damage was already done, and the Frogs were hanging on to a 13-12 lead.

Again, player-coach Updike came on to retire the side in the sixth inning, but Bregy kept his pace and allowed just a single to Marcel Schaffner in the bottom half of the inning.

Piaia then relieved Updike in the final inning, and he quickly lost it.

The first four batters he faced reached safely on a single, a walk and Lehmann's two-run double, his third of the game that put this team up 14-13.

That was enough as Bregy managed to shut out the opposition in the seventh inning, giving him his second win of the season.

He pitched 2 1-3 innings and lowered his ERA to 5.93 by allowing just a single run on four hits and one walk while also striking out two.

Game notes
Marchant's double in the fourth inning was already his 50th in the NLA in just 426 at-bats. One inning later, he collected his 200th hit with an RBI-single off Steve Klee. Marchant's career high for RBI's in one game is 10, achieved on June 3, 2000 against the now defunct Richterswil Athletics. ... Chris Palatinus singled in his 700th NLA at-bat in the first inning.