NLA Spiel 20, Sep. 03, 05

Frogs 0070000791
Challengers 063220x13102
W: Landis, Th. L: SKlee

Challengers advance to Playoffs with 13-7 win

The Challengers finally qualified for the Playoffs, breaking their five-game losing streak with a 13-7 victory over the first place Sissach Frogs.

Benitez sparked the offense with a grand-slam homer in the second inning.
Benitez sparked the offense with a grand-slam homer in the second inning.
Anubis Benitez hit a grand-slam homer and collected seven RBI's, all of them with two outs, tying the franchise record set by Chris Palatinus on May 14, 2000.

Thomas Landis provided the pitching heroics, delivering 4 1-3 innings in relief for his second win of the season.

The Challengers went ahead in the second inning by sending 12 batters to the plate in a six-run outburst, the biggest-scoring inning for the Challengers since scoring seven times against the Zurich Barracudas on April 17.

Patrick Zöllig plated the first two runners with a double before Benitez connected off Daniel Traina for a grand salami.

After Tobias Siegrist reached with a single, Traina left the game to make way for Steve Klee.

After walking the next two batters to fill up the bases once again, he managed to retire Palatinus on a ground out to second.

But the Frogs answered in big fashion, scoring seven times off starter Thomas Burger and reliever Landis.

Burger didn't recorded an out before Alessandro Traina hit into a run scoring fielder's choice that cut the Challengers' lead to 6-3.

He also managed to strike out Klee for the second out, but Mike Klee and Marco Heim followed with back-to-back RBI-singles, sending Burger to the showers.

Thomas Landis picked up his second win of the season by tossing 4 1-3 innings in relief.
Thomas Landis picked up his second win of the season by tossing 4 1-3 innings in relief.
Landis took over and promptly walked Bassett to fill the diamond.

Brandon Neal used the opportunity and hit a two-run double to put his team ahead 7-6.

Landis struck out Markus Schaffner to end the scoring.

And his offense promptly gave him the lead, scoring three times for a 9-7 lead.

Patrick Zöllig hit a sac fly to center - his first since August 17, 2002 - and Benitez added another RBI with a single to left field.

A botched pickoff throw by Klee enabled Benitez to score from third.

The Challengers loaded the bases for the third time in the game after Klee hit Anthony Bennett with a pitch, but Landis grounded out to end the threat.

Two more runs in each of the fourth and fifth inning off two different relievers extended the Challengers' lead to 13-7.

The Challengers loaded the bases for a fourth time in the top of the fourth inning, but neither Zöllig nor Saentis Zeller managed to drive in a run as they hit back-to-back pop ups to the infield.

Benitez then lined a two-run single into right field, giving him RBI's number six and seven.

All of those RBI's came with two outs, shattering his own previuos record of four.

With that win, the Challengers have reached the Playoffs for the ninth consecutive season. They will begin on September 17.

Game notes
The 13 runs scored is the most since also scoring 13 times against the Reussbuhl Eagles on May 7. ...Zöllig grounded out to lead off the game in what was his 350th at-bat in the NLA. ...Palatinus moved into a tie for third place with Enrico Zingg for runs scored as he crossed the plate in the fifth inning for the 298th time in his NLA-career. He also passed Zingg for most walks as he received his 149th free pass in the fifth inning, moving him into second place behind Thomas Landis' 168.