Saturday, April 12 marked the season opener for the SG Truck Star/Challengers in 1st league baseball. In the team’s inaugural season last year, it was not able to get a single win. So, all members hoped that 2014 will change that. With the Zurich Eighters West and the reconstructed Bern Cardinals II as opponents, the chances for a W were non-zero. And right in the first game of the year, the SG was able to win its first ever game vs. the Eighters. The loss to Bern afterwards was only a side note.
The SG travelled to Bern knowing that whatever happens to any player, there will be a replacement as the team was about 20 players strong. Therefore, the big challenge for the day was go give all players some playing time. But new manager Alexia Zingg mastered that task easily.
From the beginning the tactic of the SG was to win the first game against the Eighters. So, the coaching staff sent the best players to the field including the two experienced players Kurt Kovac and Werner Zingg, who both came to support the SG on and off the field. Many thanks to both of you!!! On the mound, Gabe Staub gave his comeback in a Truck Star uniform. While warming up, it was obvious to everybody that his arm hasn’t lost anything and still fired lightning strikes. The SG Truck Star/Challengers was the away team in the first game, so they had to bat first. And thanks to an RBI groundout by Michel Romang, the team went up 1-0. It was then time for Staub to pitch. And how he threw it was pretty clear that the Eigthers had a big problem. They were obviously not used to seeing fastballs at that speed and were late almost everytime they swung, prompting the defense to shift to opposite field. It was to no surprise that the score was still 1-0 after one inning.
In the 2nd frame, the SG added 3 more runs to build a bit of a margin. This was definitely necessary as the defense – when a ball was put in play – did show some rust and had trouble fielding the ball cleanly. But as Staub was doing most of the work by striking out opposing hitters, it wasn’t that big of a deal, even though the Eigthers scored a run in the bottom of inning 2. But they had their problems too. Both pitchers struggled to find the strike zone and when they found it, the SG hitters were ready to square up: Nicolas Motte missed a grand slam by only about 2 meters, giving him a 3-run double. Kurt Kovac however did not miss and hit a huge 2-run home run. By the end of the 2 hours the SG had its first win in team history by a score of 17-4.
The second game of the day against the Bern Cardinals II didn’t go that smoothly. Before the first pitch, the coaching staff made clear that the main goal was to give everybody some playing time. As the score was 10-0 after 2 innings for the Cardinals, it was easily possible to give the rookies such as Robin and Dominik Gisin, Pedro Lorenzo and Ilario Scapozza some time in the outfield. By the end of the game the crafted scoreboard read SG Truck Star/Challengers 5, Bern Cardinals 18. The result wasn’t of much importance to the team. It was obvious that the defense needed a lot of work in the upcoming weeks to be ready for the next games on May 3rd in Dulliken. But the thing nobody can take away anymore is the team’s first win! Well done, guys!