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Challengers defeat Cardinals for first time in ten tries, end the perfect start of the defending champs

John Baum 08.06.2009
On the windiest day we have ever played ball at the allmend, the Zurich Challengers (6-8) kept it together longer than the Bern Cardinals (14-1) in winning game one, 12-7. Things started out poorly in the first for the home team as a two out, two run throwing error from player/coach John Baum put the visitors on the board. The Cards, on Vitus Huber and Samuel Paulino singles, cut into the lead with one run in the bottom half of the inning. Three consecutive walks from Cards starter Chris Beyeler to start the second inning would result in only one one as a diving stop from Paulino would start a 6-4-2 inning ending double play! Beyeler would then find his groove, working the next three innings scoreless, before leaving the mound in the sixth innning. Once again in the bottom half, the Cardinals responded. A one out walk to Ronnie Zimmermann, followed by a Tobias Imboden double, and ultimately an Alex Cruz Tifa single knotted the game at three. The hometeam took their first lead of the day in the fourth when Imboden would leave the yard with a man on base for his first homerun of the season, making the score 5-3. Imboden took over for Beyeler on the hill in the sixth, but ran into all kinds of trouble in the seventh where he gave up six run on two walks and five hits, including a big two run double from Y. Martinez. The Cards made it a two run game in the eighth when two consecutive hits and an error allowed two runs to cross the plate, leaving it at 9-7. Unfortunately for Bern, the Challengers took advantage of three Cards errors in the ninth, to stretch the lead to 12-7, where the game and the Cards bid for perfection would end.
John Baum was not his usual self ones again on the mound in game two for the Cardinals, as he would give up two hits and two runs including an RBI double from Thomas Landis in the first inning. The Cards though had an even better start to the game at the plate against A. Maduro, as the first seven batter would reach base, and eventually score to give the home team a seemingly unreachable lead of 7-2. Singles from Paulino, Baum, Rudy Vargas, and Ronnie Zimmermann doing the brunt of the damage. In the second, once again the Challengers were able to get to Baum, as singles from J. Martinez and A. Maduro to start the inning, and a sac bunt from U. Von Burg put runners in scoring position with only one out. C. Pena would plate the first run on a sacrifice fly, and a J. Sanders single would score the second, closing the gap to 7-4. From there both Baum, and Challengers reliever Y. Martinez would cruise, Martinez allowing only one run to score, and Baum, two in the next five innings. The Challengers did manage to put the tying runs on base in the final inning, thanks to a fielding error and a hit to start the inning, but Baum would put the fire out, and finish off the Challengers with an 8-6 win.
The Cardinals will have one week of practice left before travelling to Attnang, Austria to represent Switzerland in the Euro Cup Qualifier. Stay tuned for a preview of, and updates from this international baseball competition.