Game Day vs Truck Stars

Let’s go Lions, Let’s go!

A beautiful sunny Sunday framed the Lions home opening day for the 2021 NLB season.
Zurich Lions faced Dulliken Truck Star in a double header. Truck Star came back to NLB as the 2020 Liga 1 Champions.
With Mario Dreiding on the mount, the Truck Star surprised with aggressive base running and scored 2 runs in the very first inning. The Lions responded immediately with a rally of 7 runs, led by a 2-RBI single by Anthony Ventura and RBI hits by Benjamin Kessler, James Campbell and Esteban Finol.
At the top of the third inning, Dulliken ballplayers scored 3 runs to tighten the score.
Nelson Steven came as reliever for Lions and kept the opponent offense under control for 3 more innings.
Similarly, Truck’s star pitcher, Loris Vallan, sharpened his pitches and dried out the production of Lions’ offense with 11 strikeouts, including a memorable strikeout on Ramon Rosario.
What started as a potential double-digits score game became a pitchers’ duel and a boring game for the kids who came to cheer the Lions.
At the top of the last Inning, Truck Star tied the score to 7, setting the stage for the crowd to wake up and cheer the Zurich Lions for a potential walk-off.
Anthony Ventura opened the bottom of the 7th inning with a single and stole second. Steven Nelson walked, and Ramon Rosario was intentionally walked. With bases loaded and one out, the chant of “Let’s go Lions, let’s go” resounded like never in Heerenschürli. Michael Gränz grounded to SS and Truck Star’s shortstop perfectly executed the forced out in home plate. Then, with two outs and bases loaded, Loris Vallan tossed a wild pitch and Nelson Steven scored the winning run for the Lions.
It is very likely that the Truck Star’s pitcher lost the grasp of the ball. I prefer to believe that he could not stand the pressure that the chants of our kids put on him.
Thank you, little guys, for the good vibes.

The second game was a smoother win for the Lions. Inspired by a great pitching from Anthony Ventura (5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO), the Lions produced 14 runs to knock-out the TruckStar in 6 Innings. The offensive performance from Markus Streicher (4-5, 2 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB), Mario Dreiding (2-3, 3 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB), James Campbell (2-4, 2 RBI, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 SB) and Ramon Rosario (2-2, 2 RBI, 1 BB) were remarkable.

Some take-home messages:
• We have the best crowd in town!
• Zurich Lions do not give up (14 2-outs RBI in 13 innings).
• Lions need to improve our base-running (2 runners were caught stealing on scoring position and one Catcher-1B pick-off) and holding-on-base and picking-off runners (opponents reached 13 SB in 13 innings, only 1 CS).