Pulheim Gophers – Dortmund Wanderers 13-10, 7-6
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Recap by O’Brien Taylor, Pulheim Gophers
Opening day of the 2009 Bundesliga season featured some good match ups, one being that of the Pulheim Gophers and the Dortmund Wanderers in front of a crowd of about 200 fans. Dortmund came into the season ranked third in the northern division preseason poll, while the Gophers sat near the bottom of the northern division. This would be the Gophers first game ever in the highest league of the Bundesliga.
In game one, Dortmund got out to an early lead scoring two in the first inning. They scored again the top of the third and it was the bottom of the third before Pulheim fought back with two runs of their own. Dortmund added four more runs by the fifth, while Pulheim came from behind to tie the game with five runs to make it a 7-7 ballgame. In the top of the seventh inning, Dortmund added one more run. Pulheim rallied in the bottom of the inning to score 6 runs and create a five-run deficit. In the top of the ninth, Dortmund tacked on two more runs, but fell just three runs short in their comeback effort making the final score of game one 13-10.
Throughout the game, Dortmund scored 10 runs on 10 hits and made three errors in the field. The Gophers scored 13 runs on 13 hits and had five errors. Dortmund’s corner infielders Groer and Howell led the Wanderers in hits with two apiece and three RBIs while their American catcher Cherney scored three runs. The Gopher’s leading hitters were American shortstop O’Brien Taylor who went 3-5 with a two-run homerun in the seventh, had two RBIs, and scored three runs, first baseman Sebastian Jaap who went 3-3 with two doubles and two RBIs, and centerfielder David Wohlgemuth who went 3-5 with a double and three RBIs. Leftfielder Fabio Lo Jacono also added two hits with one double and two RBIs. Dortmund’s starting pitcher Herlitzius pitched five innings striking out nine batters and walking two. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits. Reliever Hawlitzky (0-1) took the loss. Gophers’ pitchers combined for five strikeouts and 10 walks, allowing four earned runs. Reliever Chris Gerlach (1-0) gained the win for the Gophers.
The Gophers followed up their first Bundesliga win with their second in game two of the two game set. Pulheim took their first lead of the ball game in a four run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning turning a 6-4 deficit into an 8-6 lead. The rally began with a single by centerfielder David Wohlgemuth, and was continued the next batter when O’Brien Taylor was hit by a pitch. Following Taylor was back to back to back doubles by Ben Bizier, Fabio Lo Jacono, and Phillip Spade. The offensive charge in game two was lead by Sebastian Jaap who went 2-4 with two RBIs.
The Wanderers were held at bay by Gophers’ pitcher Markus Solbach who threw 4.2 innings in relief after injury to American starter Joe Overby. Solbach gave up four runs, three of which were earned, and struck out four. Reliever Sebastian Theobald (1-0) gained the win while closer Phillip Spade earned a save (1). Spade struck out two of the three batters he faced to seal the 7-6 victory for the Gophers. Dortmund’s American starter Kemp pitched seven innings of baseball, allowing five earned runs on eight hits. He struck out eight and walked two. Kemp (0-1) also took the loss. Throughout the game, Dortmund scored six runs on 11 hits, making 4 errors while Pulheim scored seven on 10 hits making just one error.
Solingen Alligators – HSV Stealers 14-7, 8-0
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Last year’s north champion ALLIGATORS started with two victories in the new season. In game one they beat the STEALERS 14-7 despite being out-hit 11-16. SOLINGEN never really was in danger to lose the game, as they plated runs in seven of the first eight innings. The guests tried to come back and managed two big innings, but it was too little too late. Dominik Wulf homered, scored three times and drove in two. Chris Beck, Christian Nsien and Patrick Kanthak (3-5) each drove in too. Brehan Murphy led the HSV with three RBI, with seven batters having at least two hits apiece. Jens Cornelsen (W 1-0) pitched five scoreless innings to earn the win. He allowed six hits and two walks, striking out seven. Marcel Brede (L 0-1) was charged with four hits, seven runs (4 ER) and five bb in five innings.
The second match was dominated by the ALLIGATORS pitching. Enorbel Marquez-Ramirez (W 1-0) combined with the two relievers Robin Drache and Dominik Wulf to throw a one-hitter in an 8-0 shutout. He gave up just a single and two walks in seven innings. On the opposing side, Kody Hightower (L 0-1) matched the German National team hurler pitch for pitch in the first five innings of his Bundesliga debut, but got tired in the sixth and lost the game. He was finished after 5 2/3 innings, four hits, four runs and six bb. Chris Beck scored two runs and drove in another. Moritz Buttgereit went two-for-three with two walks and a run scored. Thomas Riedner had the lone hit for HAMBURG.
Cologne Cardinals – Bonn Capitals 3-5, 10-0 (7)
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The two local rivals CARDINALS and CAPITALS met on the first game day of the Bundesliga season and settled for a split. In game one BONN scored five runs between the third and fourth on their way to win 5-3. Additionally Tim Henkenjohann (W 1-0), who missed last year’s first half of the season due to a broken hand, had a strong day. He struck out nine, going the distance, allowing just five hits, three runs (2 ER) and five bb. COLOGNE’s starter Pascal Raab (L 0-1) had some control issues, leading to seven walks besides the five runs on four hits in four innings. Marcel Kujau later did a nice job in relief, shutting down the BONN offense with five scoreless innings. The CAPS were led by Jan Jacob, who went two-for-three with two walks, drove in two and scored once. Sascha Steffens scored two of the three CARDS runs.
Game two of the doubleheader saw an impressive debut by Kalev Betancourt (W 1-0) on the mound for the CARDINALS. The 25-year-old right-hander, who found his way to Germany through the tryouts by DORTMUND head coach Jens Hawlitzky this winter, struck out eleven batters in a complete game seven-inning shutout. He conceded just two hits and three walks in the mercy-rule shortened contest. Markus Stryczek hit a three-run homerun and drove in four. Betancourt, Florian Nehring and Sascha Steffens each scored twice. Marcel Penger (L 0-1) never found his rhythm and gave up four runs on three hits and four bb in 1 1/3 innings for the loss. Reliever Mirko Heid replaced him and stopped the CARDS offense for a few innings, before they came through again.
Photo: © top: Werner Weiland, Pulheim Gophers; bottom: www.eisenhuth-photographie.de