The 6th Annual Swiss International Alpine Cup took place the last weekend of June in Zurich. This year’s participating teams were Team Venezuela, The Dominican All Stars The Swiss national team and the Aviano Avengers from the Italian LAB (League of Amateur Baseball). The Cup served as a practice round for the Swiss national team before heading into the European Championship in Serbia.
There were some blowouts throughout the weekend’s event but there were also a few tight matchups. Team Venezuela came out of the Round Robin the strong favorites with a great combination of pitching and power hitters. The Dominican All Stars were hitting well but their bullpen was unable to keep pace.
Though they did not make it out of the round robin, Italy’s coach Joey Cherry said, “We enjoy playing in different countries in Europe and look forward to the Alpine Cup to test our skills against some of the best baseball teams.”
In the final it was Venezuela and the Swiss. Venezuela took an early lead. Up 3-0 in the 4th but the Swiss began chipping away at their lead. Small ball prevailed and, by the 9th, it was the Swiss up 4 runs.
James Sanders, head coach of the Swiss team told EBSM, ““Last year we played the same Venezuelan team in the finals of this tournament and looked overmatched. This year we looked like we belonged. That is purely due to the team’s hard work over the winter and their belief in their preparation.”
Venezuela decided to put on the pressure and, with bases loaded, no outs and down by 3, Venezuela staged a comeback. Coach said, “In years passed we would have folded under that pressure but this year’s team has something special. They believed they would get out of the jam and they did. The nerves didn’t get to them and everybody trusted each other to play the game.”
The national team had the right balance of hot bats and stellar pitching to overcome Venezuela’s dominate batting. In the end Venezuela’s bullpen finally ran out of gas and Switzerland did not hesitate to capitalize on their exhaustion matching their sluggers hit-for-hit until the final score read 9-8 in their favor. The Swiss took this year’s Cup.
Sanders said, “As a coach the week could not have gone any better. We played the game and not the opponent and the team as whole trusted one another. Mentally we were as strong as I have ever seen a Swiss team. We now believe we can compete with the best and that confidence will be important when we get to Serbia.”