“Panthers” surprise with seventh place at Softball-DM in Cologne

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Von: Paul Hope

The teams in the Softball Championship had to play ten games within two days. The photo shows a scene from the game between the Panthers and the Berlin Hangarounds. © Private/Penzberg Panthers

The “Penzberg Panthers” passed their baptism of fire. At the softball championship, the team that came in small numbers – which played under a false name – was convincing.

Cologne/Penzberg – The employee at the gas station was seriously concerned. “What did you do?” was the sympathetic question. It was addressed to the men and women of the “Penzberg Panthers”, who took a short break on the way back from Cologne – and couldn’t hide the exertion of the two days of competition beforehand. Everyone was “just so exhausted,” reported Andreas Büchner, the driving force behind the “Baseball in Penzberg” project as coach, player and organizer.

At the same time, everyone involved was filled with pride, because – equipped with a wildcard – they had put on a convincing performance at the German championship in slow pitch softball. With seventh place among twelve teams, the “Panthers” not only surprised the competition, but also themselves. “The hammer” is what the team has achieved, said Büchner.

Andreas Büchner enthusiastic about the commitment

Actually, there is still no Penzberg Panthers team, at least not one that competes in an official league. Büchner, who has many years of experience in the all-American sport, got the ball rolling in the city a few months ago when it came to baseball. In the meantime, a good 60 enthusiasts of all ages come together regularly for training. The “Panthers” are not yet a TSV division, but are affiliated with the volleyball department.

The troop also includes men and women who moved to the Oberland because of the “Roche” company and who used to play baseball or softball in other clubs. “The level has really exploded,” says Büchner about the “Panthers”. Since he knew that the Penzbergers could be quite competitive, he grabbed the chance of a DM participation via wildcard.

Yay, the debut as a team worked: The “Penzberg Panthers”, who competed in “Wizards” jerseys because they didn’t deliver their outfits, were happy about their seventh place in the softball championship and cheered accordingly for the photo. © Private/Penzberg Panthers

The Penzbergers started the journey to Cologne with a lot of confidence, but also with two handicaps. As a result, the Penzbergers could not compete in the outfit intended for them, as was actually required. The ever-present delivery problems prevented the clothes ordered some time ago from arriving on time. So the “Panthers” had to compete as “Wizards” – Büchner still had jerseys with the appropriate imprint up his sleeve. The Penzbergers were allowed to start by special arrangement. However, the personnel problems were much more important: Corona and injuries had severely decimated the team. Of the original 17 women and men, only twelve were ultimately available. In view of the game plan with ten games in two days “an absolute rump team”, says Büchner.

The Panthers’ winning streak in the placement round

And the players had to come together on the field first. That ultimately also explains the record on the first day with only one win and four defeats. The opposing teams, on the other hand, have been playing together for years. Looking back, the defeat right at the start was bitter. The “Panthers” lost 11:13 to the “Ubuntu Underdogs” despite an 11:0 lead at halftime (the time limit for the game was time). In order to classify the whole thing, Büchner chose a comparison: Penzberger’s lead at the break was like “as if you were 3-0 ahead in football”. If the “Panthers” had won this game, they would have made it into the final round for the German Championship title instead of the “underdogs”. The guests from Bavaria, who were fifth in their preliminary round group, had to be content with the placement round (places seven to twelve).

“A little something was missing in the end,” said Büchner, who also praised the team. You have “increased in every game”. The Penzbergers showed their best performance in the preliminary round duel with the later runners-up, the “Ladenburg Romans”, which was narrowly lost 2:5. The defense in particular worked “really well”. On the other hand, “we still have work to do on the attacking performance,” said the coach. As far as the commitment is concerned, Büchner is downright enthusiastic about his fellow campaigners: “Everyone was on fire without end. The team has character.”

In the placement round, the “Panthers” really got going. They won four out of five games. In the decisive match for seventh place against the “Berlin Donkeys”, Bayern prevailed 15:4. The hosts “UCE Travellers” won the German Championship title with a 22:18 over the “Romans”.



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