P1 Takes 1st Place with Win Over Rangers
Wed. 21 May 2014, Rommen:
With a 4-1 record the Pretenders now sit atop the NBL after a convincing victory over the new Rangers team. Adorned in spiffy gray and black uniforms, the Rangers threw their fastest pitcher at the Pretenders in this first-ever matchup between the two clubs. From the outset, however, the Pretenders responded with cool heads and played patient and tactical ball, quickly knocking out the hard-throwing but erratic starting pitcher Alejandro. In the top of the 1st inning alone, Pretenders drew 4 walks (Terje, Glenn, Rob, Ole Kristian). After Anders’ RBI groundout and Darren’s 2-out single to right (the game’s first hit), the Pretenders had plated 4 runs.
Leif Petter Sandvik then took the mound and proceeded to pitch a complete game, striking out 5 and allowing just one walk. Through the first 3 innings, Leif held the Rangers scoreless, facing just 12 batters (two of whom reached base on infield errors). Meanwhile the P-offense maintained the pressure in the 2nd inning, scoring another run (Erik J from 3rd base when the shortstop couldn’t handle Leif’s grounder). This forced the Rangers to bring in another ex-Pretender (Efrain, who lasted just one inning). In the 3rd, P-batters tallied another 3 runs on 5 walks and Erik’s single, taking a comfortable 8-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 4th the Rangers finally put two runs on the scoreboard with 3 singles, but the Pretenders roared back with 3 more runs in the 5th when Darren reached on an error, Martinius walked, Kelly singled, Terje walked and Glenn hit a 2-run single. The lead was now 11-2, but there would be no more P-runs as the Rangers’ third pitcher, ex-Pretender Luis, pounded the strike zone for the final 3 innings, allowing just 2 more hits.
In the 5th, Ranger hitters mounted some pressure with 4 hits (Leif was continuing to induce groundballs but these were sneaking through the infield) and the lone walk. After five innings of play the score stood at 11-5.
When the Rangers led off the bottom of the sixth with yet another groundball single, the tension became palpable among Pretender defenders. But 1B Rob gathered a grounder and flipped to Leif for the first out, then catcher Terje got the 2nd out with a fantastic, last-second, all-out-stretch-dive catch of a foul popup. 3B Darren then snared a soft foul liner for the 3rd out, stranding the leadoff runner at third base.
Ranger batters came out swinging in the 7th and final inning and hit 4 consecutive singles. Clutch P-defense, however, got an out nevertheless as LF Kelly fired a one-hop bullet to 3B Darren to gun down a pinch-runner attempting to go first-to-third, getting the all-important first out to put the brakes on the potential comeback rally. Next, 2B Anders nearly turned a game-ending double play in getting the 2nd out, and Leif fittingly got the game’s final out by striking out ex-Pretender Reynaldo swinging at a wide curveball.
Six Pretenders had a hit apiece and six drove in runs. Leadoff man Terje drew 3 walks and cleanup hitter Rob drew four! In all, Pretenders walked 14 times and struck out just 3 times -- but collected only 6 hits. Eight different Pretenders scored (OK, Martinius and Erik twice each).
Inconsistent umpiring of the strike zone frustrated both teams…. The Rangers’ catcher, league newcomer Jose Amparo, displayed an impressive throwing arm and even more impressive buttock size… Five Rangers in this game played on the Pretenders in the 2013 season.