Sat. 3 May 2014, Rommen Field:
Game 1: Leif stops Alna with 9 K’s, Pretenders Win 7-4
SP Leif Petter Sandvik earned the complete-game win by giving up just 6 hits and no walks while striking out 9. The Pretenders backed their ace well with solid defensive play, converting 5 groundballs into outs and allowing only one Alna batter to reach base on an error. Leif took care of an additional 4 comebackers and held opposing batters to a .207 average.
2014 Season Openers: P1 Splits with Alna
As we have come to expect, Alna came out swinging hard from the start and scored 2 first-inning runs on two singles and a double. But Leif soon settled in and began hitting the corners consistently. Behind the plate, Terje Hoaas called a masterful game.
On offense, Terje performed his leadoff duties nobly by reaching base in all 4 plate appearances (2 singles, 2 walks). Matt Connell led off the 2nd inning with the Pretenders’ first hit of the season, was advanced by Rob Crane’s single, and scored the first run on a wild pitch. In the 3rd inning Matt drilled a two-out, 2-RBI double to put the Pretenders ahead 3-2, a lead they would not relinquish. He then scored on Rob’s second single of the game. In the 4th inning, Terje’s clutch 2-out single to right plated Darren McKellep to widen the lead to 5-2. Leif led off the 5th with a walk , advanced to third on Anders Tveten’s single, and then scored on a wild pitch.
Alna did not lie down and began to stage a comeback in the 6th with a leadoff double followed by a groundball single. But Leif buckled down and halted the comeback rally by inducing the #4-5-6 hitters to hit three consecutive grounders to shortstop Darren, who converted all of them into outs. (The second was a nifty backhanded snag deep in the hole and spin-throw to Anders for the force-out at 2B.) In the 7th, Anders gave the Pretenders a 7-4 advantage with his 2-out single to score one last insurance run (Leif, who had led off with another walk).
The Pretenders bested Alna’s ace Geraldo Cabrera, who yielded 8 hits and 5 walks. Two more P-batters reached on errors.
Game 2: Defense Blows Lead with Nightmare 6th Inning
The Pretenders cruised through 5 innings behind generally dependable defense and SP Darren’s 6 strikeouts against 2 free passes. P1 took the lead with a 5-run fifth inning that started with singles by Rob and Jean Carlos Pichado (his first career hit as a Pretender!). After a walk by Darren and Terje’s reaching on an error, the bases were loaded for Kelly Kuhlmeyer, who blasted a bases-clearing double past the left fielder.
The P1 squad took the field in the bottom of the 6th leading 6-4. The inning turned disastrous as 5 errors and 4 singles allowed 9 runs to score. Anders took the mound and got the final 3 outs but the damage had been done; Alna prevailed 13-6.
LF Erik Jansen made a terrific running/sliding catch on a sinking line drive in Game 2, then nearly repeated the feat two innings later... Terje was excellent in Game 2 blocking Darren’s pitches in the dirt... The P-defense turned an unusual double play in Game 2 when SS Kelly scooped a grounder while colliding with a baserunner, then flipped to 3B Matt, who fired a strike to 2B Rob for a tag-out of the batter trying to advance to second... Ole Kristian Nylund made his comeback debut with a pinch-hit opposite-field double, running surprisingly fast for a recovering Achilles-injury victim... Jean Carlos Pichardo, the Pretenders’ promising Dominican newcomer, made a tough catch in deep CF looking into the sun. In Game 2 he collected his first hit as a Pretender... after his line shot in Game 1 went straight into the second baseman’s glove... Martinius Hars hit a hard shot into right-center in Game 1 but was robbed of a double by a good, running grab by ex-Pretender Raul.