Alex No-no's the Royals in the Battle of the East
Rud/Kolsås, June 30th 2020
In the first two games of the year the Pretenders faced the League Champions from last year. But this time the Pretenders' new coach said: Oh no-no!
All eyes were on the brand new coach for the P1 squad - Alex Guilford. In his debut the Pretenders faced the best ranked team from 2019 - the Royals. The team that "stole" the league title from the Pretenders in a great league final last year. For the Pretenders, this was an important step towards regaining the title. This year the Pretenders are indeed the Pretender for the throne.
Although most eyes were on Guilford to see how he would manage his squad, it soon became eminent that this game could go down as one of the best pitchers duels of all time. In the past Guildford had several epic battles vs the Royals' ace - Emil Fjellvang - but this time their young stud - Mads Eldevik - who arguably is the hardest throwing pitcher on Norwegian soil, would be his counterpart. Both pitchers piled up strike-out after strike-out, but the only difference was that the Eldevik also put up several walks in between to a patient Pretender-squad.
The NM champions from last year managed to get the bases loaded in both of the 1st and 3rd inning - only to score one run in each of those innings. In the top of the 4th the Pretenders performed a double-steal that ended with both of the runners (Ryan and Terje) scoring on a crucial throwing-error by the Royals' catcher as the ball ended in LF.
With the score 4-0 Guilford continued his historical performance and by the end of the game he had stroke out 19 batters (in 7 innings) which is a new Norwegian record (we believe) as the previous club record was Håkon Jåtun's epic 17 strike-outs vs the Knickers in Trondheim on June 5th 2003 (a 9 inning performance). With 19 Ks, one walk and no hits, this game will go down as the best pitching-performance by a Pretender on Norwegian soil without a doubt. The only game that will be up in the same discussion will be the legendary 9-inning-shut-out-performance by LP Sandvik in the e-cup vs the Austrian team in 2006. We'll let the critics decide.
In the second game of the day the bats finally came alive as the Pretenders smacked the ball around for 13 hits (all singles), scoring 6 runs in the 1st, 7 in the 3rd, two in the 4th and 6 in the 5th to blow the game wide open to secure a comfortable 21-2 win over a surprisingly tame Royals team.
On the mound Matt Connell got the ball from the start and pitched three solid innings before handing the ball over to Nate Peterson who pitched a perfect 2-inning save performance.
With two wins for the day the Pretenders are eager to continue next weekend as the Battle of the South will be the next baseball-event of the year.
Best of the best:
- Alex Guilford: batting 3-5 with 4 RBIs, 4 R, 4 BB, pitching 7 IP, 19 Ks, 0 hits
- Martinius Hars: 2-2 with 1 RBI, 3 R and 2 BB
- Matt Connell: batting 2-4 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 3 BB, pitching 3 IP, 1 ER, 4 Ks