The Pretenders ready for both the NM and NBL Finals
Dønnestad Baseball Field, Kristiansand, Sat. 05 Sept. 2015
A shocking 6-game losing streak caused the Pretenders to finish in third place in regular league play, meaning the team had to travel to Kristiansand to face the Suns in a best-of-three semifinal round last weekend. With three of the top P2 players stepping up to make sure the P1 squad had a team ready for the semis, the Pretenders avenged their two losses in Ksand by playing solid ball in both games – winning 11-6 and 8-3 to stun the home team and surprise themselves.
After cruising through the 2nd round of NM on August 8th to reach the NM finals (see the artile here) the Pretenders have been struggling lately to field their best team and play up to their standards. This has resulted in a historic low 6-game losing streak.
(True, technically the Pretenders also had a 6-game losing streak back in 1998, BUT their “5th loss” to the Oslo Ballkam – now called the Alligators – where the Pretenders “lost” 19-7 was credited as a win to the Pretenders due to Ballkam's refusal to play the rest of the game in protest for poor umpiring.)
The Pretenders have lost at least one game to all the other 1st Division teams this year, which has never happend before. With
this in mind, the P1 squad had little hope for a miracle when they drove down to Kristiansand last weekend.
Glenn Wells – welcome back! – took the mound in the first game, pitching a complete game, giving up 6 runs (4 earned), 7 hits, 5 walks, 3 HP while fanning 8 confused batters. Wells struggle a bit in the first two innings, giving up three runs, but settled in nicely after that and shifted into an extra gear at the end to complete the game. At the plate all 9 batters contributed with at least one hit and a run, but Leif’s three hits and three RBIs combined with Martinius’ two hits and two RBIs were the main studs of the game. On defence the whole team played solid D, but the Mullah sealed the win in the 7th inning by making two great plays for outs. in the last inning: Terje chased down a well-placed bunt that stopped on the 3B chalk, then he spun and fired a last-second, perfectly aimed missile past the batter’s ear and straight to Gary’s waiting glove for the first out. On the next batter Terje caught a difficult, high, windblown popout near the plate.
Leif P Sandvik took the mound in the second game, hurling a complete game victory himself. He gave up 3 runs (2 earned), one HP and 3 strikeouts for his third win of the season. Sandvik gave up several hits in the first inning, facing bases loaded with no outs with a run already across. But with a great reflex and a smooth spin, he caught a line-drive comebacker and fired to 2nd for a double play. He then struck out the next batter to escape the jam with only one run scored. After this Sandvik took full control and led the team to a comfortable 8-3 victory. At the plate the P1 squad contributed with at least a hit or a run each, but Kelly and Martinius made sure to hit in half of the runs in the game to secure the second win of the day and a spot in the NBL finals on September 19-20th.
More defensive gems:
*CF Kelly made a rare 8-3 out as he launched a missile from shallow centerfield to get the batter out at 1st base.
*3B Darren and SS Glenn used ESP to turn a swinging bunt single into an out at third base. Darren charged the bunt but instead of throwing to first, spun and threw back to Glenn, who had alertly covered 3B after reading baserunner Andy’s thoughts of scoring from second on the play.
*1B Gary made two nice scoops with his foot on the bag to secure outs.
*2B Peter was not afraid to sacrifice the skin off both elbows in making two run-saving diving stops.
With the two victories in the NBL Semis, the Oslo Pretenders are now ready for the Norwegian Championship (NM) finals this weekend as well as the NBL season finals the following weekend. Both series are against the Oslo Rangers at Rommen Field in Oslo.
Make sure to come out to Rommen to cheers us to two titles this season!