The Pretenders take the Bronze in NM
Dønnestad, Sept. 5th 2021
The Pretenders went into the NM as the undefeated champions of the East Division but had to surrender for an impressive squad from the Raining City in the semis - leaving them with the bittersweet bronze medal.
Semifinal, 1-3 vs Bergen Wetsox
Both semifinals in the NM turned out to be the two best games of the Norwegian Championship as all four teams (Suns, Royals, Wetsox and Pretenders) sent their ace to the battlefield. In our semis we sent out Joe Rollwagen to face the Ace from the west cost - Cole Thompson. And what a Thriller of a game this turned out to be.
Ai Narita started the show for the Pretenders in the bottom of the 1st inning by battling through 8 pitches before he sent a hard grounder to right field for a single. We managed to get him to 3rd, but then he got stranded.
In the bottom of the 2nd Alberto Danzie singled to left and we got him to 3rd on two outs, then Nate Peterson hit a hard grounder to a diving short-stop that normally would've given him an infield RBI-single but unfortunately Nate pulled his calf halfway down the line and got thrown out to end both the inning and his participation in the NM.
In the bottom of the 4th Pat Gunn took one for the team and later scored the first run of the game on Greg Jamanila's RBI-single to right-field. With the runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out the Pretenders had a huge opportunity to get more guys in but Thompson had other plans and stroke-out the next two batters to end the threat.
Bergen came alive in the top of the 5th as they loaded-up the bases on a hit-by-pitch followed by two singles. They tied the game on a sac-fly to right field, then took the lead on a HP-error-walk combo that gave them a 3-1 lead.
The Pretenders were never able to catch-up again as Thompson pitched a very strong complete game for the Wetsox.
For the Pretenders Joe also pitched a very strong complete game - going 7 innings with 9 Ks, 3 hits and only 2 earned runs.
Congrats to Bergen for their first (?) championship as they beat the Royals in the finals!
Bronze finale: 23-3 vs the Suns:
After a devastating loss in the semis, the Pretenders woke up the next day ready to at least get some sort of a medal home and gain some self-esteem back.
Facing a young home-squad from Kristiansand - the Pretenders showed no mercy until the umps told them enough was enough - the score ended 23-3 on a game-ending 2-RBI double by Ai in the bottom of the 4th.
In this game the whole team had at least one RBI-hit as they scored 9 runs in the 1st, 8 in the 2nd, and didn't finish until we had scored 23 runs.
On the mount Alec Haralovich pitched a solid complete game striking out 4 batters in 4 frames.
Note: in the bronze finale Darren McKellep got his lifetime RBI number 250 for the club - making him only the 4th ever in club history to reach this milestone.