Pretenders win the Bronze Final in the Playoffs
Rommen, Oslo, September 25th, 2022
After a somewhat disappointing semifinal against the Suns, the Pretenders turned it around in the Bronze Final and showed discipline, athleticism, and winning attitude to take a solid step forward and win the bronze medal.
After a marathon-race in August and September where the Pretenders pretty much had to win every single game to qualify for the playoffs - they went 6-2 - the time had finally arrived for the squad to rise and shine.
Semifinal vs Kr.sand Suns (3-8):
In the semifinal the Pretenders faced the winner of the West Division - Kristiansand Suns.
The Pretenders took the lead 2-1 in the top of the 3rd after Luca Torti opened the inning with a hard double down the leftfield line - followed by two walks, hit by pitch and a single by Terje Hoaas. The Pretenders also stranded two runners and another one got caught stealing at 3rd in the same frame.
However in the bottom of the 4th the Pretenders put themself in a tough spot.. Ty Tollestrup who started on the hill for the squad had cruised through the first three innings - only giving up one unearned run. In the 4th the Suns filled up the bases on walks and hit by pitches and after two runs scored the Pretenders gave the ball over to Ai Narita who did pretty much everything right in a very difficult situation, except for a lousy bloop single that scored a couple of more runs. The Suns took a devastating 2-6 lead.
The Pretenders were never able to come back in the game as they stranded 8 guys on the bases.
A very frustrating loss as it felt more like we beat ourselves than anything else.
Bronze Final vs Bergen Wetsox (14-6):
If there is one thing the Pretenders have been very good at in 2022 - then it is to let a tough loss go and turn it around and focus on the next game. And the last weekend of the season was no different. The semifinal was a tough loss to swallow - but on the next day - the final day of the season - the Pretenders showed up with pure poise and determination.
Enrico Guerrini started the show in the bottom of the 1st inning with a soft single - followed by Ai Narita and James Theodos who loaded up the bases on a hit by pitch and a walk. Ben Atkins continued and singled in two of them to take a 2-1 lead.
Bergen on the other hand had no plans of letting the medal go without a real fight and took the lead right back in the top of the 2nd after a couple of hits. In the bottom of the 2nd the Pretenders tied up the game on an E3, wild pitch and a single by James Theodos.
In the semifinal, this was the time of the game where everything went completely South - but in the Bronze Final, this was the time the Pretenders went off the charts! Andreas Erga started the inning with a walk - so did Ryan Goedecke - but then the Pretenders smashed three doubles in a row - of Terje Hoaas, Enrico Guerrini and Ai Narita. James Theodos got on on a bizarre error as no one was covering first when the throw arrived at the bag. Ben Atkins continued his great day with yet another RBI-single. At the end of the frame the Pretenders had taken a 8-3 lead.
However, the game was by all means not over. Enrico Guerrini - who started on the mound for the Pretenders - had settle down and had made seven outs in a row before Bergen got themself back in the game by scoring three runs on two hits, a hit by pitch and a walk. Darren McKellep - the one-pitch-wonder - took over the ball with one out and the runners on the corners.... and threw two pitches to get out of the jam on a spectacular double-play. Ai Narita - the architect behind the whole play - caught an almost impossible one-hopper up the middle, flipped the ball over to Enrico at 2nd who fired the ball to first for a game-changing inning-ending double-play.
The Pretenders added 5 more runs in the next two innings on a single by Ben Atkins, a bases-loaded walk by Terje Hoaas and a 2-RBI-single by Darren McKellep off the bag at first.
The Pretenders won the Bronze Final 14-6!
Best of the best:
Enrico Guerrini: 5-8 with a double, 3 R, 4 RBIs and a win with 4.1 IP
Ben Atkins: 3-6 with 2 R and 2 RBIs
Terje Hoaas: 3-6 with a double and 2 RBIs