One hard-fought win (19-14) and one tough loss (5-31) for the Rascals in season opening games.
By Leif Petter Sandvik
Alna, a new team in the NBL whose players all have Latin-American roots, proved to be a tough team to beat for the reigning champions. With several key players injured or absent, among them Pretenders icon and ever reliable backstop Terje Hoaas, the Rascals were a bit crippled from the outset of the games. 'Wild thing' Alejandro "Mojito" Made de Leon started on the mound in the first game for the Rascals. While the opponents had a difficult time getting a hit off of him, Mojito struggled with his control and walked several batters, thus giving Alna an early lead. In the top of the third inning the Pretenders offense got going and scored a total of 11 runs before the inning was over. The huge lead did not last long, however, as Alejandro's control problems continued. Leif Petter, despite his sore ankle, relieved him in the top of the 5th inning with the bases loaded and pitched the rest of the game. While Alna came close to taking the lead several times during the game, the Pretenders managed to hold them off and produce the runs necessary to keep the lead. Offensively for the Pretenders Leif Petter led the team going 4 for 4 with two home runs, two walks and 5 RBIs. Darren McKellep also had a great day going 3 for 3 with two walks. Additionally Luis Lara had a productive game, going 3 for 4.
Rascals' season opener at Rommen
The second game was disastrous for the Pretenders, but hopefully this will be a wake-up call, reminding us that Alna is a team to reckon with this year. Kaz started on the mound and had a great first inning, giving up only one run. Alna did however catch up to his curveball in the second inning, and due to several blunders by the defense behind Kaz, Alna scored several runs and continued to do so in the following innings. Luis and Anders relieved Kaz on the mound but the Rascals did not manage to change the flow of the game in their favor. The result is one to be forgotten, but we will come back strong and next time show Norway who the real champions are!