The Pretenders clinch the NM title!
Sola, August 20th 2018
With the NRK broadcasting the NM finale live for the first time in the Norwegian Baseball history, the Pretenders made sure to put up a great show for the entire nation.
In the Semifinal on last Saturday the Pretenders faced a well prepared ØHIL Royals. The game turned quickly into a pitcher's duel between the top two pitchers in the country - Emil Fjellvang vs Alex Guilford.
The Royals scored in the top of the 1st inning with the runners on the corners and one out as the 1st base runner got caught up in a run-down after a pick-off attempt by Guilford. But instead of making sure to get an out, the runner from 3rd scored and the 1st base runner got back to the bag safely. Guilford managed however to retire the next two batters to get out of the inning.
In the bottom of the 1st inning the Pretenders tied up the game after an rbi-double by Matt Connell to score Guilford from 2nd base. The Pretenders scratched out another run in the 3rd on yet another rbi-double by Connell.
In the bottom of the 5th inning the Pretenders had the bases loaded and one out after a single by Terje Myhrer-Hoaas, a hit-by-pitch to Leif P Sandvik - his second HBP in the head in the last two games - and a walk to Connell. Pintch-hitter Håkon Jåtun managed to get a bases-loaded-walk after getting behind 0-2 i the count, Nate Peterson followed up with an infield-single pasted the pitcher and Ryan Goedecke got another bases-loaded-walk to take a 5-1 lead.
The finale score ended 5-1, mainly due to Guilford great performance on the mound as he fanned 12 batters and only gave up two hits, a walk and a HBP. Terje Myhrer-Hoaas helped him out a bit as he gunned down two runners at 2nd base.
With live coverage of the finale the Pretenders were eager to put up a great show and the finale turned out to be a nail-biter as both teams wanted to win the title.
The Pretenders took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning as Ryan Goedecke smashed a liner in the right-center gap for a stand-up-double to score Matt Connell from 2nd base. In the bottom of the 4th Martinius Hars got an rbi-single to score Goedecke from 2nd.
The Wetsox answered big in the top of the 5th as they took the lead 3-2 after 4 consecutive hits after two outs to knock Leif P Sandvik off the mound. Guilford took over the ball and retired the last batter of the inning.
In the bottom of the same inning the Pretenders answered right back with 3 runs of their own as Darren McKellep, Guilford, Sandvik and Peterson notched a hit each. The Pretenders could've scored more as they had the bases loaded with only one out, but the Wetsox got out of it with a rare 1-2-3 double play.
In the top of the 7th inning Guilford faced the tying runner at the plate but punched-out the last batter on three pitches to clinch the 21st NM title for the club.
Two plays were up for a lot of discussion:
As the game was broadcasted live on NRK, two plays in particular were discussed heavily on the social media. The first one was in the bottom of the 3rd inning as the Pretenders had a runner on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Sandvik hits a flyball to left field and Myhrer-Hoaas tags up on 3rd and runs home. The ball totally beat Mullah at the plate but the throw was a bit off and Myhrer-Hoaas managed to get under the tag at home. But the call was out and Bergen recorded a great double play and got out of that inning with no harm done.
The other play was in the top of the 5th as the Wetsox hit a grounder to 3rd and Connell threw a one-hopper to 1st. Guilford seemingly caught the ball while standing on the bag and got run over by the batter and the ball got loose. The initial call from the 1st base umpire was out - that Guilford had the possession of the ball before the collision, but the 3rd base umpire overturned the call as he claimed the ball was not in his possession when the batter ran him over. The call gave the Wetsox their 3-2 lead in that inning.
Luckily for the Pretenders neither calls mattered in the end but they were both very frustrating at the time. Other than these two plays, the umpire-crew did a great job in the finale.
Best of the best:
- Alex Guilford: 2 Wins, 8.1 IP, 15 Ks, 2 hits, BB, HBP, ER and 3-6, Double, 2 R, RBI
- Matt Connell: 3-6, 2 Doubles, 2 R, 2 RBIs, SB
- Terje Myhrer-Hoaas: 3-6, 3 R, SB, 2 BB,
- Nate Peterson: 2-5, 2 RBIs
- Ryan Goedecke: 2-5, Dobuel, 2 RBIs