The Pretenders finish strong in the NM
Dønnestad, Kristiansand June 26th 2022
The Pretenders played two games in the NM this year - one against the winner - Vålerenga - and one against the last place team - Aviators. It was very clear which end of the scale the Pretenders belonged to after this weekend.
Game 1 vs. Vålerenga: 2-5 in extra innings
The Pretenders were supposed to play against the Sola Aviators in the quarterfinals this year, but after Trondheim dropped out of the tournament the Pretenders ended up as the unlucky team to face the undefeated Vålerenga in the first round. But what a game it ended up being!
Ai Narita started on the mound for the Pretenders and showed poise from the first pitch of the game. With great efficiency and mix of pitches, he faced only 10 batters in the first 3 innings. In the top of the 4th Ai got himself into a jam. With the bases loaded and two outs he had no other choice but attacking the zone. That resulted in a hard hit liner - right at Enrico Guerrini at short stop to end the threat.
With the score 0-0 after the top of the 4th, the Pretenders finally got something going. Darren McKellep started the inning with his 2nd hit-by-pitch of the game followed by a walk from Andreas Erga and Ty Tollestrup. With the bases loaded and two outs, Terje Hoaas smacked a 2-run double down the left-field line to take an important 2-0 lead.
But Vålerenga answered right away in the top of the 5th. After 2 walks, 2 hits and a HP, Ty took over the ball from Ai and retired the next two batters to end the inning. But the damage had already happened as Vålerenga tied up the game at 2-2.
After 7 innings the game was still tied-up at 2-2 and this meant extra innings that starts with two runners on (speed-up rule). With the bases loaded and one out, Ty surrendered two hits to the next three batters that resulted in 3 runs to Vålerenga. With their backs towards the wall in the bottom of the 8th the Pretenders fought bravely but ended up just short.
A bittersweet loss to their ex-team mates, but the Pretenders played their best game of the year and can be proud of their great effort - the best game of the NM in 2022.
On defense the entire team preformed their season best:
- Lukasz Trepczyk had a busy day at 3rd with 3 assists and 2 put-outs. In particular his inning-ending diving catch with the bases loaded in the 5th was a great highlight.
- Darren made an inning-ending spectacular diving catch in LF with two runners on to prevent VIF to take the lead. Some says it was even more spectacular than Ryan Goedecke's catch in the play-offs last year.
- Terje threw out both wannabe base-stealers with two great throws to 2nd. One of them was out by over 2 meters.
Game 2 vs Sola Aviators: 21-3
With a tough loss to Vålerenga - who ended up winning the NM this year - in game 1, the Pretenders showed up with great attitude and focus in game 2 and jumped all over the Aviators. With 5 runs in each of the first two innings followed by 2 in the 3rd and over-powering 9 runs in the 4th, the Aviators never had a chance.
The entire team produced at the plate as the top 5 batters in the line-up batted in 2 runs each.
- Darren's 2-RBI single in the 1st inning.
- Terje's RBI double in the 3rd
- Alf's RBI double in the 4th
Even though the Pretenders ended up at the 5th spot in the NM this year, the team played two great games and have a lot of positive results to build on for the 2nd half of the season in August.
Great job guys! Proud of the Pretenders!
Best of the best:
Terje Hoaas: 2-4 with 2 doubles, 3 BB and 5 RBIs
James Theodos: 3-8 with a double, 4 runs and 2 RBIs
Ai Narita: 2-7 with a triple, 4 runs and 3 RBIs, plus 4.1 IP with 2 Ks
Ty Tollestrup: 5.2 IP in 2 games with 3 Ks