The Sharks woke up late this Saturday. Sundbyberg was up early and ready for the games. That mimics how the games were played. A shortened game one due to Sundbyberg’s hot bats and an exiting second game was up for display for the audience!
Hiba started out pitching for the Sharks. As always when Hiba pitches, it is with a huge love of the game and his team mates. As always when Hiba pitches he seems to need an inning to get lose to put his best work to the plate. He had to see a few opponents score early, but that wasn’t on his watch. The Gothenburg infield defense let their pitcher down. The pitcher/catcher/infield communication didn’t work out really well either, with seven stolen bases for the game. The fourth inning was when the numbers went through the roof. No more than eight runs was scored there. Even though Hiba had to give up a few runs on his account, the defense wasn’t able to help him out. The Sharks should have shut down that inning prior to when it actually ended. Not that anything of this matter, because with a run support of two (2!) you can’t afford to give up that many runs! Just a hint of what defensive numbers that were up; Sundbyberg scored 17 runs during the game and had 9 runs batted in (RBI). That means eight runs walked in due to mistakes. A run support of two is far away from making up for it…
A good thing they woke up after that!
Because that was what they did! If the team weren’t awake already, Curtis Dionne made his first appearance of the season to make the final wake up call to the team. The semi-retired Shark icon had the possibility to sneak in to a game and he meant business. He took on the catching position and managed to keep up with Jason’s pitching quite well. The Sundbyberg were forced to see their stealing numbers go down to the floor and was picked off once. Jason Norderum put up with six innings of pitching where he was in deep trouble a few times. He managed to get out of the jam but the team let two runs of which none were earned. Meanwhile the Gothenburg offense managed to produce three runs in the third and fourth. Curtis Dionne took over on the mound and kept the opponents scoreless in the seventh. He had to see the first batter in the eight get on base and then gave up a go ahead homer to Philip Gajzler. Curtis managed one more out before giving up the mound to Wilhelm Sundin who quickly shut down the inning with a double play.
Wilhelm’s pithing seems to have improved a lot the past year. A completely different speed in the pitches than what we’ve seen before.
Curtis was at bat with two outs and two Sharks on base in the eight caused some extra discussions among the fans afterwards. Curtis appeared to have checked his swing well ahead of the plate with full count on the board, but the plate umpire wasn’t sure and asked for the assistance of the second umpire. He was well positioned between the mound and the short stop and decided that he did not check his swing tearing down all comeback chances for Gothenburg there. Curtis managed to calm down after some initial frustration. That wasn’t something Johan Weidlolf managed to do in the top ninth where he was sent back to the dugout to calm down. What seemed to be a very solid play to second to get ahead of the runner was turned down by the very same umpire that put Curtis away earlier. Home plate ump couldn’t be of any help to overturn the decision and due to that play the Sundbyberg managed to score two more runs, setting the final score to 6-3 in favor of Sundbyberg.
It seems like the Sharks haven’t earned that extra little help of a correct bounce, a critical decision going their way just yet. The infield defense it a huge problem just now. Joe Lankford moved into the short stop position for the second game and Johan Weidolf taking over the third base, which gave that little extra stability that the Sharks were looking for. The catcher position and second base are still looking for some reliability and consistency.
Jason put up with some solid pitching but seemed to lose his concentration a few times almost costing him a stolen base, a pair of hit by pitch and an error at first base after leaving the mound. His offense and pitching is very impressive though. The Sharks other American Patrick Laffin is putting up a solid .368 for the season but was kind of quiet the last game. I’m not sure that he saw a single ball coming his way at center field the second game and put up with one hit. He went two for three in the first game. The defensive adjustments moving Joe Lankford to short stop and Weidolf to third and having Nicklas Ekström taking on first really tightened that infield defense, making it much harder for the Sundbyberg to get on base.
Even though the Sharks were reinforced with Curtis Dionne the second game making a huge difference, the team came out as a different team. They stood up for one another and really dared to make the plays! A much wanted shift mentally giving them some confidence for the future. Even though the Sharks still are looking for a win this season, that game is getting closer by the minute. They showed off some impressive come back will in game two giving them a chance to come back on top. Perhaps on Thursday vs the Swedish Academy? Will you support the Sharks at Shark Park versus the future of Swedish baseball?