Monthly Archives: May 2015

Regional Sharks start slow, finish swimmingly

One blowout loss, one nailbiting win.
Was that really the same team?
“We always win game two,” Jason Nordeum says.

The Sharks regional team finally got to play baseball again after a three week long layoff following a split series i Malmö. Needless to say, they were fired up.

Unfortunately, everyone on the team will hopefully soon forget game one. Tranås (4-2) ran wild with the somewhat sloppy Sharks (2-2) defense. The Shark Park fans were not amused when game one ended in a 15-1 loss in five innings.

The second game would prove to be a whole different ball game. Göteborg Hajarna took a big bite off Tranås in the third inning and taking a 7-0 lead. Apparently, the elite teams offensive surge this season has rubbed off on the regional team. Or vice versa.

Tranås would regroup and let the bats talk once more. In the fourth and fifth inning Tranås kept on hitting the ball well and would eventually tie the game at eight runs a piece in the top of the sixth inning.

But in this one, the Sharks would hang one to their prey.

Ted Bratsberg provided the pitching that was needed in relief and picked up his first win of the season. Hajarna took the lead in the bottom of the sixth and made good plays in the top of the seventh to win game two 9-8 and earn a split.

“The Sharks regional team don´t always lose game one of a double header, but when they do, they always win game two.” says Jason Norderum, special assistant to the General Manager and advisor to the Executive of transportation.

Hajarna threatens, can´t finish off Monarchs

Two losses might seem like history repeationg itself.
Compared to last season, it wasn´t.
“We played pretty solid baseball,” Coleman Lukas says.

The Stockholm Monarchs (7-0) and Göteborg Hajarna (2-6) came in to Saturdays double header leading the league in runs scored. Anyone looking for a high scoring affair was disappointed by the first game. Starting pitchers Jason Norderum and Jakob Claesson battled each other through six innings trading zeroes until the Sharks took the lead in the bottom of the third. That would, however, be the lone run the Sharks got in this one.

The Monarchs came back in the top of the fourth to tie the game up and taking the lead in the fifth. Norderum, as always, gave the Sharks solid pitching. He allowed two runs (one earned) and struck out nine in his six innings of work. Claesson picked up his fourth win of the season giving up one unearned run and striking out five, lowering his ERA to 0.38. The Sharks threatened late in the game but hit in to a double play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning. Stockholm added to their lead and took game one 5-1.

The second game proved to be more of that offensive surge that both teams are known for. Hiba Nabi started the game for Göteborg and battled through seven innings for the Sharks and kept the home team within fighting distance. The Sharks became the first team to score off of the Monarchs game two starter, Dylan Driscoll, and swung the bats well. Unfortunately for Hajarna, Stockholm swung theirs even better.

“We played pretty solid baseball,” Coleman Lukas said after the game.

Kono key playThe Sharks battled, manufacturing runs all through this one. June Kono, playing his first game in the Hajarna uniform, looked safe when the home team rallied in the eight inning but was called out at the plate. Stockholm eventually went on to win game two 9-5.

“The season is long, right now it´s not about the results but the process. We´re playing better baseball than a month ago,” Coleman Lukas says.

His boots were made for walking

A walk is as good as a hit.
Just ask Erik Earnest.
“Baseball is in my blood.”

If you’ve been out to Shark Park this season, you probably noticed a familiar face out running the bases.
Erik Earnest has been catching, pitching and playing center field.
But most of all, he’s been walking.

Coming in to Saturdays double header against reigning champions Stockholm, Earnest leads the league in walks per total at bats. His On Base Percentage is at .645, good for third in the league.
In fact, as far as bases on balls is concerned, Earnest is playing in a league of his own. Leading the BB/TAB with more than 40 points and distancing third place with about 70.

“I like to get on base and rattle the pitcher,” Earnest says.

The fact that he is back out there, running the bases in a Sharks uniform is a good thing for the organization. After playing two years at Bakersfield College, he sat out most of the 2014 Elite series season. The motivation just wasn’t there.
This season, it is.

“It’s great to be out there again, I just needed a break from it. Baseball is in my blood.”

With Hajarna picking up two wins against the Academy, and looking good doing so, Earnest has his goal set.

“We should be out there when the playoffs get started.”

The Stockholm Monarchs will take on Hajarna for a double header at Shark Park on Saturday. It will certainly be a challenge for Göteborg as the reigning champions travel south unbeaten this season. The Monarchs has been fueled by great pitching in the early stages of the season as Dylan Driscoll (0.00) and Jakob Claesson (0.53) lead the league in ERA.

“I know a couple of guys on that team, it’s going to be fun,” Earnest says.

First pitch is at 13.00 – make sure to be there.

Heat can’t swim, Sharks can drive

When it rains it pours.
The Sharks arrived at a rainy Örvallen, the national baseball stadium, in Sundbyberg on Sunday.
Just to go home again.
By the time of first pitch, the games against Sundbyberg Heat were cancelled due to the massive amounts of rain.

Hajarna did advance in the standings anyway. Akademin lost both games away to Sölvesborg and dropped to sixth. With six games played, Göteborg Hajarna stands one game back of Botkyrka, currently in the last playoff spot.

Hajarnas next game will be on May 23 against the defending champions Stockholm Monarchs. First pitch is set for 13.00 at Shark Park.

Offensive surge continues, Hajarna took two

The Boat has indeed turned. The island is within reach. Göteborg Hajarna (2-4) took both games against Swedish Academy (2-2) when the Elite series continued on thursday.

The first game was never in doubt. As always, Jason Norderum pitched well and this time got something to show for it. Five shutout innings was all the Sharks needed as the offensive surge continued and the defensive side was stellar. Hajarna eventually went on to win game on 12-2 in eight innings.

In the second game, Hajarna picked up where they left off. A sunny Shark Park crowd watched the home team go up five innings and Anders Nygren pitched well on the mound. Trouble came in the sixth when the Academy scored two runs and loaded the bases with no outs. Nygren was done for the day and Coleman Lukas put himself on the mound.

With that, the Academy was also done. Hajarna added some insurance runs and took game two 10-3.

“This was a team win. The offense continued, every guy in the lineup contributed and we made the plays,” head coach Coleman Lukas says.

Lukas: “The boat has turned”

New season, same result.
Will it end like last season?
“We have turned the boat around, now we got to reach that island,” Coleman Lukas says.

One could argue that this season looks exactly like the last one. Four games played, four losses. Hajarnas Elite series baseball team has had a couple of tough losses and is still looking for their first win of the season.
On Thursday, that might change.

“I don´t see why we can´t be 4-4 come sunday”, says head coach Coleman Lukas.

If you look deeper at this seasons record, you will understand what he´s talking about. Last season, Hajarna scored five runs through four games.
In 2015 that number is up to 31.
Granted, the run differential is still negative, but only two teams has scored more runs than Hajarna in 2015.

“Turning a team from 2-20 to 10-10 is a lot to do. We´re 0-4 this season, but it´s a better 0-4 than last season.”

Lukas has put a lot of faith in new guys, young guys. When he talks about the players and the club, it´s about the future. That players will develop and improve. They will understand why they are out there.

“Putting people in new positions, that´s what creates mental toughness. It gives you the butterflies, but you will also recognize that you´re good enough to be there.”

The mental side is something Lukas returns to. He expects his players to want the ball. To stand out on that field and hoping to make all 27 outs of a game. The mental part is deeply rooted in his coaching style and something he wants the club, as a whole, to embrace.

“I think right now, people might be afraid of losing. That´s something we need to eradicate.”

Still, the club is 0-4.
Still, the club, the players and the coach wants more.
When going up against the Academy on Thursday, he knows what his new ballclub will bring.

“We´re going to compete in every game. Like that game in Botkyrka where we had a six run rally to tie it up in the ninth, that was great”.

The Sharks take on the Academy on Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 12.00.

Two losses, lots of positives

A team may succeed in many ways.
Like, becoming one.
“It was a learning experience,” Maria Kühnemuth says

When Göteborg Hajarna opened up the softball season on Sunday, it was a new team out there. It showed. In a good way.

The Sharks came out with a lot of energy, excitement and eagerness to play. The team, who has been battling all winter to mold themselves to one unit, surely looked like one. The communication was strong, teammates helping out each other everywhere and players getting their first taste of a real softball game.

Skövde came out on the field looking like the veteran team they are. After taking an early lead, they never really looked back winning the first game 23-8. Hajarna, it must be noted, never gave up. They tried desperatly to trim that deficit and had a lot of good swings, all through the lineup.

“Every player got on base, one way or another. And the base running was phenomenal!” Kühnemuth says.

The sun came out at Shark Park, the field so wet it felt more like a shark tank, but Hajarna dropped game two as well. Although playing better than the first game, Skövde won 10-0. Hajarna was sharper defensivly and Maria Kühnemuth saw a strong middle infield combination:

“There was a couple of excellent plays from shortstop Kristie Evegren and second baseman Lynn André,” Kühnemuth says.

Leksand spoil home opener for Hajarna

Göteborg Hajarna (0-4) came in to Saturdays game looking to swing the bats. They got on the board early and kept going from there. Timely hitting and solid defense made sure that the Sharks were up 9-2 through five innings.

Leksand Lumberjacks (3-1) had a hard time figuring out Hajarna starting pitcher Jason Norderum. The American had 9 strikeouts and two outs in the bottom of the fifth when the Sharks ran in to trouble. The Lumberjacks scored six runs before the Sharks got that third out and Norderum was done for the day. Leksand kept going and added four more runs and keeping Hajarnas offense at bay. Hajarna brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth but Joe Lankford popped out to end the game at 12-9 in favour of the visitors.

The steady rain continued as the second game got underway. This time, it was the other way around. Leksand jumped on Hajarna in the top of the first and was up 5-0 before the Sharks could get out of it. A late surge from the home team was not enough and the Lumberjacks won the second game 10-5.

Göteborg Hajarna don´t have to wait long to get another crack at their first win of the season. On Thursday May 14th, Akademin will be at Shark Park for a double header. First pitch is at 12.00.

The wait is over – softball is back

New team, new season, new players, new series.
It could have been easier.
“This will be really good”, says Heidi Bader.

Sunday is a day that Heidi Bader has been looking forward to. When the softball team start their season, it will certainly be a challenge. But not impossible. This team surely looks like a team with a capital T.

“That is where we are strong, helping each other. That is what we are strongest right now and where we need to be strong”, says Heidi Bader.

The decision to once again get Hajarnas softball team up and running were made last season. If you add veterans and mix in a couple of rookies, that is where the team is right now.
A hard working, unpolished team.
Shark Tank has been their home all winter. Getting to know one another. Finding each other. But the real break came when Shark Park opened in April.

“There´s a few players that hasn´t played before and I think that was big for them. Running out on the field, see the bases, standing at their positions”.

When first pitch is delievered against Skövde on Sunday, two players will know the opponents a little better than others. Maria Kuhnemuth and Rachel Keefe played has played with Skövde and that might prove to be the difference.

“They know the players, where they are strong and if they have any weaknesses.”

Bader is humble as the season starts. The team don´t have a set goal to pick up wins. They want to get better, improve in all areas. But Bader can´t deny what she really wants.

“Win. I´m not sure I dare hope for that yet, we´re still such a new team. If we can perform well, limit our mistakes and keep games close…”.

And when Hajarna bring home that Swedish Championship to Göteborg?
“Next season”, says Heidi Bader laughing.

Trolle looking for more

First Elite series game is in the books.
Now, the world awaits.
“Baseball will take me where it takes me”, says Trolle Brandt.

Starting at shortstop and not even 16 years old. One can be nervous for less. But Trolle handled that pressure like a pro. Coombining two hits, his first in Elite series play, with solid defense.

“I was pretty nervous, but also a lot of fun!”

Playing two regional games last season, he is still a rookie. Though he played a lot with the national team in Germany, Brandt was still surprised he got to start against Botkyrka. When head coach Coleman Lukas gave him the nod, he took it the right way.

“I was glad, we have a lot of good players so I didn’t think I was starting”.

But he did start, and finished both games. A combined 17 innings at shortstop is now history and Brandt didn’t disappoint anyone.

“I was able to play good defense, limiting my defensive mistakes. But it felt really good to have my first hit”.

He has his path cut out for him. With the season going forward the goals are set. But he is looking for more. Brandt won’t be satisfied with Hajarna and Sweden. The world is his playground.

“Hopefully, I’ll attend the Academy this fall, and hopefully college after that. After that… I
don’t know. Baseball will take me where it takes me”.

Hajarna pitcher, Jason Norderum, who´s seen Trolle Brandt evolve since last season is impressed. He talks about a talent that shows great work ethic and passion for the game. About a player who sets high goals and achieves them.

“As a coach, you can show players the door to success but you can´t make them walk through it. This winter, Trolle has busted down that door and sprinted through it”, Norderum says.

For now, Hajarna is his main focus. Even in Sweden, the season is long and Brandt is humble to what the summer might bring:
“My goal is to play as many games as possible, play good defense, better offense.”

On saturday, Hajarna face off with Leksand at Shark Park, their first home game of the season. It will be a good test for Hajarna as they try to build on the positive feeling they’ve had so far.

“They played in the finals last season so it will be a challenge. We’ll face better pitching than last weekend, it will be though”.