Three years without a victory.
Göteborg B finally got back in the win column.
“This feels really good”, says Coleman Lukas.
The regional team season opener was a treat to watch. Malmö Pilots swung the bat well early in the first game. Despite Mikael Lindquist great pitching, Hajarna found themselves down 0-3. Josef Hussein came on in relief and threw two shutout innings but Hajarna could only muster one run offensively. That would soon change.
“Warm water in Malmö allowed Hajarna to go on a feeding frenzy”, says Jason Norderum, special assistant to the GM and executive advisor to the travel coordinator.
Göteborg got on the board early in the second game and Josef Hussein, now starting, threw a gem. Hussein tossed five no hit innings and seven total shutout innings.
Offensively, the runs kept coming for Hajarna. Solid hitting all through the game and the regionals first win in three years was a fact. The Pilots got two runs in the 7th but Hajarna took the game 12-2.
“Organizationally we improved throughout the whole weekend. And we’re obviously happy to have the regional team win for the first time in three years”, says Head Coach Coleman Lukas.
Hajarna was looking for two wins.
They went home empty handed.
“We got a lot of work to do”, says Coleman Lukas.
Hajarna took on the same team they beat last season to stay in the Elite series. This time though, it was a whole new ball game.
Botkyrka got started early in the first game. The home team team scored five runs in the first inning to give Hajarna a wake up call. Fighting back, Hajarna came within striking distance but this one was not meant to be. Botkyrka eventually took the game 15-5 in 8 innings.
The second one was a different story. Hajarna went up 3-0 early and the bats were on fire. Botkyrka fought back and eventually took the lead. When the 9th inning started, the home team was up 12-6 and it looked to be a blowout yet again.
But in the top of the 9th, Hajarna swam back to life. Göteborg rallied to score six runs to tie it up. This was, however, not Hajarnas day. A base hit and two intentional walks later loaded the bases and Hajarna was looking for and inning ending double play. The end result was a walk and Botkyrka could celebrate a second win.
“There’s good things and bad things but this is the start of the season and I saw a lot of things I liked going forward” says head coach Coleman Lukas.
The 2015 season starts like the last one ended.
A doubleheader against Botkyrka.
“We’re going to have a great season,” says Jason Norderum.
The long trip up to Seagull Park in Stockholm probably won’t feel as long as it did last season. Jason Norderum is excited about the club.
“So far, it’s a completely different feel as far as team energy and chemistry goes. And it’s a good feeling!”
The club’s other import, Coleman Lukas, has taken the reins as the Sharks’ head coach and if you’ve been out to Shark Park this spring, you’ve seen a whole new ball club.
“Coleman deserves a lot of credit, if not all of it. He is a great head coach and is doing things that a ball club should be doing and he’s doing it with a positive attitude.”
The 2014 season was not what you would call a success. Although it did end on a positive note with the Sharks taking a doubleheader at Shark Park to stay in the Elite series. But with the Karlskoga Bats withdrawal for this season, Botkyrka too will play Elite series baseball in 2015.
“Yes, I remember them from last season. They have a lot of big guys taking big swings and are looking to hit the ball out of the yard. It will be a challenge,” Norderum says.
The regional team opens up the season against the Malmö Pilots on Sunday. The Pilots won the southern regional series last season but Norderum is going down to Malmö looking for wins.
“Malmö is always a very competitive group of guys. But the regional team is on a good path, everybody is excited, everybody has improved. I think Malmö is gonna be in for a big surprise when the Sharks roll into town.”