As one winning streak ended, another began.
Sunday was an offensive outburst for the Sharks.
“We had pretty good discipline today,” coach Edgren says.
The surprisingly large turnout at Shark Park did not have much fun as game one got underway. Behind starter Mikael Lindquist (0-1), Göteborg Hajarna (7-3) were guilty of sloppy and unfocused defense. And as the Sharks faithful always preach, you can’t do that against Tranås (3-3).
The away team got to an early 5-0 lead in the 1st and added three more runs in the 3rd until the Sharks smelled blood and got back to life. Behind surprise relief pitcher number one of the day, Jonny Edgren, the Sharks added one run in the bottom half of the 3rd, three in the 4th and three in the 5th to make this a game again.
Alas, this one was not for the Sharks. A very questionable balk and an umpire missing a tag at third cost the Sharks one run in the 6th and one in the 7th. The Tranås side added another one to go into the bottom half of the 7th leading 11-8.
With two outs, the Sharks got going again and added two runs. With the tying run 90 feet away, Jun Kono, who was fighting a bad stomach, unfortunately flew out to center to end the game at 11-10 to Tranås, ending the Sharks four game winning streak.
“This is what happens when you give up those extra nineties, it cost us this game,” coach Edgren says.
With a depleted pitching staff, it was most welcome news when ace Mokhlad al-Ghanimi (3-1) unexpectedly showed up to play. Even with al-Ghanimi on the mound, the runs kept coming for Tranås anyway.
The former Iraqi national team player was somewhat erratic on the mound, hitting six Tranås players and walking five. He did, however, also go on to strike out seven leaving the Sharks defense with little to deal with. Behind the plate, veteran catcher Toofan Khazal was brilliant as he saved al-Ghanimi from having more than the four wild pitches that he amounted to.
After giving up one run in the 1st and two in the second, the Sharks fought back and tied the game in the bottom of the second. With that, al-Ghanimi settled down a little and looked more like his old self.
In relief came the second surprise relief pitcher of the day; none other than Kris Bryant’s best bud – Rickard Kronqvist. Making his regional series debut, Kronqvist was excellent and got some help from a solid defense. Kronqvist ended up getting the save, pitching three scoreless innings and giving up just two hits and a walk.
“Kris is most likely proud of me right now. He thinks winning is better than losing, so there’s that,” Kronqvist says.
At the plate, the Sharks added three more runs in the fifth and loaded the bases on multiple occasions without getting the clutch hit. However, the Sharks looked very good at the plate. Seldom wasting at bats and every player got on base one way or another. Promising for things to come.
Order was restored as Niclas Ekström was once again hit by a pitch in the first game.
Joel Earnest made history in all kinds of ways. In the first game, he had his first career infield hit and then topping it with his first career double.
José Muñoz made a dazzling play when diving for a ball to get the out at second and combining with al-Ghanimi and Johan Weidolf to complete a slick double play in the 7th inning of the second game. A play that most likely would make the highlight reel in any MLB game.
Göteborg Hajarna has not scored ten runs and lost since 2012.