Monthly Archives: August 2017

Sharks swim into second round after taking two from Malmö

At the start of last season, this team scrambled to get nine guys for a game.
The turnaround is real.
Göteborg Hajarna clinched a spot in the second playoff round.

As always, the matchup against the Malmö Pilots (0-16) proved to be the as friendly and pleasant as always. This time, Shark Park had standing room only as the bleachers were filled as game one got underway.

Göteborg Hajarna (9-5) got going right off the bat as they feasted on Pilots starter Eric Browne (0-7). The Pilots ace fought the Sharks batters and the strike zone as he walked nine sharks on the day.

With the offensive juggernaut that is José Muñoz atop the Sharks lineup, the home team did not look back after the first inning. They kept on walking like they were Nancy Sinatra and added three more runs in the third and fifth inning. An insurance run was added in the sixth to make it an even ten on the day.

The newly emerged, comebacking ace José Martinez (3-0) left nothing to chance as he started game one for the Sharks. Aside from the second inning when he let up a little and allowed two runs to pass home plate, he was very good indeed.

Martinez went the distance for his third win of the season. He gave up six hits, two runs (one earned) while striking out six and walking only third. Solidifying his position as one of the premier pitchers in the regional series.

“We played a solid game, only on defensive error. Despite a couple of miscues on the basepaths, I’m happy,” the interim manager, who filled in for Coach Jonny Edgren, said.

Interim manager trying not to mess up.

The second game of the day had quite possibly the longest first three innings of any baseball played. Ever. In the history of time. The pilots opened the scoring as they took two runs in the first. The Sharks answered right back with seven of their own as Pilots starter Thomas Hanses (0-3) fought valiantly against the strike zone. He ended up walking eleven Sharks in his three innings of work.

Hajarna capitalised on that and added five more runs in the second and six more in the third for a total of 18 runs against Malmös seven.

Sharks second starter of the day, ‘Swirvin’ Shervin Shakki (3-3) fought a totally different enemy in his start – baseballs. Despite pitching well and having great control, Shakki gave up seven runs (all earned) on the day. The problem was that all those balls found holes and/or players to bounce off of. It was quite comical on several occasions as it seemed the balls looked to hate gloves as much as the Lannisters hate Targaryens.

Shakki working the count.

Besides Muñoz, comeback kid Lars Karlsson and old friend Mokhlad al-Ghanimi led the offensive onslaught for the Sharks. Karlsson went 2-2 on the day with both hits being doubles and adding a walk. Karlsson is hitting has a solid .1000/.1500/.2500 slash line on the season.

“I’ve heard that winning is better than losing, so I swung the bat,” Karlsson humbly said after the game.

Overall, the Sharks saw some new faces at new positions. Besides Karlsson, Rickard Kronqvist did an admirable effort at first base, Eric Marquez did his best to be ‘Logie Bear‘ at 2nd base and white shark Johan Weidolf played third base like it was 1999.

“We have great depth, quite possibly the deepest team in the league. When we’re good, we’re good,” the interim manager said.

With the two wins and with some help from Alby, the Sharks has, as far as I can figure it out, clinched a spot in the second round of the playoffs. Therefore, the likely matchup will be against Alby and it will be on the road.


Niclas Ekströms injury concerns continues. He was also not hit by a pitch.

Kronqvist stole a base.

Ted Bratsberg was seen in the stands. He did not help out while the fence was set up.

In the first game, only one run was scored as an RBI.

Sharks sweep Pilots, clinch some kind of playoff

With the Pilots in town, it’s always a fun day at Shark Park.
This was a lot of fun for the Sharks faithful as the hometeam took both games.

In front of a sold out Shark Park, the Sharks took game one 10-2 behind a solid complete game from emerging ace pitcher José Martinez. Except for one inning when he worked out of a bases loaded jam, Martinez was never really in trouble. Solidifying his position in the rotation.

For the second game, Shervin Shakki tossed five innings of seven run ball and really should have had a prettier line. Alas, a lot of balls bounced off of him or the weird infield to give the Pilots base hits. It did give him another victory as the Sharks bats came to life and scored no less than 18 runs.

The Pilots battled through a depleted pitching staff but fought valiantly to keep the game close.

Next stop is the playoffs and the Sharks organization is still awaiting word from the matchup between Enskede and Alby to know if it will be in the first or second round.

Khazal praises off season regimen for success

A new season is almost over.
The same catcher has anchored the Sharks.
And he is better than ever.
“He’s the cornerstone of our defense,” coach Edgren says.

For years now, Toofan Khazal has been the other end of numerous batteries as the Gothenburg Sharks has plowed their way through the regional- and Elitserien play. For years, it has been a not so appreciated position within the organization.

Khazal has more often than not been asked to catch all 14 innings on a traditional gameday. As he is not a young man anymore, one could think that takes it’s toll. But no, the 42-year old keeps putting in the work and getting better each year.

Catcher Khazal can walk the walk.

“I’m working hard off the field. All off season, it’s all about getting stronger and to have that endurance to last a full season,” Khazal says.

And it has payed off. The longtime catcher has especially worked on his throws during this offseason and is now leading the league in caught stealing average at .139 – double from last season. He is also second in caught stealing/9 innings.

1 Toofan Khazal, Göt 10 64.1 6 30 3 6 1 1 2 37 6 .139 5.2 0.8
2 Sean T Kim, Mal 14 80.1 22 71 2 16 7 3 2 90 11 .108 10.1 1.2
3 Magnus Eklund, Ume 6 33.1 8 11 1 8 1 0 0 19 2 .095 5.1 0.5

“I’m more focused, more concentrated on the task at hand. It’s been rewarding for sure,” Khazal says.

Since 2015, the Sharks faithful has also seen catcher Khazal, also known as ‘Grumpy’, take on a kind of a captain role for the team. A Team dad, if you will. On a regular basis, he is directing the defense and his pitching staff both during gamedays and at practice.

“It’s been great. This year, we have better communication within the team which helps me a lot.”

“Yes, maybe I’m more of a leader but I got to give a hand to our squad who’s taken great strides in communicating better and that makes my job easier every day.

As the Sharks take on the Malmö Pilots on Saturday, they have already clinched a playoff spot. But for the team, and for Khazal, the double header is of great importance.

This might be the only time Khazal’s pants were not sparkling white.

If the Sharks sweep on Saturday, they have a chance to finish in the top three and go straight to the second leg of the playoffs. For Khazal, who can’t participate in the first playoff leg, that is crucial.

“I always want to win ballgames, but yes, after this season it would be pretty great to be able to finish it off with a good playoff run,” Khazal says.

“And yeah, winning is better than losing, right?” he says as he runs off the field.

Come out to Shark Park and enjoy the ballgames on Saturday against the friendly Malmö Pilots. First pitch is at 12!

Heartbreak, blowout and walkover wins

The Sharks has taken a lot of step forwards during the season.
Against the Firehawks, it was not far enough.
“We could be an Elitserien team again pretty soon,” Edgren says.

The Sölvesborg Firehawks (10-1) hosted the Sharks (7-5) on Sunday after a lengthy road trip for their Elitserien team where they played eight games in six days. And it was somewhat a mangled homeside that showed up, but still with the majority of the players made out of Elitserien players.

José Muñoz led off the game for the Sharks and got the scoring going right away as he gave the Sharks a 1-0-lead against the Firehakws starter Kevin Trudel (2-1).

José Martinez got the nod to start game one for the Sharks and started out great. He held the FIrehawks to one run in the first three innings and the Sharks kept going as they put up three more runs in the second. In the fourth, the hometeam had sort of figured Martinez out and tied the game up at four runs a piece.

Martinez was dealing.

The Sharks added a run in the fifth but the Firehawks tied it once more. Göteborg Hajarna kept on building that picket fence and went in to the bottom of the 7th leading 7-5. With Mokhlad al-Ghanimi on the mound, this game seemed all but over. The Firehawks, however, was not done. They chased al-Ghanimi off the mound and coach Edgren turned to starter Shervin Shakki (2-2) for the save. After a couple of questionable defensive plays for the Sharks, the hometeam could walk it off on a single with two outs that hit off of Jun Konos glove.

Khazal mumbled that winning was better than losing.

“We played well. As well as we’ve had all season and showed that we can play against an Elitserien team,” coach Jonny Edgren said in the post game interview.

As for the second game, the Göteborg Hajarna side looked heartbroken after the first one and well… let’s just forget about that one (Firehawks wone 10-0 in five innings).

On Wednesday, other news came in as the Norrköping Blue Sox, whom the Sharks were supposed to face on Saturday, had to cancel the games as they could not field a team.

“Norrköping Blue Sox:s hemmamatcher mot Göteborg nu på lördag den 5 augusti är tyvärr inställda. En lång skade- och sjukdomslista i vår A-trupp kombinerat med semestertider gör att vi inte får ihop en tillräckligt stor trupp för att klara lördagens dubbelmöte. Nästkommande dubbelmatcher i Regionserien blir nu borta mot Los Nicas i Alby den 20/8 och hemma mot Stockholm Bombers den 27/8.”

That leaves the Sharks at nine wins on the season and the playoff clinch looks awfully close.


Hernan Martinez turned it what was probably one of the best umpire performances all season.

Muñoz leads the league in stolen bases and al-Ghanimi is tied for second in the same category.

al-Ghanimi and Martinez are second and fourth, respectively, in K/9.

The Sharks were only charged with one error in the first game. Needless to say, that would have been great but this mention has to go to the official scorer.