Monthly Archives: August 2018

Sharks back in contention

Last Sunday, the Sharks were pretty much assured of a first-round playoff spot, but two days later, this was no longer the case. After the Malmö Pilots were forced to forfeit their last two games of the season due to a temporary shortage of players, a special rule in the Swedish Baseball and Softball Federation’s regulations came into play, stipulating elimination of a team that is unable to play its final two games. The Pilots disappeared from the standings, along with the Sharks’ four wins against them. And without those wins the Sharks suddenly had a losing record. A return to the playoffs seemed unlikely.

But with Alby’s two surprising wins over Tranås today, the Sharks are back in contention. And if they can take two from a young and hungry Skövde squad next weekend, the team can pack their bags for a trip to Umeå and the first round of the 2018 regional playoffs.

Epic comeback + blowout = broomsticks

First regular games against the young Skövde Saints could have ended poorly.
Fortunately, the Sharks reached for some heroics late.
“Patience like snake,” Hiba Nabi says.

The Göteborg Hajarna (8-6) was indeed wriggling to start the first game against the Skövde Saints (4-10) on Sunday. Almost wriggling to stay alive at all. They did, however, start according to plan when earning a run in the first inning  to take the lead.

Skipper Jonny Edgren had a weird conversation with himself when he nodded to his reflection to take the mound and start game one. Then again, the Skipper needs to have full confidence in his starter.

Edgren actually looked kind of sharp, though on occasion rusty. Struggling with his control on occasion and gave out five free passes in his four innings of work. On the other hand, he only gave up three runs on three hits while punching out six.

“I always want to win. So when I gave the nod to Edgren to start the game I did have belief in him,” Edgren says… talking about himself.

Edgren handed the ball over to legendary pitcher Hiba Nabi and, well, it could have gone better. Game was all tied up at three in the fifth when Nabi struggled immensely from the get go. Walking five, he obviously struggled to get the ball over the plate as he gave up six runs on one hit in his 0,1 inning of work. Surely, Nabi will find his way back to his old days when the rust has been shaken off.

Josef Hussein relieved Nabi on the mound, but I forgot to write that.

Anyway, Skövde scored seven runs in the fifth and one in the seventh to lead it 11-3 in the last frame and the game looked all but settled. The Sharks faithful looked more interested in the delicious hot dogs than the field.

For some reason, Coach Edgren looked to this reporter to pinch hit and lead off the inning and he did not screw up. Starting it off with a single, the Sharks smelled blood. David Karadag struggled with his command and the young Saints squad showed some lack of experience on the defensive side to load the bases again and again.

The Sharks kept on hitting, walking and getting hit by pitches. As this reporter came up for the second time, he represented the winning run. A long single off the glove of Pontus Hummerhielm scored Josef Hussein and tied it all up. After stealing second, he come home as game winner José Muñoz slapped a single between third and short to end it in walkoff fashion 12-11.

“I never doubted these guys for a second,” Coach Edgren says.

Other than Muñoz, the Sharks were led offensively by Nic Ekström (2-4, 3 RBI), Rickard Kronqvist (2-4) and Klas Brinkfeldt (1-2) but really, all Sharks contributed offensively.

The second game really was not much to write home about. The Sharks found themselves in a hole as the Saints put up three runs in the top half of the first but quickly bounced back. Nine sharkfins swam across home plate as the rain started to trickle down in the bottom half and the game was pretty much done at that point.

The Sharks earned four more runs in the second and fourth inning before the game ended it the fifth with a score of 17-4.

José Martinez (4-3) earned the win as he gave up three runs (two earned) on two hits, walking four and striking out five.

Martinez was pitching.

“While the possibilities to make it to the second playoff round are slim, we sure want to do all we can to make it,” Edgren says.

“Although we do want to go up and face Ted Bratsberg in Umeå, he knows that winning is better than losing,” the assistant manager adds.


Brinkfeldt played exceptional defense at second.

Toofan Khazal is probably the best catcher in the league.

Martinez was so impressed with Ekström that he was hit by three pitches on the day, trying his best to imitate him.

Ekström was only hit by one pitch.

Fernando Carvalho earned his first career base hit.

Time to sprint to the play offs!

We’re at the last games of the regular season. The Sharks (6-6) are currently located in the upper part of the Swedish second division (Regional series) at sixth place.

Here’s how the playoff works:
The top three teams qualify for the second round playoffs where the winner could earn a spot in the Elite series.
Teams placed 4-7 will have to play a first round qualifying playoff to earn the forth spot with the top placed teams in the second round.

The Sundbyberg Heat B will not take part in the playoffs since Sundbyberg Heat is already in the Elite series.

The Sharks are scheduled to play Skövde Saints in back to back double headers (this Sunday August 19th at Shark Park and Sunday September 2nd in Skövde). Four games to go. That will put us in an excellent position to reach the first round of the playoffs with an outside chance to go straight to the second round.

The Gothenburg Sharks are two games ahead of Enskede, Gefle and Skellefteå who are all in position to make it to the first round playoffs. Gefle and Skellefteå only has two games left to play while Enskede has six.

Looking upwards, Uppsala has nine wins and five games left to play. Tranås currently in a position to qualify straight to the second round also sits on nine wins with four games to go.

In the unlikely event of Tranås are swept by Karlskoga and Alby and Uppsala are swept by Enskede and Stockholm B (and possibly a postponed game vs Sundbyberg B) the Sharks has a chance to qualify straight to the second round.

Winning at least three games out of the four left versus Skövde Saints will guarantee the Sharks a spot in first round play offs regardless how the other teams perform.

The league just announced that the first round playoffs are held in Umeå (8-9/9) and the second round is hosted in Karlskoga (15-16/9).

Umeå is located some 1000km ride by car up north in Sweden.

Join us for the last home game of the season at Shark Park on Sunday 19/8. First pitch at 12!

Sharks play well, still get swept

Sometimes, playing well is not enough.
Sometimes, your opponent is just better.
“Karlskoga is the best team in the league,” Coach Edgren says.

The Sharks faithful was indeed perplexed as the Göteborg Hajarna (6-6) took the field on Sunday against the Karlskoga Bats (10-1). One could hear murmurs from the sold out bleachers; “Did skipper Jonny Edgren fill out the lineup card wrong?”.

Was Edgren busy dragging the field instead of writing the lineup card?

Seeing as long time, veteran catcher Toofan Khazal (0-1) entered the game without that breast plate and took his place on the mound – the astonishment was justified. Khazal got the nod for what might have been his first start in his storied career, and he made Coach Edgren look good in the process.

Despite being somewhat surprised himself by the fact that he was wearing a cap and not a helmet, he threw well. The Bats all day long managed mostly soft contact as Khazal pounded the strike zone, and was a ground ball machine. That made the infield, led by shortstop José Muñoz, work hard and looking good in the process.

“This rake likes winning better than losing. He told me! I promise!”

Unfortunately, Karlskoga was a little better. The Bats was very efficient on the few hits that happened to drop. Especially the double from Kent Karlsson in the first inning was clutch indeed. Khazals hard work, and good cooperation with battery mate Lars Karlsson, was to no avail.

“I never doubted him, not for a second,” Edgren says.

Khazal ended up giving up four runs (none earned) on five hits, striking out three and walking none.

On the offensive side, the Sharks looked extremely rusty coming off a long summer break. Even though this reporter does not agree with the official scorer on this particular matter, the box score says the Sharks were no hit byt Bats starter Simon Andersson (4-0). It doesn’t really matter as Andersson was highly effective giving up no (i.e. one) hits, striking out 14 while only giving up two free passes.

Somehow, the Sharks still managed to score two runs and kept the game interesting until the final out was made. Game one ended 4-2 in the Bats favor.

“We played well. Rusty at the plate yes, but still well. We face a good team today,” Coach Edgren says.

On to the second game… and it was pretty much the same story. While Khazal was back at his normal spot behind the plate and José Martinez (3-3) was back on the mound, it felt like it was same procedure as last game (James).

The Bats kept on batting and the Sharks kept on being hapless at the plate. While they did found hits in this one, it was only six and besides Eric Marquez and Lars Karlsson, no Sharks had ribbies to show for it. Scoring two runs is seldom a winning strategy in Regionserien and it wasn’t today either.

Marquez was roughed up… by a base. The base won.

The Bats got to Martinez who was plagued by timely hits and somewhat inconsistent defense, Despite striking out eleven, he gave up seven runs (five earned) on nine hits and two walks.

“We need to work harder in the cage going down the stretch, this won’t do,” Edgren says as he sums up the day.

The Sharks did keep the game close pretty much all the way against the Bats starter, former national team pitcher Kent Karlsson (1-0). Going in to the last frame, it was a 4-2 lead for the Bats all over again but this time, they made sure of it and got three more in the seventh to make the final score 7-2.


Nic Ekström was fighting fires instead of being hit by pitches. Honorable.

In his absence, Edgren put this reporter at first in game two.

Marquez was roughed up hitting beating a throw to second with his face (he was safe).

Legendary pitcher Hiba Nabi made his comeback, albeit not from the mound, but looking good in the outfield.

Legendary companion to Nabi, Josef Hussein, also made his comeback.