Category Archives: Elitserien

The Coleman Chronicles: part 1

This is part one of a two-part series on Coleman Lukas’ experiences in Sweden, based on interviews conducted just before Coleman left for home.

First of all, will you continue to follow the organization?

Yes, yes for sure.
I’m very invested. I care about the players. And at the end of the day, I just want the players to get better, to do well. As a coach, you have a relationship with the players, you want them to get as good as possible and develop. And this was why I reached out to the board to try to convince them that the organization should take a step back to the regional level.

Less time and travel will be involved in regional play, and with the elite players bringing their experience to the regional level, a program can be built from the bottom up.

How do you see the team developing in the immediate future?

Having guys like Joe and Erik come back and play would be your dream come true. They can be your number 3 and 4 hitters, play up the middle. Joe was a major contributor this season, and he would add like .200 to his average playing at the regional level. And with Erik, you would have the best player in the league. They know the program and can lead this club.

Coach Coleman Lukas instructing players at Shark park.

Coach Coleman Lukas instructing players at Shark park.

Jonny is also back from Japan and I think he’ll be ready to contribute, take that corner infield spot. Close out games.

Trolle is a bright spot in the future of the Gothenburg organization and he’s got a career ahead of him. The kid’s got the X-factor, he loves the game and he’s got the drive. He understands what it takes to play at a high level.

Shervin… he showed he can come in and pitch 3–4 innings and his bat is coming along too. There is a high upside for him.

Joakim… extreme improvement this season. I mean, him coming on to the hill with a guy like Youssef, that’d be good.

Youssef is someone you need on the team. He can eat innings and has a high upside. Good competitor, knows what he is doing. He is a resource, and a guy like that is essential.

If Hiba and Josef show up more, with them, Joakim, Sherwin and Ted you have a solid, young pitching staff that will get you through 14 innings of baseball.

Guys that have passion. That’s the kind of players this organization needs more of. Guys that come in young, show up and have passion for the game. And who understand what it takes. Guys who want to be there. Working hard in the off season, that’s important too.

The club has to get a new mindset, a new attitude. You got to have some flare, you got to have some pride and confidence. Especially when you go up against a guy like Stockholm’s Jakob Claesson. I hit a double off him to the right-center gap on the first pitch. I give the shark fin at second even though we’re in last in the standings – that sends a message.

How did coaching in Sweden differ from coaching in the US?

Obviously the conditions are different. When I’m at a high school practice, I’m talking to thirty Trolles. Talking to kids who want to play college ball. Going out to the field in the US there’re assumptions you have about players, about the day-to-day stuff in baseball that I couldn’t assume here in Sweden.

I think the reverse engineering aspect in my coaching has been the biggest positive for me here. Gaining that ability to move backwards and take it all apart and put it all back together again is an incredibly valuable skill that I will take with me. In the States, kids in Little League are just copying big league swings. Here it’s a lot different. Much more of a challenge, getting people to make the adjustments.

And the guys made the adjustments, and they bought in. That’s something I’m really grateful for. They wanted to get better, and did get better. And you guys who were out there, you did it! The regional team batting average jumped .80 points and we were winning games. That was really amazing to see. And that’s the best kind of experience for me as a coach.

The thing of the year for me: Joel Earnest showing up every day. Bullpen practice, regular practice. Every game. Dude hit .322. He’s 67. The guy hit fucking .322. Like everybody can do it. Joel is talented but he had the most grit in the organization. Surpassing me and Jason. He had a goal, he set it, he bought in, was enthusiastic and that to me is one of the best memories of the year.

If you ask yourself when you go off the field after practice, if you’re a better player than when you stepped on the field and the answer is yes, that is a good thing.

What would you like to see in the 2016 season?

More participation. Baseball is a game that isn’t limited at all to just guys. I played against girls up through high school and would really like to see players from the softball team join us on the baseball team, they would do fine. The organization should definitely try and implement that next season. Look, whoever is willing should be given the opportunity.

Colemans post game talks were always positive.

Colemans post game talks were always positive.

Personally reaching out to veteran players who are on the fringe with “hey, you are a huge asset, we understand that you can’t practice and are probably uncomfortable with taking playing time, but we need you and you can really help this organization.”

There are enough core players on the regional team right now with the ability to compete with Karlskoga and Tranås, as we showed this year. Next year if we optimize our talent and work ethic, we can beat both those teams. And with enough veteran elite players returning, we’re talking playoffs.

What are your thoughts on recruiting and developing youth players?

The biggest problem for the Sharks is that the field is so far away. A kid that comes from Frölunda has got an hour on the tram at least. That’s a long haul. And that’s why our organization should try and get a field closer to the city center, both for visibility and for access. Baseball is exotic in Sweden, and you should take advantage of that.

You make the game accessible and instead of saying, hey we’re having youth practice. You say, hey, we´re starting a youth TEAM. We want twenty kids from Gothenburg who want to play baseball and play on a baseball team. Kids want to be a part of something. They want to look up to older players. And don’t limit yourself to just boys. We want twenty KIDS.

You need the numbers out there so that the kids can actually play games, be in real baseball situations. And to do that, there has to be more opportunities to play baseball at more accessible locations. A kid is not going to hit the ball super far. So you can still use a hard ball on a makeshift field closer to downtown without hurting anyone. Why not Slottsskogen?

With the schools, I have been in the trenches of recruiting baseball players in Sweden. I have talked to nine year olds and 16-17 year olds. Showing them a bat and a ball for the first time. At every school, there is always one or two kids that are attracted to it. Getting them out there is another story. The interest is there, capitalizing on that is where the challenge lies for Swedish baseball. We did like thirty different schools in Gothenburg with twenty kids a session on average. In total about 500–600 kids, and three showed up at the field. Getting kids out there is hard and we don’t need to make it harder.

Another thing that is important in recruiting youths is having a Swedish recruiter out there. Just having English speakers doesn’t work. Even though there is a certain coolness factor with having a guy from the US there, when I’m explaining stuff to nine year olds in English, they’re having a hard time out there. And needing to teach a teacher and then having them translate it… it’s tough. Having a Swedish speaker out there would be bueno, very helpful.

Anything else you’d like to mention?

Heidi… she has been amazing for the organization. I have the highest respect for Heidi in terms of hearing the coaching staff out, being sensitive to player issues, fundraising and helping out with schools. A real MVP!

Part two of the series will cover Coleman’s take on Swedish baseball and Sweden in general.

Welcome to the 2015 season!

So the Schedule for the 2015 season is official. The first game of the season is away vs Botkyrka on the 2:nd of May. Gothenburg Sharks won the last series of the season, the series to stay in the Elitserien vs Botkyrka. It so happened that Karlskoga Bats decided to leave the Elitseries and reboot in the second division. Bokyrka took Karlskogas spot. This season starts how the last one ended, versus Botkyrka.

Join our events on the on facebook to make sure you get updates and get a notification when the we’re closer to gameday.

The home opener will be a week later, the 9th of May vs Leksand Lumberjacks. Leksand lost the championship to Stockholm in the 5th and final game of the final series.

The history repeats itself

The Gothenburg Sharks will have to face Karlskoga Bats once again the upcoming weekend. The teams met at Shark Park just more than a week ago in a double header where Karlskoga Bats won both games. Even though the numbers were greatly in favor of Karlskoga the games were closer than the numbers were. Gothenburg will travel to Karlskoga for the three game series to directly stay in the Elitseries the upcoming weekend! Two games on Saturday and possibly a third and directly deciding game on Sunday.

Karlskoga played in the other end of the series just last year and lost the cup in the fourth game vs Stockholm. In 2012, Karlskoga went all the way and won the cup in the fourth game of the five game series vs Leksand.

The loser of the series will have to face the winner of the second division play offs in a three game series. The winner will play in the Eliteseries 2015.

The Karlskoga Bats are of course favorites to win the first series. Stockholm was also the favorite to win vs Sölvesborg to go into the final the past weekend. Stockholm was down 6-5 starting bottom ninth in the third and directly decisive game and managed to turn it around to win! Sölvesborg was just inches from giving Stockholm two losses on the same weekend. That was almost twice as many as Stockholm lost in the entire season! The Stockholm Monarchs showed good morale and turned the game around and earned a very well deserved spot in the final vs Leksand after only one loss in the regular season.

The Gothenburg Sharks played Alby Stars in the playdown last year to stay in the series. Those games were away at Seagull Park where the Sharks almost killed the series in the second of the games. The second game went into extra innings and then the darkness took over and had to be taken up again prior to a possible game three. The game two of the series was taken up again the day after but the Sharks failed to capitalize on the extra nights sleep losing the game in the twelfth inning. That was just pure fuel to the Sharks bats which caught fire. The Alby Stars had to resign after eight innings losing the game 5-18. The Alby Stars eventually lost to Sölvesborg who took over the Alby Stars spot in the Elitseries.

The Sharks have been into a playdown before. They came out on top. Will the history repeat itself once again? The odds are against, the players are for! Go Sharks!

Partial success against Sölvesborg

The Sharks managed to win one game but had to give up one in the double header played the past weekend. They will bring that with them on the road versus Leksand Lumberjacks the upcoming weekend.

Sölvesborg Firehawks brought the former Gothenburg Sharks players Brian Strawn and Evan Porter and a lot of faces shined up saying hello to their formed teammates and friends.

Game one was close to nothing but hungry Sharks. They made it hard for Sölvesborg to get on base and they really hit the ball well. Pitching worked, batting worked and defense worked. It looked really easy to play ball out there for the Sharks. The Sharks wasn’t satisfied with just hits, several extra base hits were noticed. Spencer Kreissberg pitched and gave up 4 hits, 2 walks and 7 strike outs. Laffin, which struggled a bit with his bat this year was two for four with one run and two runs batted in. Even though Joe went 0 for 2 he walked twice and scored once. He is .222 for the season but his on base percentage is .359. Weidolf had a very good game at bat and went 2 for 3 and walked once. Patrick Carlson joined the team for the first time this season and left the day with a .333 batting average with two extra base hits. José Muñoz is .400 for the season after Saturdays games. Norderum produced as usual at bat was 2 for 3 with one walk. The game was cut early when the Sharks scored their 10th run in the seventh.

The Sharks went into the second game full with confidence after the win. Norderum started on the mound. Something was troubling Jason. He started with a 1-2-3 inning and everything looked fine. He had a really tough time commanding his pitches and set a record high hit by pitch and walked three in the game. He had several guys at two strikes but put them on base due to walks to hit by pitch a few times. He was taken out of the game in the fourth and hopefully there was nothing serious troubling him. Despite this, the standing was 1-1 entering the fourth with even though the Firehawks was commanding the game until that point. Jason was responsible for the two Firehawks on base with no outs and Hiba entered the mound. For some reason the Sharks totally lost it at the time. Errors happened and the defense totally broke down. Sölvesborg scored no less than eight times of which Hiba was responsible for one and Jason two. The Sharks did failed to recover after that devastating fourth inning. The game ended 1-12 in the seventh.

It is hard to tell what really happened in that second game. Perhaps the team just ran out of fuel after the first really successful game which they dominated?

We wish the Sharks best of luck on the road versus Leksand Lumberjacks and welcome them back 26th of July when Stockholm is visiting Shark Park!

And we’re off

Finally! The first game of the season is history and we can look forward to a new season of baseball!

The Sharks travelled to Stockholm for the first game. Stockholm had already begun their season with double header versus Leksand the previous week. Stockholm won those two games comfortably.

Jason Norderum started pitching in game one for the Sharks. He let one run, which wasn’t earned in the four innings he pitched. Eventually, Gothenburg let 10 runs, only giving up five hits. The amount of walks Gothenburg gave up turned out to be costly. The Claesson’s of the Stockholm pitching staff gave up four hits and two walks which the Sharks failed to capitalize on.

Game two were cut early due to the weather but they managed to squeeze in five innings. Gothenburg put themselves up on the board in the third inning when Jason hit a single to the right, where both Joe Lankford and Simon Tysk managed to score! Stockholm started game two by giving Hiba a severe headache. Stockholm scored no less than six runs in the first and four in the second. They managed to score once in the third, but the bleeding stopped there. However, those runs in the first and second was more than enough to put Gothenburg in the backseat and Gothenburg failed to recover. Gothenburg did as Leksand the week before, left Stockholm empty handed.

While Gothenburg was visiting Stockholm, Leksand won two games vs Karlskoga Bats. Karlskoga lost game one 10-0 and the game lasted only until seven innings. Game two was quite the opposite and was a tight game where Leksand came out on the front winning 2-1.

Sölvesborg who lost two games to the Akademin in their opening game got a visit from Sundbyberg. It was Sundbybergs first game of the season and they were pumped! Scoring no less than 17 times in game one. The second game got a bit tighter where Karl Knutsen pitched the entire game for Sölvesborg. Sundbyberg’s national team player Philip Gajzler drove in a two run homer in the ninth and set the final score to 4-7.

Leksand will go on the road and visit Gothenburg Sharks home opener on Shark Park. You are welcome to join us watching the ceremonial first pitch of the season and two exciting games! Please note that game one starts at 12.

Domarcupen coming up

Domarcupen (Umpires cup) is hosted by the Karlskoga Bats and played 20-21 of April. This is just the week before opening day.

There will be two groups and Gothenburg Sharks will participate with one team. Each team will play at least 3 games.

Gothenburg is in group B together with Karlskoga I, Oslo and Akademin. Group A is Enskede, Karlskoga II and Alby.

Gothenburg will open versus Oslo on the 20:th 12:00. Second game is versus Karlskoga I starting 18:00. The next day Gothenburg will face Akademin at 16:00.

The final is played at 18:00 where the winners in each group will play one game for the title.

This is the pre-season games that are scheduled before opening day. We guess that the last thing haven’t been said about the weather just yet, but we’re looking forward get this season started.