Sweden Opens Season
With the new month Sweden has rung in the start of season. To kick off 2018, Saturday was filled with games.
The Stockholm Monarchs took on the Leksand’s Lumberjacks while the Sundbyberg Heat faced off against the Butchers of Rättvik. The Sundsvall Mosquitoes buzzed around to Stockholm for their 2nd match-up of the day, while Rättvik took on the Sölvesborg Firehawks. For the final game of the day Sölvesborg and Sundsvall were on the same field.
Both the Monarchs and Firehawks finished the day 2-0, while the heat couldn’t seem to ignite their flame, ending the day with a record of 0-1. The Mosquitoes joined them with their own goose egg in the W column while adding another to their loss tally.
On the mound for Leksand in their 5-4 loss to Stockholm, Will Nahmens took the ball, and the loss. Over 6.0 innings of work he gave up 5 runs, 3 earned, off 6 hits while walking 2 and striking out 4. That left Nahmens with an ERA of 4.5 on the day. Looking across that line though, that’s a solid day of work for a pitcher. Chances are, as the season wears on, less of those runs score as the field folds in behind him in a stronger rhythm.
The winning pitcher for Stockholm was Jakob Claesson. He pitched a full 7.0 innings of work giving up 4 earned runs, off 7 hits, striking out 6 along the way. Jakob finished the game with a 5.14 ERA. Stockholm also had one batter who finished the game batting 1.000. Hitting 2nd, centerfielder Arvid Calrstedt had 3 hits over as many plate appearances, completing his trip around the bags once throughout the game.
Looking at the final score, 7-2 in favor of the Butchers, the matchup between Sundbyberg and Rättvik looks one-sided. Browse the line score though, and you get an entirely different game experience. Starters Nicklas Melin, for the Heat, and Elvis Hammarstedt, of Rättvik, threw incredible games. Melin went 4.0 innings of scoreless ball giving up just 3 hits while striking out 4 to finish his workday with a 0.00 ERA. Elvis lasted an additional inning giving up 4 hits and one earned run while walking 2 and striking out 3 over 5.0 innings for a 1.80 ERA. From the Butcher’s pen, Peter Jansson was able to close out the final two innings, taking home the W, after giving up 1 earned run off 2 hits while striking out 1 for a 4.50 ERA. That’s because Melin’s backup, Yanier Ramirez simply had a bad inning. Though he threw for 3.0 innings, it was the final one that did him in. He gave up 1 in the 5th, but Sundbyberg came back that same inning to re-establish the tie, from 0-0 through 4 to 1-1 to end the 5th. In the 6th, he gave up nothing. The 7th inning however, 6 more runs crossed the plate, all of them earned. Ramirez finished his outing with a 21.00 ERA. After walking 4 and striking out just 2, he gave up 7 earned runs off 4 hits. Though Sundbyberg’s offense did what they could to help, they were only able to put one additional run on the board before the game ended.
In their second outing on the day, Stockholm faced off against the Mosquitoes of Sundsvall. The game ended in 6 innings under the mercy rule as Sundsvall failed to cross the plate while Stockholm did so 13 times. Both teams went through three pitchers over the course of the game. In this outing, Carlstedt’s average took a dip to .600 but still improved his stats. He had 2 at bats with a run, an RBI and 2 walks. He finished the day with 0 strikeouts over his first 7 plate appearances. Beyond Arvid’s good day, there is no, one, standout bat on the Monarchs bench. Everyone is hitting pretty consistently, a run here, a hit there. They made it through their first two victories playing solid small ball.
In their second game of the day the Butchers fell to the Firehawks 5-6. Here was another bad outing for a pitcher but, in his case, the offense has already pulled through. Simon Andersson was handed the ball from Eddie Aucoin. Eddie took home the W. After pitching 4.0 innings, he left the game with all the Sölvesborg’s runs already having crossed the plate but had given up none himself. Aucoin struck out 7 while giving up just 3 hits for a 0.00 ERA on his day before handing the ball over. Andersson finished the final three innings giving up 3 in the 5th and 2 in the 6th, all earned, before settling in to keep Rättvik’s comeback at bay to end the 7th, and the game. Simon took home a 15.00 ERA for his troubles, giving up 5 earned runs off 8 hits and a walk while striking out 3.
On the other bench, Peter Jansson took home the loss after giving up all 6 earned runs on the day for Sölvesborg. Over 4.0 innings of work he allowed 8 hits and a walk while striking out just 2 batters. He left the game with a 10.50 ERA. His backups, Christoffer Granström, who went two innings, and Evan Opperman, who closed the game, both finished their days with 0.00 ERAs. Christoffer gave up one hit while striking out none and Evan did the opposite, striking out just one batter but giving nothing up in his inning of work.
Opperman had a great day at the plate as well. Over 4 at bats he had 3 hits and an RBI with no strikeouts for a .625 average. On offense for Sölvesborg it was Joel Johnson’s bat that did the most work. Leaving the game with a .666 average, Johnson had 2 runs off as many hits, with an RBI and a walk in 3 at bats. Pitcher Eddie Aucoin did his part too, scoring a run off 1 hit over 3 at bats to finish the day with a .333 average.
The final game of the day was between Sölvesborg and Sundsvall. With their bats warmed up, the Firehawks made quick work of the Mosquitoes, finishing the game in 5. They scored in every inning but the 3rd putting 2s across the line score except for the all-important 4th inning where 5 of them crossed the plate. Sundsvall’s bats must have been dipped in dry ice before the day began as they managed just one run on their day, and that was unearned, ending both games with mercy. If anything their bats cooled off in game two, with not a single hit to their bench’s credit. If opponents have any one thing to be concerned about looking ahead to their games against Sölvesborg it is the depth of their bench. Only 6 players made repeat appearances between the first and second game. Between them they had 17 runs off 18 hits while striking out just 7 times all day.
On Sunday, Sundbyberg had home field advantage over Sundsvall while Leksand hosted Sölvesborg. Over in Stockholm, Rättvik were guests while Leksand entertained Sundbyberg for the final game of the day.
Sundbyberg opened the day with a W dropping the third digit, in as many games, into the loss column for Sundsvall. This game was a tit-for-tat matchup. The Mosquitoes bit first putting two on the board in the top of the first. The Heat wasted no time lighting the fire under their bats replying with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Over the next two innings both pitchers settled in with no additional runs crossing the plate. In the 4th again it was a challenge answered with Sundsvall and Sundbyberg both putting one on the board. The insects added one more for good luck in the 5th and lucky they did as the Heat waited until the bottom of the 7th to stage their comeback. It was too little too late however, getting one when they needed two to keep the game going.
Next up the Lumberjacks and Firehawks volleyed their line score through 7 in similar fashion. At the top of the 2nd Sölvesborg scored 2 and Leksand responded with 1 in the bottom of the inning. Neither team took advantage of their opportunity in the 3rd. To start the 4th, once again the Firehawks took the lead, dropping 3 more onto their side of the board. The Lumberjacks answered in the bottom of the 5th with 3 of their own. In the 6th the teams swapped their 2nd inning scores, leaving them headed into the top of the 7th tied at 6. The Firehawks did their part, putting up two to start the inning, but the Lumberjacks put down their axes for the game before was over, and so the matchup ended with a score of 8-6 in favor of the Firehawks.
Back in Stockholm the Monarch would add their second consecutive shutout to the record but this time, they had to go a full 7. Once again Elvis and Evan teamed up to do the most for the Butchers. Hammarstedt had the only hit on the day, while Opperman pitched 3.2 innings of outstanding ball giving up just 1 hit, and striking out 5, to preserve his 0.00 ERA. There was also a familiar name on both sides of the field for Stockholm once again. Arvid Carlstedt, who finished the weekend with a .571 batting average in his last game, had a hit and a walk on the day offensively while giving up the exact same defensively over 3.0 innings of work. He also struck out 3 and, like Opperman, took home a 0.00 ERA on this day of work.
The final game of weekend openers was between Leksand and Sundbyberg. The Lumberjacks and Heat faced off like it was Leksand’s job to stay ahead of the flames that might burst out from Sundbyberg at any moment. Both teams put 2 on the board to start the 1st. Each team took a break offensively in the 2nd. In the 3rd the Heat added one to their score and the Lumberjacks answered in the bottom of the 4th with two of their own. That control line would be enough to keep the heat from catching fire. To start the 6th Sundbyberg added 2 more but Leksand finished the 7th with two of their own to call the game at 6-5 in their favor. Notably for Leksand they kept their starter, Per Sjörs in, start to finish, for the win. Over 7 innings he gave up 5 runs, only 3 earned, off 8 hits. He walked 2 while striking out 5 for a respectable 3.86 ERA over a complete game of work.
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