by Petter Lundberg
For a while now it has been evident that last year’s successful American players Adam SOWELL, Joe ROVIROSA and Shawn VANCE wouldn’t return again to play for the Karlskoga Bats in 2008. Pitcher Adam SOWELL and infielder Shawn VANCE both signed contracts to play in the Dutch league, and catcher/of Joe ROVIROSA has returned home to continue his regular job.
But the Karlskoga team has had a busy offseason in replacing the trio of imports that helped greatly in securing the team’s first Swedish Championship title.
First up is Australian pitcher Brendan HORNE. He is 21 years old, right handed and a native of Melbourne, Australia. He played for the Sandringham Baseball Club in 2007, and was awarded team MVP honors. He logged 65 innings on the mound with a very impressive strikeout/walk ratio of 39 K’s/12 BB’s, while posting a 3.10 ERA. HORNE is also a potent hitter, as he had a .324 average from the cleanup-slot.
Other than Brendan, the Bats have also struck a deal with 24-year old outfielder Dennis KELLY from Texas. Dennis played four years of College Baseball at Austin College where he was a team captain from 2004-2006. Dennis is described as a five-tool player by his former College Coach Carl IWASAKI, and holds the school record in many offensive categories, such as batting average, hits, runs and doubles. He also hit eight homeruns in one season. Other than outfield, his natural position, Dennis can also play in the infield. For the Bats in 2008, Dennis will also serve as an assistant coach.
August CASSON will be the third foreign player to join the team. August is American, but currently lives in Norway where he works as a teacher. In 2007 August played with Norwegian Champions Oslo Pretenders, where he totally dominated the league. CASSON is a middle infielder who can also pitch, shown by his 1.00 ERA with 46 K’s in 27 IP in 2007. He also batted .421 with two homeruns in half a season. Unfortunately, August lives in Molde and won’t be able to participate in all games in 2008 but the Karlskoga Bats hope he will contribute greatly in games he will be able to play.
Swedish infielder Elias SOELVELING will return to Karlskoga Bats after spending the 2007 season with the division 1 team KIF Eagles. This is glad news for the Bats since Elias is considered to be one of the best, if not the best defensive infielder in the country. Elias can also be a threat with the bat, batting plus .400 for the Eagles in 2007. In the field Elias made only two errors in 140 chances.