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Aug '16 04

Norwegian National Team surprises everyone in European Championship C-Pool


By Norwegian Baseball and Softball Federation

Team Norway started off the tournament with a 13-10 victory over host country Slovenia, who were considered one of the favorites for this year’s tournament since they had just been relegated from the B-Pool. With team captain Emil Fjellvang on the mound, Norway stayed calm after Slovenia scored two runs in the first inning and struck back in the third inning with three runs by Alejandro Perez, Jaliet Alvarez and Steffen Torgersen. Slovenia evened the score in the same inning, but Norway put up four runs in both the fourth and the fifth inning and defended their lead with solid relief pitching by Reynaldo Reyes, Andrew Johnson and Jaliet Alvarez until the end. The team did not lose focus even though the game was suspended in the ninth inning on Monday due to darkness and on Tuesday morning Norway held on to the 13-10 lead for their first win in the first game. Steffen Torgersen led the way with four hits, four runs and five RBI. Jaliet Alvarez scored four times as welland also closed out the game in the ninth. Emil Fjellvang conceded seven hits, eight runs (2 ER) and four base on balls in 5 1/3 innings to pick up the win.

Norway was back on the field a couple of hours later, losing 3-21 to Serbia in five innings. Six runs in the fourth and 11 in the fifth blew the score wide open. Despite the surprising win against Slovenia, Norway never managed to take control of the game and it was obvious that the short night of rest, the hot weather and the lack of experience took their toll on the team. Nicholas Bach took the loss, getting charged with ten hits, nine runs (8 ER) and three base on balls in 3 2/3 innings.

The team came back strong on Wednesday morning, however, wining 10-3 over Finland and thus taking revenge for losses in the 2014 edition of the European Championships as well as the Nordic Baseball Open in 2015. Norway scored in six of the nine innings played en route to the victory. Steffen Torgersen went the distance on the mound, allowing five hits, three runs and four walks. He struck out 11 and also hit a home run. Eight different Norge players crossed the plate for runs and at the end of the day Norway was leading the tournament standings with a 2-1 record.

After a day of rest on Thursday, only one more win against Ireland was needed to reach the final. Five runs in the first and three each in the third, fifth and sixth by the Irish pretty quickly destroyed the dreams unfortunately. In the end Norway lost 15-4 and thus didn’t have a shot for the finals due to losing tiebreakers. Steffen Torgersen went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two runs scored for Norway, while Reynaldo Reyes got charged with the loss, surrendering one hit, five runs (3 ER) and three walks, while managing just one out in the first.

Despite coming “only” in fourth place, Team Norway surprised everyone by beating host country Slovenia and Nordic rival Finland, and only missing the final due to CEB tiebreaker rules. NSBF technical director Andrew Johnson: “I am immensely proud of what we accomplished. We played competitive baseball, even showed sparks of brilliance and we did a good job once again of being a classy organization and thus great ambassadors for Norway.”

“Every single guy on the team played his role and contributed to the best-ever showing in a CEB sanctioned tournament in the history of Norwegian Baseball,” said Head Coach Fabian Weber. “We have a great group of young athletes and the lessons we have learned about baseball, success and even more importantly failure, will pay dividends in the future. This will be a week we will never forget.”

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