Powerful hitting and strong pitching from Elias Lahti has seen HP rise to be one of the best performing teams in men’s Ykköspesis.
The opening game of the season saw Hamina host northern rivals Lippo at Vallikenttä. Whilst a number of key players have left Lippo over the winter, weakening their lineup, Hamina put on an incredible performance to earn 3 points. Hamina built a 5-0 lead going into the 4th inning in the first jakso, when Joosua Rättö unleashed a powerful shot for a bases loaded home run and made the score 9-0. Perttu Toikka comfortably found space to bring Rättö home and the score was now 10-0. Lippo’s Jan Hankala brought home Kasperi Salmela for their only run of the jakso and the Orange shirts entered the break with a huge psychological advantage. The second jakso however started more evenly and it was Joosua Rättö again that put Hamina back in control with his second home run of the game. Even though Lippo pulled the score back to 4-3, Rättö topped off his near perfect day with RBI number 7, bringing Elmo Peltonen home and leaving Lippo 2 runs down.
Hamina’s second game of the season saw a more muted performance, as Elias Lahti, Jere Heikkinen and Elmo Peltonen were all unavailable due to commitments with the army. Loimaa dominated the first jakso and silenced Hamina’s batters. With Loimaa 0-1 up at the break, Hamina’s offence came alive in the 3rd inning of the second jakso. Erik Lahti scored a 3 run home run (the first home run in his adult career), before Joosua Rättö scored a home run with the bases loaded. Despite HPs incredible comeback, Loimaa won by a single run in the extra inning.
Hamina’s third game of the season was another home game, this time against Simon Kiri. SiKi are hoping to earn promotion at the end of the season, so this was a real test for Hamina. Elias Lahti and Jere Heikkinen returned to the lineup and put on a solid performance to win 2-0. Whilst the first jakso was fairly close, with HP winning 2-0, they came alive in the second jakso and scored 8 runs. During the whole game, SiKi couldn’t score a single run; in fact, Hamina held Simo to just 4 third base situations in the whole game and a tiny 35% success rate at moving the point runner.
The final game in May saw Hamina travel to local rivals KPL. With Elias Lahti and Jere Heikkinen unavailable once again and Justus Niemeläinen out of the lineup, the team was not as strong as previous games. However, Erik Lahti’s 3 run home run in the 2nd inning of the first jakso opened the game up and put Hamina firmly in charge. Niemeläinen’s replacement (Johannes Kiri) scored an unexpected 2 run home run to increase Hamina’s lead as the orange shirts scored 7 runs in the inning. After winning the first jakso 1-8, Hamina struggled to get their offence going again and it wasn’t until the 4th inning when they scored their first run of the second jakso. By this point, KPL had reached a 7-0 lead and the game hang in the balance. Despite some solid defence in the extra inning, Hamina looked as though they would fail to score. With two outs, Juha Leskinen came to the plate with the bases loaded. Leskinen’s hit to centre field was thrown straight to home and it looked as though Teemu Rouhiainen would be out; luckily, the ball slipped through Aaron Honkanen’s (Kopla pitcher) glove and the game was won.
The team has been dominating whenever Elias Lahti has been in the lineup and the team has only allowed 4 runs in total in the games he has played. Joosua Rättö leads the league in RBIs, with 3 home runs and 15 RBIs in just 4 games. His success rate is an impressive 69% with runners on third base and his performances have caught the eye of fans and sports journalists.
Teemu Rouhiainen has scored 9 runs in 4 games, the third best in the league so far this season. Roope Koskelainen has also started the season with impressive statistics. As a progressing hitter, Roope has 20 successful hits and a solid 76.92% success rate.
So far Henri Heikkilä has been absent from the lineup, but there is hope that he will return soon. Despite his absence, the team has been performing incredibly well and things can only get better!
Position in the league
Hamina are currently 5th in the league with 9 points from 4 games. The teams in the top 4 have all played more games than HP and Ura (who are top at the time of writing) only have 3 more points. June promises to be a very busy month, with 9 games including 2 against KPL and 2 against Lohi.
Article by Iain Alba
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