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Bulldogs take national title back to Andros

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

THE Creters Bulldogs, preparing for another motorcade to celebrate when they return home to Abaco today, made their second consecutive Bahamas Softball Federation men’s national championship title look so easy.

On Sunday night in the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex, the Bulldogs blanked the New Providence Arnette’s Sporting Lounge Hitmen 8-0 in five innings via the International Softball Federation’s mercy rule.

“My boys hit the ball. They gave me eight runs and if you give that much runs, that’s the game for the Bulldogs,” said Bulldogs’ six-foot, five-inch intimidating ace pitcher Lyle Sawyer, who admitted that he and his team-mates put in the time five days a week to stay in shape.

Now that they have retained their title, Sawyer said they are already looking ahead for a three-peat next year.

“Some of the guys are a little old, but after some of them were talking about stopping, I talked them into saying and this was the result of it,” he said. “But we will be back next year.”

Manager Hazel McDonald said the difference in his team was the fact that whenever they come to town, they are always focused on one mission and that is to play ball.

“We rest. We don’t come down here to party. All of our guys are at the hotel resting,” he said. “We have one or two out here who call us and let us know when to come. So we take care of ourselves. We stay rested until it is time for us to play ball.”

The Bulldogs drew first blood in the game when Willard Gardiner got to first on a base hit to left field. He advanced to second on an error, third on a passed ball and scooted home on an error for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

The run came after the Hitmen’s first two batters – Keiron Munroe and Angelo Dillet – struck out. Alcott Forbes walked, but he was left stranded there as Adrian Pinder lined out.

The Hitmen threatened to score again in the second, third and fourth innings, but they ended up leaving at least one runner on base as they failed to get on the scoreboard.

Sawyer did some damage on the offensive end to start the fourth on a double. Pinch runner Brandon Wells came scooting home on Nigel Bethel’s RBI double for a 2-0 lead.

Grant Albury was then hit by a pitch. That set the stage for Triston Russell’s shot that went through the legs of Forbes, scoring both Wells and Bethel.

A RBI single by Mark Douglas scored Albury and Rodgers got on first on an error to load the bases. On a routine double play, Martin Burrows misplayed the ball as Douglas and Rodgers both scored to push the lead to 6-0.

Willard Gardiner also got on first on another error. But with Rodgers standing on third on Andrew Albury’s fielder’s choice, Gardiner got picked off going to third. But William Weatherford came up with a rocket to right that was bobbled as Rodgers scored for a 7-0 lead.

Sawyer, in his second at bat, struck out, but Nigel Bootle Jr singled to left to plate Weatherford for a 8-0 advantage. The bleeding finally stopped when Forbes struck out Grant Albury.

To put the finishing touches on the shutout, Sawyer struck out Edron Knowles, gave up a single to Devaughn Wong, who stole second, struck out Munroe and forced Dillet to pop up to Bootle Jr at third.

For Forbes, he wasn’t that disappointed. He felt he lost to a much better prepared team in the Bulldogs, led by Sawyer.

“They had some very good hits and we made some errors. That’s a part of the game and they won,” Forbes said. “Hats off to Lyle. I tried my best to win, but unfortunately, you can only have one winner. I appreciate him. He did a good job.”

It was the second straight year that the Hitmen represented the NPSA and while they improved on their third place finish last year, manager Darren Stevens said they were disappointed that they didn’t win it.

“I just want to thank the guys for giving me the opportunity to manage them. It was a little disappointing for me, but you have to take the bad with the good,” he said. “I don’t have no regrets. We left it all on the field. Abaco was just the better team. Hopefully we will regain and come back next year to get the gold.”

The Hitmen went on an offensive tear, clobbering the Pat’s Uniform Reds 17-2 to clinch their berth in the final. It was the second time that New Providence defeated Grand Bahama, winning 3-1 in the round robin segment of the tournament.

The Reds ended up taking the bronze medal back to Grand Bahama.

In the elimination game on Saturday night, the Hitmen blanked the Andre Gardiner Construction Jets 7-0 and the Bulldogs whitewashed the Reds 3-0. With the win, the Bulldogs solidified their chances of defending their title, while the Hitmen and the Reds had to play to see who got the other spot.

The Jets, surprisingly, got eliminated from the final day of competition on Sunday with the Andros’ Cougars, who finished the round robin at 1-3.

Comments

GQ 8 years, 2 months ago

Who is the joker who wrote this story? Can they get their facts straight? The Creters Bulldogs are from Abaco and not Andros.

Get it straight!

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