By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
ARNETTE’S Sporting Lounge Hitmen’s ace pitcher Alcott Forbes and Sigma Wildcats’ first sacker Jeannette Hilton have been named the most valuable players for men and women respectively as the New Providence Softball Association’s Carl ‘Bang Bang’ Johnson’s best-of-seven championship series concluded in the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.
Forbes, the versatile infielder, earned the title after he was the winner of the four games in the Hitmen’s sweep of the pennant winning Sting Truckers. He finished with 27 strikeouts and a 1.52 ERA (earned run average). On the offensive end he went 8-for-14 for a .571 batting average. He also drove in four runs and scored five times.
“At the beginning part of the year, we had some very, very crucial problems internally with the team,” said Forbes, who at one point had decided to quit the team.
“In any sport, you will have some personalities, but it is how you recover. We had a number of meetings trying to iron things out. We had the team to be the champion, but in order to do that, we had to be focused. Everybody had to be set one goal and that is to have fun in winning our games. We put everything together, we worked hard and at the end of the day, we are the 2014 champions.”
Having done his part to assist the team in getting over the hump again, Forbes said they can now focus on the Bahamas Softball Federation’s National Softball Championship to be played this weekend at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.
“Everybody looks for New Providence to be the last team standing, but you have to earn your spot,” he said. “We took Abaco for granted. We never expected them to beat us because we beat them in the regular season, but we will be mashing gas from Thursday. Our foot will be on the gas and we’re not going to take anything for granted this time around.”
Forbes said he’s aware that the Creter Bulldogs will be back to defend their title and Eleuthera will be coming with Edney ‘the Heat’ Bethel. But they are not concerned.
“I know some good pitching will be coming,” he said. “In softball, it starts at the mound. Edney Bethel is a great pitcher, Lyle Bethel is a great pitcher. He proved himself last year in the nationals when they won. But Alcott Forbes is home. I will be here throwing the rock from Thursday and I’m not giving it up, so I need them to be ready to see me.”
Hilton, on the other hand, went 12-for-26 with a home run, nine RBI and 11 runs for a .462 batting clip to secure the ladies’ MVP to go along with her batting crown during the regular season.
“It’s an awesome feeling. About two years ago, I was the MVP in the nationals, so it’s an awesome feeling to be named the MVP again,” she said. “I just go up there and try to be calm, relax and go out there and do my thing.”
On the series against the Sigma Brackettes, Hilton said it was definitely a dogfight. “We came out and we underestimated the Sigma Brackettes and I’m glad that they gave us a good fight because it will better prepare us for the nationals,” she said.
Like most of her teammates, Hilton had to play through an injury, but she wasn’t going to let them get the better of her performance.
“My injury was a re-injured one that I had for the past two years,” she said. “But it was all of nothing tonight, so I had to go all out for my team. I just had to suck it up and give it my all.”
Her performance included a big two-run in-the-park homer in the sixth inning. “Oh yeah, more to come,” was how Hilton summed up her second hit of the game, following a run-producing triple in a two-run fourth.
She said she’s looking forward to doing whatever it takes for the Wildcats to go all the way and win the national title.