By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
The new look Sunshine Auto Wildcats and the Iradez Hitmen collected their rings as the women’s and men’s champions respectively of the New Providence Softball Association’s 2014 season on Friday night, but they both left the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex with season-opening losses to the Johnson’s Lady Truckers and the Commando Security Truckers as the league started its 2015 campaign.
In the ladies’ opener, the Lady Truckers - formerly the Sigma Brackettes - stopped the Wildcats 11-0 and after the official opening ceremonies, the Truckers clobbered the Hitmen 17-2 with both games being stopped in the fourth inning via the mercy rule.
On hand to participate in the brief opening ceremony and ring presentation were Timothy Munnings, director of sports in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and Bahamas Softball Federation out-going president Burkett Dorsett. Apostle Phalman blessed the league and Deputy Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis threw out the ceremonial first pitches.
The league, headed by Godfrey ‘Gully’ Burnside, who will also not be seeking another term in office when the NPSA goes to the polls this year to elect a new executive board, was scheduled to play a double on Saturday night but they got rained out. The action is scheduled to pick back up on Tuesday.
• Here’s a summary
of the two games:
Lady Truckers 11, Wildcats 0
Teenager Mechelle Moss tossed a four-hitter with two strike outs against her former team and rookie Carlene Johnson ripped a shot to right centrefield for a grand slam home run sandwiched between a pair of strike outs to lead the way.
“It was a lot of fun. I came here with the attitude that I had to pitch and it was a lot of fun. We had a good match-up with my old team. I enjoyed playing against them,” said Moss, the St Augustine’s College 10th grader who also played with her mother, second sacker Rebecca Moss, while her father, Michael Moss, was a coach on the team. “I think we can go as far as we want. There is no limit to what we can do. I love playing on this team.”
The Lady Truckers gave Moss sufficient runs to work with, three in the top of the first, highlighted by Shervette Taylor’s run-producing single and Krystal Delancy’s RBI walk before they put seven more on the scoreboard on five hits, including Johnson’s in-the-park grand slam as the Truckers batted around the clock. Marissa Burrows had a two-run single and Ruthann Simms followed with a RBI single.
Latonia Bowleg added an unearned run in the third for good measure of losing pitcher Mary ‘Cruise’ Edgecombe.
The Wildcats left a runner stranded in the second and two in both the third and fourth in scoring positions, but wasn’t able to get past Moss’ defence.
Despite the loss, Sunshine Auto’s versatile Stephanie Goodridge is confident that they will be back.
“We have no concern because we know that as team, we haven’t really had a chance to practice,” Goodridge said. “We fielded nine girls, but we know that we will look much better than this for our next game.”
Truckers 17, Hitmen 2
Once the Commando Security got rolling, it seemed like there was no stopping them.
After putting up six runs on the board in the second on just two hits, the Truckers added another unearned run in the third and they put the game out of reach on 10 hits on nine hits, sparked by a two-run homer from Jamal ‘Sarge’ Johnson and a three-run shot from newly acquired Courtney Smith as they batted around the clock like they did in the second for the stunning victory.
Eugene Pratt went the distance, giving up three hits and seven strike outs, including the side in the third after giving up a one-out double to Edron Knowles.
“It was good coming back to pitch after a long layup,” said Pratt, who mainly played on the infield for the Truckers since he joined the team two years ago. “It’s good to be back on the mound, but we just have to take it one game at a time.”
The Hitmen scored a run in both the first and the second. Their first run came in the first as Keiron Munroe doubled and caught a ride home on Angelo Dillet’s one-out run-producing double. Dillet got to third as Martin Burrows Jr walked, but they were both left stranded as Pratt retired the next two batters. After Pratt struck out the first two batters, Maitland Demeritte walked, moved to second and third on two passed balls and eventually scampered home the Hitmen’s second run on an error.
The Hitmen, who played without ace Alcott Forbes, started Martin Burrows who gave up five hits midway though the fourth when he had to switch with Keiron Munroe, who gave up six hits in relief.
“We had every scenario pretty much covered, but it just didn’t go as planned,” said Hitmen coach Darren Stevens. “We just have to work on getting our shortstop-second baseman down packed and once we have Alcott (Forbes) back in our line-up, we should be okay. He couldn’t make it out for this game, but obviously we didn’t have our full starting line-up. They beat us with all they had, so imagine when we meet them again and we have everybody out. It will be a different story.”
The league is slated to be back in action with the following games this week:
7pm - Lady Stingers vs Bommer G (L)
8:30pm - Panthers vs Sports Centre (M)
7pm - Black Scorpions vs Wildcats (L)
8:30pm - Sports Centre vs Mighty Mitts (M)