By BRENT STUBBS
IT IS not how you start, nor how you get there. Most importantly, it’s how you finish.
• The Finish Line, a weekly column, seeks to comment on the state of affairs in local sports, highlighting the highs and the lows, the thrills and the spills and the successes and failures.
THE WEEK THAT WAS
THE Bahamas Softball Federation’s 2016 BTC National Round Robin Championships in the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex over the weekend turned out to be one of the most competitive in quite some time.
While the Johnson’s Lady Truckers carted off the ladies’ crown, beating their opponents by an average of 10 runs, the men’s division came down to a much closer margin with the JC Bluewater Jets taking the title back to Eleuthera for the first time in six years.
Both the Lady Truckers and the Jets had one thing going for them. While they had a veteran workhorse on the mound, their supporting casts were basically young squads.
Matched against their arch-rivals from Grand Bahama, the New Providence champions Lady Truckers routed the Folley’s Girls twice, producing their best game when it counted the most in the final (18-6) in an abbreviated fashion to hoist the trophy.
Marvell Miller, who was spectacular in pitching all games to secure the New Providence Softball Association’s title and the most valuable player award over the Sunshine Auto Wildcats, continued her stellar performance in the BSF Nationals.
And even though she was just as impressive on the offensive end, she was beaten out by third sacker Shavette Taylor, who literally hit the cover off the ball in clinching the MVP honours.
It really didn’t matter who won it because the Lady Truckers had a potent line-up that saw just about all nine players making their contribution to their success.
As for the Folley’s Girls, it appeared as if they were just going through the motions, having come to town in the aftermath of the destruction that they left behind in Grand Bahama to play for the national title.
Their only losses came at the hands of the Lady Truckers, but the Sagoma Navigators, who also experienced some grief from Hurricane Matthew in Andros, came close to pulling off an upset over Grand Bahama, not just once, but twice.
Upset seemed to be the trend on the men’s side as the New Providence’s C&S Hitmen suffered a double whammy, knocking them out of contention for the title.
In a round robin game when they decided to rest ace Alcott Forbes, Grand Bahama’s Control Chemical Sweepers took advantage of Martin Burrows Jr as they exploded for a stunning 8-6 win.
That forced the Hitmen to have to go the longer route to get into the final and in their playoff game against the Jets, it came down to a dandy. In the end, Adney ‘the Heat’ Bethel and the Jets prevailed as they nipped the Hitmen 1-0.
Bethel went on to power the Jets to an abbreviated 8-0 decision over the 5 Star AG & Turf Bulldogs and towering pitcher Lyle Sawyer.
In addition to his big bat, Bethel was named the MVP for his efforts.
Federation president Ted Miller has to be extremely happy with what transpired over the weekend. For the three days of competition, there was standing room only as the fans came out and supported their favourite teams.
Obviously, it shows that softball is still alive and well in the country, despite the fact that not all of the affiliated island associations like Exuma and Long Island were in attendance.
If the display of softball over the weekend was any indication, it should be noted that there are some great things for the federation to build on going forward.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The New Providence Basketball Association kicked off its 2016/17 season this week at the AF Adderley Gymnasium.
And for the first time in a long time, the association has decided to reintroduce its division II play, which caters primarily to those players who are under the age of 23 years.
Already, we have seen some of the teams utilising players on their men’s division one teams, but NPBA president Eugene Horton said the focus will be on those new teams coming into the league this year.
So when the division II play - named in honour of the late Godfrey McQuay and the ailing Charles ‘Chuck’ Mackey - is launched 7pm Wednesday when the Johnson’s Trucking Panchos take on the Elites Basketball Club, it should be just as entertaining as what is being anticipated for the men’s division one play.
Additionally, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture will continue its National Sports Heritage Month with its National Sports Awards Ceremony.
The event, a concert-styled awards ceremony modelled closely after ESPNs “ESPY Awards,” is all set to be hosted November 19 in the Atlantis resort’s Crown Ballroom under the theme “Number Uno - Still Number 1.”
The selection committee and members of the media will vote on a myriad of awards honouring teams, individuals, performances, coaches and federations.
One of the other highlights of the month will be the induction of 18 new members into the National Hall of Fame at Government House tonight.
Congrats to Della Wood-Thomas, Hattie Moxey, Candace DeGregory-Culmer, Sister Annie Thompson OSB OBE, Vickey Knowles Andrews, Evander Freeman Barr, Burket Dorsett, Carlton Harris, Anthony “Poker” Huyler, Ivan Johnson, Nathaniel Knowles, Edmondo Moxey, Jayson “Peggs” Moxey, Frank Rutherford MBE, as well as Eucal Hugh Bullard, Bertram Perigord, Roosevelt “Dog” Turner, and James “Jim” Wood, who will all go in posthumously.
They will join an elite group of athletes and contributors in the hall that will swell to 149.