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 passing of Hurricane Matthew may have been a blessing in disguise for the New Providence Softball Association.
While the association was affected by the destruction to the lighting facilities at the Banker’s Field, the executives made a decision to reduce their playoffs and championship series to best-of-three and best-of-five respectively.
It worked in their favour as the association got a chance to play during the day and, although one of the ladies’ games got postponed from Saturday to Sunday, one of the two champions was crowned.
Congratulations to the Johnson’s Lady Truckers, who stunned the pennant winning Sunshine Auto Wildcats in three straight games to clinch the ladies’ title.
All three games were quite entertaining, but it was disheartening for the Wildcats fans to watch as their team got dismantled down the stretch in the first two games after leading the Lady Truckers.
The Lady Truckers, on the other hand, got a fantastic performance from Marvelle Miller as she pitched all three games in two days and was also potent on the offensive end, along with Theola Johnson.
It was a series matched with youth against experience and, in this case, the former prevailed as the Lady Truckers celebrated the sweep.
The Truckers’ coaching staff that included Darren Bowleg and Ernestine Stubbs did a great job in motivating their young players to stay focused on the task ahead of them.
The Lady Wildcats, managed by Anthony Bullard and coached by veteran players Hyacinth Farrington and Vernie Curry, obviously didn’t have the pep in their step as they did all season long and it hurt them in the long run when it counted the most - in the postseason.
Johnson’s sponsor Sherman Johnson was just as elated as his team. He was able to pull one over his two arch-rivals, Deanza ‘Sonny’ Cox of Sunshine Auto and Bommer George of the Bommer G Lady Operators.
These three sponsors have been raging a rivalry that has transcended from the basketball court to the softball diamond in the ladies’ division.
It’s a good, healthy rivalry that has not only drawn attention to them, but also to both of the leagues as they have been the centrepieces of the competition in recent years.
All three teams have traded the championship trophies and should be commended for the level of enthusiasm that they brought to the gymnasium and the park whenever they matched up against each other.
Unlike the men, it seems as if there is more interest off the court and the field in regards to which sponsor will reign supreme, compared to which team actually wins.
It’s good for both leagues as there is a continuation of some of the previous match-ups that fans were eager to view like the T-Bird Flyers versus the Budweiser Eagles in men’s softball or the Kentucky Colonels vs the Beck’s Cougars in basketball.
It’s also a good selling tool for the promotion of the leagues because fans can have something exciting to look forward to whenever they come out to watch the games.
Hopefully, the fans will come out this weekend to watch the conclusion of the men’s series, although the C&S Hitmen are on the verge of a sweep after two shutout victories behind the awesome pitching of mainstay Alcott Forbes.
Game three is set for 1pm Saturday at the Banker’s Field.
Following the completion of the NPSA championship this weekend, the focus of attention will be switched to the Bahamas Softball Federation’s National Round Robin Tournament that will be played next weekend at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.
So far, Andros, Grand Bahama and New Providence are tipped to compete in the ladies’ division, while Grand Bahama, New Providence, Abaco and Eleuthera are scheduled to make up the men’s package.
While they were not adversely affected by Hurricane Matthew, it would have been good to see teams from Exuma and Long Island come to town to compete.
Better still, it would have been even more advantageous if the BSF had taken the nationals this year to Abaco where I’m sure the fans would have been more receptive to coming out and supporting the games than here in New Providence, especially with so many people still trying to fully recover from the storm.
Nonetheless, the BSF has decided to bring all the action to New Providence so let’s get ready for some keenly contested softball games, despite the fact that there might be fewer teams than originally anticipated.