By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
NO matter how they play during the regular season, the Sunshine Auto Lady Wildcats always find a way to make their presence felt during the New Providence Softball Association’s postseason.
So far this year, the Wildcats are sitting in third place in the five-team standings in the ladies’ division at 9-7.
But on Saturday night after pulling off a 10-5 win over the second place (11-6) Platinum Pool Lady Sharks, manager Anthony Bullard said this is the time that his Wildcats start to step it up for the playoff stretch.
“Right now, everybody’s coming back together after the long lay-off,” said Bullard after they won the last two of their three games played since the league resumed after the passing of Hurricane Irma.
“This is the time of the year that we play better, so I expect that will get only get better going into the playoffs.”
The playoffs won’t start until the end of the month when the men’s national team return from their participation in the X Pan American Men Championship in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. But Bullard said this is an opportunity for the Wildcats to fine tune their game as they regroup as a team.
“We started off with a big team, but all of a sudden, it dwindled down to a much smaller team,” he said. “Most of the players say they are working. Ain’t nothing you could do about that. I just need those that we have available to come out on time.”
While the Wildcats try to get set for the showdown in the playoffs and the race to the championship title, the youthful Lady Sharks got off to a great start.
And although they are sitting in second place behind the defending champions’ Johnson Lady Truckers, manager Stephen “Bishop’ Beneby expressed his concern as they are starting to fizzle off the pace. “We’re not playing that well,” said Beneby as they were 2-2 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
“We just need to get back to practice. We play much better when we practice, but everybody has an excuse now. We’re getting ready to go in the playoffs.
“We already have second place cemented, but we just need the girls to come to practice. The girls aren’t coming to practice and when they do come, they come late. But once we can get in some practice, then you will see the real team.”
Lady Wildcats 10, Lady Sharks 5: In the lone game played on Saturday night, Sunshine Auto put up their runs early, scoring four in the first inning, one in the second and four more in the third to take a 9-4 lead and they were never challenged the rest of the game.
The Wildcats took advantage of five walks from starting and losing pitcher Sari Albury in the first inning as they scored their first four runs. Mia Turner came in and gave up four hits and two walks while striking out two in her two innings of work before Breadia Ferguson cooled them off in the final four innings on just two hits with a walk and three strike outs.
Shortstop Rebecca Moss was 2-for-3 with a run batted in (RBI) and three runs scored to lead the Wildcats. Her only RBI drove home Maryann Ferguson in the seventh for their final run after the third sacker reached safely on a fielder’s choice and stole second.
First sacker Chryshann Percentie helped out by going 1-for-3 with three RBI, including her big three-run double in the fourth; second sacker Lynette Kelly went 1-for-4 with two runs scored and center fielder LaShandra Bethel scored two runs on the pair of walks she received.
Mainstay Mary ‘Cruise’ Sweeting, who was walked twice in her four trips to the plate, was steady as a rock on the mound, limiting the Lady Sharks to eight hits with nine strike outs and three walks.
Proper Care got three runs in the first, one in the third and their last one in the fifth.
Center fielder Doniesha Woodside went 3-for-4 with two runs scored; first sacker Sophia Cartwright was 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored; left fielder Aliyah Ferguson was 1-for-3 with two RBI and Albury helped her own cause going 1-for-3 with a RBI. Breadia Ferguson made good of her one at-bat as she singled and scored their final run in the fifth.
As the NPSA continue their regular season this week, here’s a look at the teams standing:
Teams W L Pct. GB
Johnson’s Lady Truckers 13 2 .866 -
Platinum Lady Sharks 11 6 .647 3
Sunshine Auto Lady Wildcats 9 7 .600 41/2
Lady Hitters 6 10 .375 71/2
University of the Bahamas Mingoes 2 16 .111 121/2
BTC Elite Warriors 12 2 - .857 -
Hitmen 8 7 .533 41/2
Commando Security Truckers 7 7 .500 5
Chances Mighty Mitts 2 13 .133 101/2