By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
The C&S Hitmen moved one game closer to defending their men’s title in the New Providence Softball Association.
Last night in the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex, the Hitmen put together a late surge after the game was interrupted by the rain to knock off the Chances Mighty Mitts 13-2 to take a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-five semi-final playoff series.
“This is the playoffs time so everybody wants to be winners,” said Hitmen’s ace pitcher Alcott Forbes. “I think we took them for granted early until we understood that we had to win the game.”
The game could have been stopped in the bottom of the fifth inning. Leading 7-1 at that point, Forbes made an errant throw to third baseman Marty Burrows, which allowed Mighty Mitts’ left fielder Steffan McKenzie to scoot home from third with Chances’ second run to extend the game.
Light showers of rain fell and the game was halted briefly before play was resumed. When they did, the Hitmen tacked on four more runs as they held the Mighty Mitts scoreless to preserve the win and prepare for game three on Saturday night and a chance to face the Commando Security Truckers, who swept the BTC Elite Warriors in three straight games to advance to the final.
“My only concern is the weather, but you can’t do anything about it,” Forbes said. “We just have to adjust our minds and deal with the adversities. Anytime we come out here, we just have to play Hitmen softball.”
And, if they do, he said they will definitely be ready for the Truckers.
“They’ve been waiting now for four years,” Forbes stated. “We’re going for our fifth championship. Ain’t nothing about to change now. This is the Hitmen’s league.”
Forbes backed up his words on the mound when he held Chances, managed by Alphonso ‘Chicken’ Albury, to just one hit. He also struck out 21 batters to record all of his outs on a variety of pitches. Both of the Mighty Mitts’ runs, including one by Ellis Adderley in the second, were unearned.
On the other side of the ledger, Forbes and his team-mates racked up seven hits off starting and losing pitcher Victor Grant before he was relieved by Travis Smith in the seventh.
By then the Hitmen, managed by Darren Stevens, had already scored one run in the first, three in the fourth and four more in the fifth.
Rodney Forbes walked and after advancing on two consecutive wild pitches, eventually scored the first run of the game on an error.
In the third, Philip Johnson opened the floodgates as he connected on a 1-strike pitch for a solo homer over the left field fence.
Johnson continued his hitting streak with a run-producing single and Edron Knowles had a two-out RBI double to highlight the fifth.
After Grant was replaced, the Hitmen took advantage of Smith in the seventh as Knowles got a RBI sacrifice fly, Rudy Fox had a RBI single, Martin Burrows Jr a RBI sacrifice fly and Rodney Forbes and Alcott Forbes followed with back-to-back RBI singles.
Alcott Forbes, however, got called out for leaving first too early with Philip Johnson at the plate to represent the ninth batter in the inning.