By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE Sunshine Auto Wildcats and the C&S Hitmen are back in this year’s finals to defend their respective ladies and men’s titles in the New Providence Softball Association.
Saturday night in the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex, the Wildcats clinched their berth in the final with a 12-2 win over the BTC Lady Warriors in their best-of-five semi-final series.
Sunshine Auto will now have to wait to find out who their opponents will be. The Johnson’s Lady Truckers took a 2-1 lead over the Platinum Pool Lady Sharks with a 12-3 victory in an uncompleted game played on Friday night.
The Lady Truckers and the Lady Sharks will play game four on Tuesday night at 8pm. If necessary, they will play the fifth and deciding game on Thursday at the same time.
Meanwhile, the Hitmen put the hits on the Chances Mighty Mitts down the stretch for a 9-2 decision in Saturday’s feature game to complete their semi-final series and booked their ticket into the men’s final.
Waiting for them when the finals start on Saturday night are the Commando Security Truckers, who surprisingly swept aside the BTC Elite Warriors.
• Here’s a summary of the games played:
Mighty Mitts 2
While he turned in another spectacular performance on the mound, Alcott Forbes also cracked a full count solo homer to start a five-run fifth inning that enabled C&S to stop Chances by the abbreviated seven run rule in a walk-off-the-field victory.
The Hitmen, who held a 4-1 lead going into the inning, saw Philip Johnson follow Forbes with a single, Brad Wood Jr had a run-producing double, D’Kyle Rolle got hit by pitch, Angelo Dillet added a RBI single and Keiron Munroe ended the rally with a two-run double.
“It was a little warm up to go into the final,” said Hitmen’s manager Darren Stevens. “We went into the game working on our hitting and sharpen up our defence. We have some health concerns, a few guys are banged up. But that is normally the case around this time of the season. But we are primed and ready to go.”
Forbes, coming off a one-hit, 21-strike out performance in their last game on Thursday night, finished with two hits and 13 strike outs. The only inning that he didn’t record three strike outs was in the second.
In that inning, Michael Butler drew a lead off walk and after Moses Kerr got struck out, Christin Wright came up with a RBI ground out as Butler scooted home. Chris McPhee then grounded out to end the Mighty Mitts’ threat.
Although he struck out the side in the first, third, fourth and fifth, the Mighty Mitts got a lead off double from Kerr, who caught a ride home for their second run on Kenneth Carey’s two-out RBI double.
But after the game was delayed for an off the field incident between the fans and players from both teams, Forbes struck out Ellis Adderley to set the stage for their abbreviation in the bottom of the frame.
Chances’ manager Alphonso ‘Chicken’ Albury tried his best to keep the Mighty Mitts in the game when he brought in Kyle Carey to replace starter Victor Grant in the fifth. But that didn’t make a difference as the Hitmen were on a roll.
Grant got touched for just five hits with four strike outs before he made his exit.
The Mighty Mitts actually had the lead as Wright knocked in Butler on a RBI ground out in the second. But that was short lived as Dino Sweeting got hit by a pitch and eventually came home with the equaliser on a wild pitch for the Hitmen in the bottom of the frame.
Lady Wildcats 12,
Lady Warriors 2
Not taking any chances, Sunshine Auto scored all their runs early, posting three in the first, six in the second and three more in the third as they went on to dial up BTC in their abbreviated victory.
Chryshan Percentie enjoyed a 3-for-4 night with three RBI, Tyrice Curry went 2-for-4 with a RBI, Lashonda Bethel was 1-for-4 with a RBI and three runs, Larikah Russell was 2-for-3 with a RBI and two runs and Thela Johnson was 1-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored to lead the attack for the Lady Wildcats.
“It wasn’t any pressure,” said Sunshine Auto’s manager Anthony Bullard. “After the first game, we got the girls on one accord. After we got on one accord, we went straight through. We are back into the final and we’re ready for whoever comes.”
Bullard said they are not concerned about whoever they get. They just want to see the best team emerge from their showdown.
From the mound, Johnson gave up four hits to BTC, who got their first run in the second on Keisha Pratt’s RBI single that plate Atiya Dean and added their second in the third as Melinda Bastian got struck out, but got on base on a passed ball, stole second, reached third on another passed ball and came home on another wild pitch.
The Lady Warriors, managed by Kelly Smith, sent pitchers on the mound as Bastian started, but didn’t make it out of the first inning as Jeanette Hilton replaced her. Hilton made it to the second when she was relieved by Ashanti Darville, who completed the game.