By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
This will probably be a birthday celebration that Shevette Taylor won’t forget anytime soon.
Last night on her 30th birthday in the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex, Johnson’s Lady Truckers’ third sacker Taylor drilled a 1-1 pitch off deep to left centrefield fence.
This resulted in the Lady Truckers breaking up a 12-12 tie to score pinch runner Mika Bain from third with the game-winning 13-12 walk-off-the-field victory in the bottom of the seventh inning over the youthful Platinum Pool Lady Sharks to secure their berth into the New Providence Softball Association ladies’ championship series.
In what many fans felt was one of the most exciting games played this season, the two teams met in the fifth and deciding game of their semi-final series.
It went right down to the wire with Taylor coming through in the clutch situation and propelling the Lady Truckers into the best-of-seven finals that are scheduled to begin Saturday night against the defending champions Sunshine Auto Lady Wildcats.
“This one was sweet. I had a feeling that I was going to leave the park. I did it in the last playoff game on my birthday,” said Taylor of the shot that looked as if it went over the fence.
Unfortunately, it only hit the fence and although Taylor circled the bases for what looked like a grand slam homer, it was only ruled a run-producing single as the Lady Truckers only needed to score the run on third to secure the win. However it was ruled, Taylor still celebrated as if it was a homer.
“I hit four homers in a tournament, so I knew it was a good chance that I could hit another one,” she stated. “I didn’t expect it with the bases loaded. I’ve never done that before. When I saw the bases loaded, that gave me more motivation to go in the batter’s box and swing hard.”
Now as they prepare for the final, Taylor said they will have to take it one game at a time.
“It’s a best-of-seven series, but you don’t talk this, you go out there and play it between the lines,” Taylor stated.
Back to the clincher, Taylor’s hit came after Coline Russell led off with a single and eventually scored the tying run on an error.
Keishlyn Moss then got on base on a wild pitch after she struck out, Dawayna Pratt walked and Krystal Evans singled to load the bases to set the stage for the birthday girl, who also came through with a highlighted a two-run in-the-park homer in the fourth.
Johnson’s, managed by Sidney ‘Bobby Baylor’ Fernander, came up with four runs in the first, two in the third, two in the fourth and three in the sixth as they responded to every challenge they got from Platinum Pool. The Lady Sharks, managed by Stephen ‘Bishop’ Beneby, didn’t score until the third when they got a run and added seven more in the fourth. They actually had a chance to stop the game by the seven-run rule in the fifth, but but fell short. They got three more in the sixth and one in the seventh.
Diva Burrows went the distance for the win on 11 hits with one strike out. Romona Hanna came in from right field in the first inning and finished the game for the Lady Sharks, but she was tagged with the loss. Brendia Ferguson got the starting nod.
Theota Ferguson and Crystal Evans were the only player for the Lady Truckers with two hits. They both also scored two runs. Dawn Johnson had one hit with a RBI and a run scored.
For the Lady Sharks, Siohie Cartwright had a perfect 4-for-4 plate appearance with a run scored; Anishka Lotmore had two hits and scored three times; Dorneisha Woodside had a hit and scored three times and Alyiah Ferguson had two hits with two RBI and a run scored.
The game was marred by a little dispute that saw Lady Trucker’s Mario Ford and Lady Sharks’ D’Kyle Rolle sent to the dig-out after a shoving match on the field.
While the Lady Truckers and the Lady Wildcats will play the opener of the championship series on Saturday night at 7 pm, the men’s encounter will follow with game one between the Commando Security Truckers and the defending champions C&S Hitmen at 8:30 pm.