By Brent Stubbs
Senior Sports Reporter
FREEPORT — What was supposed to be a classic rematch turned out to be a rout, thanks to the superb pitching from Freedom Farm ace’s Jeorge Araujo as they shutout the Junior Baseball League of Nassau.
After losing their only game 7-3 to JBLN in the round robin, the Farm got revenge when it counted the most with their 9-0 blank job in the final of the 16-and-under division at the Emera Baseball Complex on Sunday.
Their game completed the first leg of the Bahamas Baseball Association’s new triple National Championships series as Sunday action earlier saw the Grand Bahama Little League hold onto the bronze in their showdown against the rookie Andros team with a 15-0 rout.
And on Saturday, the GBLL emerged as the champions of the 18-and-under division with a 10-6 decision over JBLL in the final of their best-of-five series for a 3-1 advantage, while Freedom Farm took home the Tee Ball title over Grand Bahama’s Legacy.
The BBF will now prepare for the second leg of the championships when the 12-and-under series heads to Rock Sound and Palmetto Point, Eleuthera, June 20-23. The nationals will conclude in New Providence over the weekend of June 28-30 at the JBLN and Freedom Farm parks with the under-8, under-10 and under-14 series.
Freedom Farm 9, JBLN 0: Manager Jeff ‘Sangy’ Francis said there was no question that they were saving Araujo for the finale. He said the 16-year-old Queen’s College student delivered a steady diet of pitchers to secure the win.
“One of the games, JBLN used a strategy to throw a slower pitcher against us and it qorked to perfection because that was the only game we lost in the tournament,” Francis stated.
“This time, we were geared up. My starting pitcher was very focused. He told me from yesterday (Saturday), ‘coach, I want the ball.’ He has a variety of pitchers. So I told the guys to just stay focus and crush the ball.”
With a 1-0 lead to work with after the top of the second inning, Araujo went to work on JBLN, finishing with a two-hitter, a pair of hit by pitches and five strike outs to seal the deal for Freedom Farm.
“I feel good because this is a nice tournament. We wanted to win,” said the Cuban native, who has been residing here in the Bahamas for the past two years.
“Yesterday (Saturday), we lost to the same team, so we came here today (Sunday) with more energy and we won the game. I told coach that I wanted the ball because I know I could beat this team and that was what I did.”
Freedom Farm, who broke the game open with an 8-run spurt in the fourth, was led offensively by left fielder Ferron Edgecombe, who was 2-for-3 with two runs batted in (RBI) and one scored; shortstop Kristin Munroe, who was 1-for-2 with a RBI and run scored and right fielder Brandon Hutchinson, who drove in a run and scored another in his three at-bats.
Warren Levarity Jr, the manager for JBLN, admitted that they faced a well oiled machined in Araujo and there was nothing they could do offensively to slow him down.
“I have to give them credit, They had a good pitcher and he had a good fast ball and a slider,” he recalled. “That kind of kept us off balanced because normally we would face good fast ball and curve and we would still be able to adjust, but that slider that looked like a fast ball, had us a little off balanced and we couldn’t adjust to that.
“We tried to wear him down. As you could see, near the end of the game we were putting the bat on the ball, but it was too late.”
Levarity even had some difficulties with his own pitchers, using three in the third inning after starter and loser Gaber Colie got in trouble. But Travis Minnins nor Amahj McPhee could get them out of the hole before the two hour time limit had expired.
“We went with our ace. The game was 1-0 for the first three innings, so we were in the game, but I guess at a certain point we just lost gas and they kind of took over from there.”
Catcher Shaquille Anderson was 1-for-1 and designated player Rashad Knowles was 1-for-2 to pace the way for JBLN.
Bronze medal game
GBLL 15, Andros 0: This was a lop-sided affair as them ore experienced Grand Bahama team took advantage from start to finish as they took advantage if nine walks, two hit by pitches, five wild pitches, two balks and five hits.
Third baseman Denali Nottage led their attack by going 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored; second baseman Ernie Barr was 1-for-3 with a RBI and run scored; winning pitcher Keyron Knowles helped his own cause going 1-for-2 with two runs scored; first baseman Samuel Solomon was 1-for-2 with a run scored and first baseman Jeffrey Pierre was 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Center fielder Steven Adderley, right fielder Adonte Philip and shortstop Brent Burrows all scored a pair of runs.
Manager Orville Saint said they had a young team, but they didn’t have enough games under their belt to match up better against Freedom Farm and JBLN.
“I think they did a great job. Sorry we couldn’t go any further than third place, but that’s baseball,” he summed up.
As for their opponents, Saint said it was good for them to get their feet wet.
“They need a little more help and to play more ball,” he said. “They are great guys and athletes and so it seemed like they are getting the hang of the game.”
Andros’ manager Michael Miller said this was their first year playing baseball and they were excited to be a part of the tournament, thanks to the support from Freedom Farm and Aliv.
“Resources were not able, but their heart and determination really impressed us so their eyes were opened to see something big, so that was the key to get them out here, so they can be exposed to something great so they will know what greatness is.”
Andros lost 13-1 to JBLN in their playoff game, while Freedom Farm prevailed 12-2 in their match-up. Round robin games saw JBLN defeat Freedom Farm 7-3; GBLL def. Andros 15-1; Freedom Farm def. Andros 15-0; GBLL def. JBLL 5-4; JBLL def. Andros 14-0 and Freedom Farm def. GBLL 6-2.
GBLL 10, JBLL 6: With only two teams entered, Grand Bahamas made sure that they kept the title home completing their five-game series on Saturday night with a 3-1 decision.
Kefon Wright got the win on the mound, giving up four hits, walking two and striking out four with three earned runs before Camerone Meadows closed the door in the final two innings on three hits and two earned run. Giovante Tomalin suffered the loss before Perez Burrows and Alex Colie shared relief duties.
Third baseman Denanaj Russell went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored; Camrone Meadows, the starting second baseman, was 1-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored; catcher Rex Missick was 1-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored and left fielder Ashley Poitier was 1-for-2 with a RBI and run scored.
In a losing effort, second baseman Tyrique Dorsett was 2-for-3 with three RBI; catcher Perrico Mortimer was 2-for-3 with a RBI and run scored and center fielder Kylee Wemyss was 1-for-2 with a run scored.
Their other games played saw GBLL win 4-3 and 17-1, while JBLL won 7-5.