BOTH the new look Sunshine Auto Wildcats and the Commando Security Truckers picked up where they left off last year, winning the season opening games in the New Providence Softball Association 2019 season.
The Wildcats got a scare right until the end when they prevailed with an 8-7 nipping of the Johnson’s Lady Truckers in Saturday night’s ladies opener in the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.
And before a moment of silence was offered for the late Ramon ‘Shakey’ Johnson, the Truckers held off the Chances Mighty Mitts 13-10 in another nail-biting affair.
Lady Truckers 7
Second sacker Aaliyah Ferguson ripped a one-out run-producing double to left field that knocked in shortstop Larikah Russell with the game winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Russell led off the rally with a single to break up the 7-7 tie, moved to second on a passed ball before left fielder Ramona Hanna singled and Ferguson came through with the big blow.
“I think we were a lit timid. I think they were just trying to get the jitters out. Now they are ready to play,” said Wildcats’ skipper Anthony Bullard. “We have some new girls and they have been fitting in. We’ve been practicing for a while, si they are just getting used to it.”
Ferguson finished with a perfect 2-for-2 night with her run batted in and two more runs scored, while Russell was 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Third sacker Daria Cambridge, batting second in the lineup, was 2-for-3 with a double and triple, three RBI and scored twice. Center fielder Lashandra Bethel was 2-for-4 with a run scored and first sacker Donette Edwards was 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Bullard said his only concern was that the score was too close, but now that they have gotten their feet wet, they will be looking forward to going for a repeat as champions.
Ace Thela Johnson was back and while she went 1-for-4 at the plate, she went the distance on the mound for the win on seven hits for the Wildcats. Diva Burrows, the ace for the Truckers, gave up 15 hits in picking up the loss.
Catcher Natasha Paul paced the Lady Truckers with a 2-for-3 outing with a RBI and two runs scored. Second sacker Solanna Brown was 3-for-4 with a run scored and shortstop Yavanna McDonald and third sacker Princess Mullings were both 1-for-4 with a RBI.
Johnson’s scored one run in the second, three in the third, two in the fifth and another one in the sixth.
“I was very pleased. We haven’t had that many practices, so we just put assembled the team and see what we can do because we have a lot of young players,” said Lady Truckers’ skipper Spurgeon Johnson.
“I think we played above my expectations tonight. Going forward, we look to be a better and stronger team. Once we get some more practices and pick up one or two outfielders, we will be okay.”
Truckers 13, Mighty Mitts 1-: On the strength of a seven-run fifth inning rout, Commando Security made their claim for the season opening victory in the men’s division.
Highlighted by a three-run home run from Stephen Russell, a RBI triple from left fielder Angelo Watson, a RBI double from designated player Garfield Bethel and a run-producing single from shortstop Austin Maurice, the Truckers roared from a 7-5 deficit to clinch the win.
Bethel finished with a perfect 3-for-3 night with three RBI and scored as many runs. Russell was 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored; Watson was 2-for-4 with two RBI and a pair of runs scored; Lamar Watkins was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and Maurice was 1-for-3 with a RBI and run scored.
Deon Whyte was the winning pitcher and Travis Smith suffered the loss.
The Truckers rolled to three runs in the third, three in the fourth and the seven in the fifth. The Mighty Mitts drew first blood, scoring a pair in the first, two in the third, three in the fifth and three in the sixth.
first baseman Chris McPhee went 1-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored; left fielder Steffan McKenzie was 2-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored and catcher Kenneth Curry was 1-for-2 with a RBI and a run scored.
NPSA action will continue on Tuesday with another double header at the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.