Hitmen, Brackettes move on to NPSA Championship
Both the Arnette’s Sporting Lounge Hitmen and the Sigma Brackettes advanced to the New Providence Softball Association (NPSA) Championships on Saturday night, finishing off their opponents in three-game sweeps. The other two playoffs series will continue on Monday night on the Banker’s Field over at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex. The Proper Care Pool Lady Sharks are up two games to none on the Sigma Wildcats and can close that series out in a three-game sweep, and the Andre Gardiner Construction Buccaneers are up two games to none on the Mighty Mitts, and also close that series out in a three-game sweep.
Hitmen 9, Rams 7
With the defending champions Truckers out of the picture this year, this might very well be the year of the Hitmen.
They advanced to another NPSA Championship on Saturday night, but the challenge for them this time, would be to win it, especially with the Truckers deciding to take the year off. The Hitmen got past the Miller’s Rams, 9-7, on Saturday night on the Banker’s Field over at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.
As the score indicates, the Rams gave the Hitmen all they could handle, but in the end, the Hitmen just had too much experience for the youthful Rams.
Ace pitcher Alcott Forbes entered the game in the fourth inning in relief of winning pitcher Martin Burrows Jr., and closed the door on the Rams, even though they scored three runs late.
The Hitmen scored four runs in each of the first two innings, and led 8-2 going into the third. The Rams added one in the third, one in the fourth and two in the fifth to make it interesting though.
Rashad Richardson had a two-run single in the top of the fifth inning off Forbes, to bring the Rams within 9-6, but Forbes fanned the next two batters to end the threat. He yielded a run in the seventh, but then got the final two batters on ground outs to end the game and the series.
“It feels good to be back in the championship, but this isn’t the first time that this team is in the championship. The goal is to go there and win it this time,” said Forbes on Saturday night. “I think that this is the year for the team. I like the way that we look so far. Hopefully, we could get the job done this year.
“We’re not worried about the Truckers not being there. We know that we’re the favorites, but we still have to go there and live up to that. We have to play the way we’re capable of playing. We need to get some batting practice in, and just be able to hit the ball when we need to. Once we do that, we should be okay.”
Sherman Ferguson finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored for the Hitmen. Hosea Hilton had a big night with four runs driven in, on 2-for-4 hitting. He also scored twice. Jameko Sands had a two-run single for the Hitmen.
Deno Sweeting finished 2-for-4 for the Rams. Richardson had a two-run single, and scored a run for the Rams, and Keron Sands had an RBI single.
“From where we started, and where we ended up, I am totally satisfied,” said Rams’ Coach Andy Percentie. “The guys played with confidence, and you can see tonight that the game was very close. I’m quite pleased with the way they battled, and the immediate future looks very bright.
“Just to be here in the playoffs with such a young team, and to be competitive at that, shows you what kind of talent these guys have. I think when you look at next year, and the possibility of adding one or two experienced players, we will be right there. Overall, I’m very satisfied and very excited about the future.”
Percentie said that average age of the Rams is just 19 years, thereby creating a lot of optimism for the future.
Brackettes 8, Lady Hitters 7
The Sigma Brackettes needed two late runs in the seventh inning on Saturday night, to finish off the Lady Hitters, 8-7, and move on to the NPSA Championship.
The Lady Hitters actually took the lead with four runs in the sixth inning, but the Brackettes came right back with the game tying and game winning runs in the seventh. Avanthia Darville got the win while Thela Johnson suffered the loss.
The Lady Hitters scored first on Saturday night, but the Brackettes plated three runs in the third and fourth innings to take a 6-2 lead after four. However, the resilient Lady Hitters simply wouldn’t give up. They scored a run in the fifth, and then exploded for four in the sixth to take a 7-6 lead. The Brackettes came right back with two in the seventh though.
Zella Symonette finished a perfect 2-for-2 for the Brackettes, and scored a run, and Theota Williams added an RBI single.
Sheria Woodside finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs for the Lady Hitters, losing pitcher Johnson had a two-run single, and Lashanti Fowler finished 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
The Brackettes will be going after their second title in the past five years when they take on the winner of the series between the Proper Care Pool Lady Sharks and the Sigma Wildcats.