Truckers, Wildcats open season with wins
The New Providence Softball Association (NPSA) men and women’s defending champions, the Commando Security Truckers and the Sunshine Auto Wildcats, got off to the start they wanted as both teams picked up wins on opening night of the 2019 season at the Bankers Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex on Saturday.
In the men’s division, the Truckers shook off the pesky Chances Mighty Mitts, winning 13-10 in a game that ended after midnight. The Wildcats took down the Johnson’s Lady Truckers, 8-7, in the early game on Saturday.
Truckers 13, Mighty Mitts 10
The Commando Security Truckers got a home-run each from second baseman Stephen Russell and designated player Garfield Bethel. They went scoreless for the first two innings, but soon took control of the game.
The Mighty Mitts scored two runs in the first inning and took a 2-0 lead. They extended that lead to 4-0 in the top of the third inning when first baseman Chris McPhee sent a ball over the fence in left field for a two-run homer. He brought home shortstop Chedie Ferguson on that home-run.
McPhee ended the night with that two-run shot, scored two runs and finished with three runs batted in (RBI).
The Truckers were up to the challenge. Center fielder Lamar Watkins scored for the Truckers. He had a double and eventually scored. Bethel and shortstop Austin Hanna then scored for the Truckers to cut the deficit to 4-3.
Watkins finished the night 2-for-5 and had two runs scored. He said it felt good to get a win in their first game of the season.
“It is always good to get the first win of the season in the first game. I felt that the game should have been over long time. We have a young team, but by the sixth inning, our pitcher started to get a little weak. Thankfully, he managed to maintain it,” Watkins said.
The Truckers scored three runs to go ahead 6-4 as Bethel connected for his home-run. He finished the night a perfect 3-for-3, scored three runs and had three RBIs.
The Mighty Mitts regained the lead in the top of the fifth inning. They took a 7-6 lead in the bottom of that inning.
Center fielder Moses Kerr had a home-run in that inning for the Mighty Mitts. In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Truckers scored seven runs to take a commanding 13-7 lead, and went on to win, 13-10.
The winning pitcher was Deon Whyte for the Truckers. Travis Smith suffered the loss.
On Tuesday night, the Mighty Mitts will play the C&S Hitmen, the runner-up from a year ago. That game will get underway at 8.30 p.m.
There are three men’s teams in the league this year. According to a league official, there is a two-week grace period from the opening day of the season for new teams to join.
Wildcats 8, Lady Truckers 7
A huge five-run second inning by the Sunshine Auto Wildcats powered them past the Johnson’s Lady Truckers, 8-7, on Saturday night.
Lady Truckers’ catcher Natasha Paul was the first player to get on the scoreboard as she scored in the second inning to put her team up 1-0. Paul was the Lady Truckers’ best batter as she finished 2-for-3 and picked up one RBI.
For the defending champions, it was second baseman Aaliyah Ferguson who scored their first run. That run started a huge inning for the Wildcats as they went up 5-1. Ferguson went 2-for-2, scored two runs and picked up two RBIs in the game for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats held the lead for most of the game. The Lady Truckers got to within one in the top of the fifth inning. Lead-off batter, second baseman Solanna Brown scored a run to close the gap to 7-6.
With the score at 8-7 in favor of the Wildcats, the defense of the defending champions picked up as they got three quick outs in the top of the seventh inning to preserve the victory.
Daria Cambridge and Larikah Russell had strong nights for the Wildcats. Cambridge was 2-for-3, scored two runs and picked up three RBIs. Russell was 3-for-4 and scored a run.
The Wildcats’ Thela Johnson was the winning pitcher. The Lady Truckers’ Diva Burrows was tagged with the loss.
After the game, Wildcats’ coach Anthony Bullard said that he was glad that that they came out with the victory.
“I am glad the league started because the girls were tense to play. I have a few new girls and I am trying to blend them in. It was a close game and if it was a different team, I don’t think that we would have won. Thankfully we did,” said Bullard.
On schedule to play Tuesday are the University of The Bahamas Mingoes and the Brackettes. That game will get underway at 7 p.m.