The Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF) is substituting the round-robin nationals for an all-star initiative this year, geared around bringing the best players from the various islands of The Bahamas together.
BSF Treasurer Jeffrey “Beef” Henfield said that it was something that they looked into from last year, and in an effort to assist with hurricane relief and to shake things up a bit, they decided to go full steam with the concept this year. The BSF Inter Island All-Star Classic is set for the weekend of November 1-3 on the Banker’s Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.
In the absence of the various men and women’s champions from the islands, all-star teams will be assembled. The avenue was created by a lack of play in the various islands this year, particularly in the north as a result of the passing of Hurricane Dorian.
Already, five men’s teams and seven women’s teams have confirmed participation. The capital island of New Providence is the only island that will be represented by club teams as the champions and runners-up in the men and women’s divisions from the New Providence Softball Association (NPSA) will take part. Additionally, there will be men and women’s teams from Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera. According to Henfield, Harbour Island has expressed an interest as well, and there will be just ladies teams from Long Island and Andros. The four teams in the men and women’s championship series from New Providence are the Commando Security Truckers and the C&S Enterprise Hitmen on the men’s side, and the Sunshine Auto Wildcats and the Inventive Intellect Lady Warriors on the women’s side.
“We’re very excited,” said Henfield. “This is a golden opportunity for us to put a twist on the softball world because it is something different – something away from the norm. If this is successful, we will have grounds to move forward with this and then get the government involved because it will be like a true national tournament. A lot of islands wanted to stay with the same concept of ‘champions of champions’ but that would be a very costly venture for the BSF this year and the funds just are not there. This is going to be just like the same concept as a round-robin but it’s going to be an all-star tournament where each island could bring all-star teams. The presidents from the various islands are on board and the officials are on board as well. Most of the players are on board. Only New Providence had a season so of course the champions would want the same concept to remain, but we believe that this could be uplifting to the sport here in the country. We believe that it is a positive thing, we believe that it will be well attended and that there will be a lot of excitement.”
For the first time in over 40 years, there will be no BSF round-robin nationals, but Henfield said given their current financial state and the hardships the country endured following the passing of Hurricane Dorian at the beginning of September, this proposed all-star classic was the best route to take.
Entrance to the park will be at $3 per person and all proceeds from the gate will go toward hurricane relief for those affected from the passing of Dorian. Also, fans are being asked to bring canned goods and other non-perishable items to go toward hurricane relief. Even though the various islands will be bringing all-star teams, players in New Providence who are not on any of the four teams who will represent the capital could join up with the various islands if they have heritage or family backgrounds in those particular islands.
“We want everyone to get involved,” said Henfield. “If there are players in Nassau who might be descendants of the various islands, they could play with those respective islands if those islands are not able to field full teams. We believe that eventually, this will be very well-received. What happened is that the government cut back on grants this year, so we were really unable to stage the round-robin like we wanted to so this all-star classic is the way to go. We’re looking at giving three rooms per island, and there are sponsors coming on board in that regard. Also, all of this is in aid of hurricane relief. We want to give out about 100 cases of water to affected inhabitants of Abaco and Grand Bahama, and like I said, all proceeds from the gate will go toward hurricane relief.”
The all-star classic will get underway at 6 p.m. next week Friday and wrap up on the evening of Sunday, November 3. Some of the sponsors who have come on board are Sunshine Auto Sales, Bommer G. Trucking, Electro Telecom, McDonalds (Restaurants Bahamas Ltd.) and United Sanitation Ltd.
There will be various prizes and surprises over the course of the three days of the classic.