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Curaçao beats The Bahamas

A furious rally by Team Bahamas came up just short on Monday night, as they fell to the defending champions Curaçao on the second day of the 4th Annual COCABE (Caribbean Baseball Confederation) Caribbean Baseball Cup, currently taking place at the Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium.

The host nation lost, 12-10, dropping to one win and one loss in the week-long tournament. The Bahamas team is off today and will face Cuba tomorrow.

The Bahamas fell behind 10-0 early in the game, but certainly didn’t go away quietly as they rallied behind a six-run fifth inning and a three-run eighth inning. They had the tying runs on base in the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn’t complete what would have been an historic comeback.

The crowd came alive late in the game, hoping The Bahamas could complete the comeback attempt, but Curaçao closer Risandro Pastor struck out Ural Forbes II with a runner at second to end the eighth and then sealed the deal when he got Toby Simmons swinging with a runner at first to end the game.

“We fought hard. We went down early but we didn’t give up. It shows the character of our team,” said Team Bahamas’ Head Coach Geron Sands last night. “There were a couple of mental mistakes that caused us, but I like the fight in the team. We’re going to be better because of a loss like this. The plan is to learn from this, come back and play better in the next game. That’s all we could do.”

Curaçao came out swinging, taking a 4-0 lead after the first inning and extending it to 9-0 after two. They scored another run in the bottom of the third and it looked like The Bahamas’ night would be over early due to the international mercy rule. The home team finally came alive offensively in the top of the fifth.

Four singles, three hit batters and two walks led to a huge top of the fifth inning for The Bahamas. Forbes, Kristin Munroe and Adari Grant all had RBI (runs batted in) hits for The Bahamas in the top of the fifth. They plated six to trail 10-6 heading into the bottom of the fifth. Still, it felt like a missed opportunity for The Bahamas, as a couple of mental errors might have caused them a couple of runs. Munroe was coming around third on a single from Grant, but was tagged out as he stopped in his tracks instead of continuing to home plate. The ball was thrown to third instead of going home and Munroe was tagged out. Moments later, Grant left too early from first base, and instead of delivering a pitch, Curaçao pitcher Témesh Lourens stepped off and got Grant at second to end The Bahamas’ inning.

Meanwhile, Team Bahamas pitcher Yeshua Saint came on in relief and was wheeling and dealing. He pitched six innings of three-hit ball for The Bahamas, enabling the host team to make a comeback. Curaçao scored just two runs after the third inning.

“Yeshua Saint came in and did his thing. He was ready and he picked us up at time when we really needed him to,” said Sands. “Starting pitching struggled for us tonight, but that’s a part of the game. There are a lot of positive things that we can take from this game. This is a team that keeps fighting and I think that bodes well for us for the rest of the tournament. We will continue to fight,” he added.

After Curaçao got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth, The Bahamas plated three more in the top of the eighth to pull within 11-9.

Robin Haven suffered the loss for The Bahamas, failing to get out of the first inning. He gave up two hits, four walks and four runs. Derrinyj Russell lasted just a third of an inning for The Bahamas, giving up two hits, three walks and five runs. Saint went the next six innings for The Bahamas. D’Vaughn Knowles pitched the bottom of the eighth for The Bahamas and retired three of the four batters he faced. The only one he didn’t, Raysheandell Miche, produced the first home run in the new Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium, instantly becoming the subject of a trivia question going forward.

Miche’s solo shot in the bottom of the eighth gave Curaçao a three-run lead, 12-9. The Bahamas completed the scoring with a sacrifice fly by Grant in the top of the ninth.

Lourens recorded the win for Curaçao and Pastor picked up the save.

For The Bahamas, Warren Saunders finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Grant was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Lead-off batter D’Shawn Knowles, clean-up batter Forbes, Munroe and pinch hitter Jay Knowles added a hit each for The Bahamas.

Raywendley Van Gurp finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Curaçao. Clean-up batter Dudley Leonora was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored, and four batters including Miche had a hit each for Curaçao. They will play the US Virgin Islands (USVI) today.

In the early game on Monday, Cuba shut out the USVI, 9-0.

The top two teams from the week-long tournament will qualify to compete at next year’s Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in San Salvador, El Salvador. If Cuba is among the top two, the top three will qualify for the CAC Games, as Cuba has previously qualified.

The Bahamas is off today and will face Cuba tomorrow.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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