Team Bahamas drops to 0-2

The Bahamas’ national women’s softball team continued to struggle on Monday night, as they were shut out by the powerful Cubans at the 2019 Pan American Softball Championships in what is known as “Softball City” – Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Cuban pitchers Anisley Lopez Gutierrez and Yilian Angelina Tornes Vargas combined on a one-hitter, and Cuba blasted The Bahamas 13-0, ending the game early via the international mercy rule. Team Bahamas’ lead-off batter Eilyah Johnson got their only hit – a bunt single in the top of the fourth inning. She was eventually thrown out trying to steal second base, and Cuban closer Tornes Vargas retired the next two batters to end the game early, in less than an hour.

Lopez Gutierrez picked up the win for Cuba and Brendia Ferguson suffered the loss for The Bahamas.

Ferguson failed to record a single out as she was tagged for five hits and eight runs in the first inning. Ramona Hanna and Valencia Gibson came on in relief. Hanna gave up three hits and two runs in two innings, and Gibson was tagged for three hits and three runs in one inning of work.

By the end of the first inning Cuba was already ahead 9-0. They added another run in the second and three more in the third to close the door on Team Bahamas.

Cuba’s top five batters had 10 of their 11 hits. They went a combined 10-for-14 with seven RBIs (runs batted in) and nine runs scored. Their 11 hits consisted of one triple, two doubles and the rest were singles.

“We were dominated by the Cuban pitcher,” said Team Bahamas Head Coach Shane Albury from Surrey. “One player was able to get on base. Despite efforts to adjust or swing, bunt, slap, etc., we were unable to be effective. On defense, we had too many errors, especially in the first inning, which led to the onslaught. Unfortunately, our players missed many manageable and routine plays during the game. Our pitchers were also overworked due to the errors,” he added.

With the win, Cuba improved to a 1-1 win-loss record in the tournament while The Bahamas dropped to a winless 0-2 and faced Puerto Rico in a pivotal game last night. The result of that game was unavailable up to press time.

On Sunday, The Bahamas fell to Guatemala, 9-4.

In that game, The Bahamas scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning off three hits and three errors to tie the game at four, but Guatemala responded with three in the top of the sixth and two more in the top of the seventh. Team Bahamas had no answer.

Josselline Marielos Monge Solorzano hurled all seven innings and got the win for Team Guatemala and Thela Johnson suffered the loss for The Bahamas. Johnson gave up six hits and seven runs, just three earned, in five and two third innings. She walked five batters and struck out four. Out of 102 pitches, she threw 64 strikes. Hanna came on in relief, pitching the final inning and a third for The Bahamas.

Third baseman Altavia Hall swung the hot bat for The Bahamas, finishing a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and a run scored. Johnson added a double in two at-bats and scored a run. Team Bahamas had six hits in total but surrendered eight and nine runs. Both teams had three errors in the game.

With three hits in two games, Hall is in a five-way tie for first place in hits among all of the batters in the tournament.

All eight of the hits from Guatemala were singles. Sharon Castro Hernandez led them at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a couple of RBIs and a run scored.

“It was a tightly contested game for five innings, but a few defensive miscues and lack of hitting in key situations ultimately lead to the loss,” said Albury. “Nonetheless, the ladies played a pretty good game. The confidence level is growing. We will give our best effort against Puerto Rico.”

In Team Bahamas’ defense, they are one of the lowest-ranked teams in the week-long tournament. The Bahamas is ranked at number 39 in the world, while Guatemala is at number 18 and Cuba is one slot higher at number 17. Last night’s opponent, Puerto Rico, is ranked at number four in the world. On Thursday, The Bahamas plays host nation Canada which is the number three ranked team in the world.

The best female softballers from 12 countries across North America, South America and the Caribbean are competing for the Olympic dream in Surrey. The event is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).

Having suffered two losses already, The Bahamas’ chances of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, in softball, are slim. Just the top two nations from the tournament will qualify for the 2020 Olympics, joining host nation Japan and the United States as four of the six nations to be qualified for Tokyo 2020. The tournament wraps up on Sunday.

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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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