Wildcats, Hitmen go up 1-0 in NPSA playoffs

The Sunshine Auto Wildcats got off to a winning start in their campaign to complete a three-peat in the New Providence Softball Association ladies division when they took down the University of The Bahamas Mingoes 11-4 to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five semifinal series at Bankers Field, Baillou Hills Sporting Complex on Tuesday night.

On the men’s side later that night, the C&S Hitmen pitcher Alcott Forbes squandered a perfect game as his Hitmen took down the Renegades 7-0 to go up 1-0 in their best-of-five semifinal series.

Tonight will feature four teams playing game one in their playoffs series.

The first game at 7 p.m. will feature the defending men’s division champion, the Commando Security Truckers, against the upstarts Chances Mighty Mitts.

Following that game, the Brackettes will face the Inventive Intellect Lady Warriors at 8:30 p.m.

Wildcats 11, Mingoes 4

Thela Johnson, the Wildcats’ pitcher, went 3-for-3, scored one run, picked up four runs batted in (RBI) and had six strikeouts as she led her team to an 11-4 victory over the Mingoes.

The fearless Mingoes team came out at the top of the first inning and scored two runs to let the defending champions know that they will not be pushovers.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Wildcats came out and scored one run to close the gap to 2-1.

With the Wildcats threatening the Mingoes’ defense with bases loaded and one out, the Mingoes dug deep and struck out a batter and had a good play from their in-fielders to prevent the Wildcats from scoring.

The score was 2-1 in favor of the Mingoes at the end of the first inning.

The second inning saw the Mingoes extend their lead to a three-run margin as the scoreline was 4-1 with the Wildcats left to bat.

“We had good confidence in game. Starting off with fun and communication. We had very good defense and offense in the beginning,” said Mingoes second baseman Cyntese Cooper.

The bottom of the second inning saw the Wildcats bringing out the big guns to score seven runs in that inning to take an 8-4 lead. The Wildcats took advantage of some sloppy pitching and bad defensive plays by the Mingoes.

“We came out a little sluggish tonight. After the hurricane we did not [have] much practice. The girls gave a good fight and I told them not to fall down to their level of playing. We picked it up in the third inning but we left runs stranded on base,” Johnson said.

The Wildcats’ shortstop and leadoff batter, Daria Cambridge, scored her third and final run of the game in the bottom of the third inning.

By the bottom of the fifth inning, the Wildcats ended the game on a Johnson RBI as left fielder Lashanda Bethel crossed the home plate to score. The game was over with the Wildcats winning 11-4.

Johnson said it wasn’t intentional to end the game in the fifth inning but she is glad she did.

“It wasn’t intentional but I am glad that we did. Nonetheless my coach told me to keep running and they have to throw me out at the plate,” Johnson said.

Johnson was the winning pitcher and Kira Dames was the losing pitcher.

The Mingoes have yet to beat the Wildcats this season after the Wildcats held a 3-0 win-loss record against the Mingoes in regular season play.

Shane Albury, head coach of the Mingoes, said they can regroup. “Most certainly. Despite the loss, the ladies are still upbeat and positive. We know where we fell down and we have respect for the Wildcats but we have some tenacious players on our team and they are coming for the win.”

Johnson added that her Wildcats will not take the Mingoes as a pushover.

The teams will play each other again on Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Hitmen 7, Renegades 0

The Hitmen let Forbes pitch all five innings as they took advantage of the inexperienced Renegades team. The Hitmen scored four runs in the first inning as they routed the Renegades 7-0.

Forbes had 13 straight strikeouts as he looked like he was about to pitch a perfect game. With the perfect game within reach, the Renegades’ left fielder Malique Fowler did not fall for Forbes’ bait as he pitched his fourth ball as Fowler was walked. That walk spoiled Alcott’s perfect game. Forbes still had a no-hitter despite walking Fowler.

“When you come that close and in the final inning and you end up walking someone, you fell a little down. I have some work to do. I can be a lot stronger in late innings. It is always good to keep yourself honest and respect the game,” Forbes said.

Forbes struck out one more batter as the final batter was out by way of a fly-ball to left field.

The Renegades never got into an offensive rhythm as their inexperience was evident at the plate.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Hitmen scored four runs, looking poised for a double-digit scoring night.

The Renegades settled and allowed one run in the next two innings as their defense stepped up. In the third inning, the Hitmen’s third baseman Courtney Smith got a good hit to center field when Renegades center fielder Chris Jennings made up some ground to make an improbable catch.

The Renegades’ youthfulness in the field helped to interrupt any momentum the Hitmen wanted on offense.

Forbes was the winning pitcher as he finished with 14 strikeouts. Renegades’ Garrome Hanna was the losing pitcher.

Forbes said that he knows the Renegades are a young team but he wants to get his team to the championship round.

Game two in this series will be on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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