#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#THE English Caribbean Amateur Softball Confederation (ECASC) Women’s Fast-Pitch Tournament Qualifier will be held in St John, US Virgin Islands February 28 to March 6, but according to tournament director Burkett Dorsett, the Bahamas is not entered.
#The Bahamas, now ranked at no. 61 in the world, finished as runners-up in the last tournament that was held in Grand Bahama in 2013, losing out to Aruba.
#This year’s ECASC Tournament is a ladies’ championship and a qualifier for the Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador.
#Aruba will be in attendance to defend their title along with four other teams confirmed in the tournament when games are played from March 1-5 at the National Park Ball Field. They are hosts to US Virgin Islands, Curacao, Turks & Cacaos, the British Virgin Islands and St Martin.
#Dorsett serves on the organising committee that includes Kevin Quinn out of Canada and Virgo Perez from Peru, who also resides in Canada. They are all members of the WBSC of Americas Commission for Competition.
#He noted that their responsibility is putting the tournament together and it’s disappointing that the Bahamas Softball Federation has not accepted an invitation to participate, having finished as runners-up in the last tournament.
#But Jenny Isaacs-Dotson, who was elected last year as the first female president of the BSF, said they sent in a formal communication indicating that they will not be able to attend.
#She outlined various reasons for the Bahamas’ absence.
#“The federation has not selected its national team coaches and a team has been assembled to do any practicing in preparation for this tournament,” Isaacs-Dotson said.
#“We got some funding from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, but in taking over, we were not able to get our accounting set up in time.
#“The cost of sending the team to the ECASC is going to be very costly, which we couldn’t afford at this time.
#“We are just getting ourselves in a position to start appointing our national team coaches and trying to get players to come out to practice on a regular basis so we will be ready when we do get to start travelling on international tournaments again.”
#It’s expected that there will be a total of 15 games played along with the playoffs and championship and bronze-medal games.
#A total of eight umpires are expected to make up the cadre officiating, along with Thomas Sears, the ECASC deputy umpire in chief, who will be attending the tournament.
#The men’s tournament for ECASC is not yet scheduled, but Dorsett said it has to be held before the CAC Games as it will also serve as a qualifier.
#But he said if they don’t host the tournament, he’s making the recommendation for the Bahamas, who won the last title in 2016, beating Aruba.
#The Bahamas is not listed in the top 40 in the world.
#Isaacs-Dotson said the federation would be more willing to get the men’s national team prepared to play in the ECASC tournament because they have sufficient players who are in a position to represent the country now, as opposed to the ladies’ team.
#“Our men are the defending champions, so we have to start looking seriously at trying to get them ready to defend their title,” she said.
#As for the possibility of the Bahamas hosting the tourney, Isaacs-Dotson said it will have to take a collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture in assisting the federation because of the funding that it will take to pull it off.
#“Many of our islands have not been playing fast pitch. They have been playing more slowpitch, which was also a damper for us in trying to put the ladies’ team together, along with the funding issues that we encountered when we took over.”