The Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) crowned its first champions in a team sport in two years on Wednesday as the softball championships continued over at the Freedom Farm Baseball Fields in Yamacraw.
SAC sweeps QC 2-0
Just two teams battled this season as the BAISS made a triumphant return to sports, and when the dust had cleared, it was the St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine celebrating another title.
SAC had to come from behind, taking down the Queen’s College Comets, 15-9. They scored 12 of their 15 runs in the last two innings to pull off the victory, and are now celebrating their first BAISS junior girls softball title since 2017.
“I feel ecstatic right now. We came a long way and we pulled it off,” said SAC’s Head Coach Ricka Rose, who is in her first year coaching the team. “We only had a month to get ready for this, but the girls worked hard and they cut down their errors today. That was the key in securing the victory.”
For SAC, they have become accustomed to winning softball titles, but falling short in 2018 and again 2019, plus the two years off due to the threat of COVID, made the wait extra long. Rose said they’re happy to be back on top and they’re looking to repeat as champions in 2023.
“To come back and win the title after two years off feels amazing. We’re not losing a lot of players so I expect us to be back even stronger next year, so this is just the begging of things to come,” she said.
SAC won game one of the best-of-three series, 23-19, on Tuesday and took game two, 15-9, yesterday.
SAC’s leadoff batter Malaya Pratt and Lauren Rolle scored three times apiece for them. Keila McPhee, Valiyah Farquharson and Taeja Pinder added two runs scored apiece.
After the third inning, they were down 6-3, but battled all the way back, plating seven in the top of the fourth and five more in the top of the fifth.
QC could only muster three runs after the third inning.
Tamil Strachan scored three of their nine runs, and Genesis Williams and Jaidyn Russell added two runs scored each.
Ashleigh Forbes was the winning pitcher for SAC while Rayne Duncombe suffered the loss for QC.
QC sweeps Temple Christian 2-0
The Comets used good pitching, strong defense and timely hits to fly past the Temple Christian Suns, 15-7, and complete a two-game sweep and repeat as BAISS junior boys champions yesterday.
After winning a close game on Tuesday, the Comets left no doubt as to who was the superior team on Wednesday. They prevailed 11-8 in game one.
“We knew that we had the talent to win,” said Comets’ Head Coach Adam Waterhouse. “We knew that we were up against a tough opponent, but once we came out and did what we needed to do, we knew we would come out on top. It feels great to win.
“There are only about four or five guys moving up so we feel about good about our chances of coming here and doing it again next year.”
The Comets won the last time the championship were held, in 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted play in 2020 and again in 2021.
Be that as it may, Waterhouse said it feels good to repeat as champions.
“We came together strongly. I’ve been telling them all season that if they come together they would win because the talent was there. They did that and we came out on top,” said Waterhouse.
The Comets lost their only game of the regular season to the St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine, and went into the playoffs as the number two seed.
They disposed of the Nassau Christian School Crusaders in their single elimination playoff game, and easily handled the Suns in the championship series.
The Comets jumped out front 3-0 after the first inning on Wednesday and never looked back.
Leadoff batter Liam Eneas was the spark plug for the Comets as he got on base every time he came he came to the plate and scored each time. He scored four runs in total.
Second-place batter Ajai Knowles added three runs scored for the Comets.
Sternaz Seymour was the only batter who scored multiple runs for the Suns. He scored twice.
NCS sweeps QC 2-0
Nassau Christian School (NCS) Crusaders’ Head Coach Donna Brown said her team was hungry from the season started, and knowing the talent that she had, it was only a matter of them coming together and playing as a team, for them to win it all.
The Crusaders completed a sweep of the Queen’s College Comets on Wednesday, winning their first BAISS senior girls softball title in many years.
After taking game one, 14-10, the Crusaders had to rely on good pitching and strong defense to get the job done on Wednesday. They prevailed 4-3 in game two to complete the sweep.
The Crusaders finished a perfect 8-0 in the regular season, disposed of the defending champions St. John’s College Giants in the dingle elimination playoff game, and then took down the Comets in two games in the best-of-three championship series.
“Even though the hits weren’t there like that, we came out on top. We dug down deep for this one and we prevailed. The bats weren’t there but they pushed through,” said Crusaders’ Coach Brown. “This is exciting. It’s exhilarating. It feels great. We came together when we needed to and now we are champions. We had one or two errors today, but overall, we played as a team and we came out on top.”
Apryl Davis was the winning pitcher for the Crusaders while Michaela Bain suffered the loss.
The Crusaders scored three times in the top of the first inning. They were shut out in the next three innings, but got the winning run in the top of the fifth.
The Comets got one run in the second, another in the third and their third and final run in the fourth inning. They left runners stranded on second and third in the bottom of the fifth.
With the potential tying run on third, winning pitcher Davis got Comets’ hitter Shanaz Demeritte to ground out to first to end the game and the championship in their favor.
“This means a lot. It boosts their spirit to come back next year and do it again,” said Brown. “The girls were excited to play this year because of the stoppage due to COVID. They came out here and executed and got the job done. There are only two girls who are leaving so I expect another strong team next year.”
Brown said she wasn’t worried at all when they weren’t hitting the ball like she wanted them to because she knew they had the pitching and defense to pull them through.
Series tied 1-1
With their backs against the wall, the St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine senior boys responded when they needed to, taking the second game of their BAISS championship series on Wednesday.
They won a thriller, 19-18, scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh inning, to win the game and even the best-of-three championship series at a game apiece. The loss for the Nassau Christian School (NCS) Crusaders was their first of the season, and for them, they picked the wrong time to come out flat.
The Crusaders were battling from behind all night, and after finally going ahead in the top of the seventh, they watched as SAC plated two runs in the bottom of the seventh for a walk-off win.
With a runner at third and two out, it was Cedric Dualier who came through for SAC. He laced a line drive that barely got over the reach of Crusaders’ shortstop Jayden Brown to score the game-winning run from third. Game three in the series is set for Friday at 5 p.m. at the Freedom Farm Baseball Fields.
“Well, I know I needed a hit to keep our season alive. I just got good bat on the ball and put it in a good position,” said Duvalier. “We just needed a base hit and I’m thankful that I was able to get it. It feels great but the job isn’t finished yet. We have to come back and do the same thing on Friday.”
SAC had a sizable lead for much of the night, but the Crusaders kept battling back. NCS was down 5-3 after the first inning and 8-3 after being shut out in the second. SAC held a commanding 11-5 lead going into the fifth inning, NCS exploded for five runs in the fifth, but SAC responded with six in the bottom of the fifth to 17-10 lead into the sixth. Once again, NCS got back in the game. They scored six runs in the top pf the sixth and then held SAC scoreless in the bottom half of that frame to trail just 17-16 going into the seventh and final inning.
A pair off solo home runs, one inside the park and the next one out of the park game NCS an 18-17 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, setting the stage for Duvalier to be the hero.
“As you can see, our performance was off and on tonight. We made quite a few errors and allowed them to get back in the game, and we have to clean that up for Friday,” said SAC’s Assistant Coach Greg Jones. “We were able to get some timely hits when we needed to and we pulled it off, but we have to clean up the errors. We know we could play better than we did tonight, but the important thing is that we got the win and now we have to come out here and do the same thing on Friday.”
When NCS battled back and took the lead, Jones said he just told his players to relax because they were batting last and had a chance to respond which they did.
“We had the game in hand, gave it back to them and then took it again,” he said. “We have to be able to protect a lead and limit the errors. Once we get a good start on Friday and limit the errors, we should be fine. We knew if we lost, that would be it, so the guys responded when they needed two. Hopefully, we could come back on Friday and end the season on a good note.”
Leadoff batter Damani Scott scored four times for SAC. Duvalier and Leonardo Johnson added three runs scored apiece. Ormund Gibson, Nevron Harrison and Tayshawn Major each scored three runs for the Crusaders.
Joshua Burrows was the winning pitcher for SAC while Jaheim Davis suffered the loss for the Crusaders.
The third and decisive game of the series will be played on Friday at 5 p.m.