Blue Marlins, Wildcats punch ticket to NPSA Championships

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Simba FrenchSend an emailSeptember 26, 2022 289 4 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 Cyber Tech Blue Marlins catcher Garfield Bethel is shown running the bases during their game against the Atlantis Titans on Saturday night. The Blue Marlins won the game, 10-3, to sweep the best-of-three semifinal series two games to none. DANTE CARRER

After winning 3-2 in the first game of the best-of-three semifinal series, the Cyber Tech Blue Marlins put on a dominant offensive display on Saturday night, taking down the Atlantis Titans, 10-3, to sweep them two games to none. With that win, they advanced to the New Providence Softball Association’s (NPSA) men’s championship series.

Playing in the early game on the Bankers Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex, the Sunshine Auto Wildcats got over a slow start to take down the Johnson’s Lady Truckers, 17-6. That win punched their ticket to the women’s championship series as they swept the Lady Truckers to games to none, and now they will go after a fourth straight title.

Both the Blue Marlins and the Wildcats will have to wait until Thursday, at the earliest, to find out who they will play in the championship round.

Thomas Davis was on top of his pitching game for the Blue Marlins on Saturday night as he came away with 10 strikeouts. He also went 1-for-2 at the plate and scored two runs in the victory. Overall, the Blue Marlins finished with 10 hits in the game.

“The mindset coming into this game was to be different and more aggressive. The last game was close but we were able to get a win,” Davis said.

The Blue Marlins got on the scoreboard first as center fielder Angelo Watson got a double to bring home left fielder Lamar Watkins in the top of the second inning. Catcher Garfield Bethel and Davis also scored in that inning to put them up 3-0.

The Titans got their scoring underway in the bottom of that inning. Designated hitter Cardinal Gilbert came home on a hit by Nathan Bethel.

The Blue Marlins scored three more runs in the top of the third inning to take a 6-1 lead. The Titans could not get on the scoreboard in the bottom half of that inning as Davis and his team’s defense proved to be too much for them.

It was the top of the fourth when the Blue Marlins looked like they took the life out of the Titans with a four-run inning that enabled them to go up 10-1. They were all smiles heading back on the field for the bottom of the fourth. They shut out the Titans in the bottom of the fourth, and the score remained 10-1.

After the Blue Marlins did not score in the top of the fifth inning, Titans’ catcher Anthony Moss hit a double to center field to get an RBI (run batted in). Moss scored afterwards to give his team their third run of the night. It was not enough as they lost via the mercy rule.

Looking ahead, Davis said the mindset heading into the championship is to take it one game at a time, make the pitches and hit the ball.

The Wildcats scored in all six innings except one – the second inning. In the sixth inning, they scored five runs that brought on the mercy rule. They finished with 12 hits in a game that needed two and a half hours to complete.

One of the team captains, Larikah Russell, spoke about the performance. She finished 2-for-5 at the plate and scored three runs.

“From my vantage point, scoring two runs straight out of the gate is a great start and not a slow one. Yes, they may have scored more runs than we may have liked, but we remained focused. We did not dwell on any errors, we genuinely had fun and the final score reflected this,” Russell said.

After going up 2-0 in the top of the first inning, the Wildcats took their feet off the gas pedal and the Lady Truckers bounced back. They scored three runs in the bottom of the second inning. They Wildcats showed why they are the defending champions as they came right back in the top of the third inning and scored four runs to take the 6-3 lead. In the bottom half of that inning, the Lady Truckers scored just one run to trail 6-4 going into the fourth.

In the top of the fourth, the Wildcats got some more runs as they scored four more times to take a 10-4 lead. The Wildcats looked more confident heading on the field for the bottom of the fourth inning. The Lady Truckers mustered up just two runs in that inning.

Those two runs were last runs the Lady Truckers scored in the game. The Wildcats scored seven more runs to end the game early.

Looking ahead to the championship, Russell said that she will look to keep the team ready.

“I believe that the key to winning is practice and preparation,” Russell said. “So, we will do just that until it is time for the showdown. Every game is a team effort and we will continue to encourage and motivate each other, to play their best every time we step on the field.”

The Blue Marlins await the winner of the C&S Hitmen and the Chances Mighty Mitts. The Hitmen lead that series 1-0 and Game Two is set for Thursday night.

The Wildcats will be waiting to see who wins the other women’s series between the RAB Operators and the University of The Bahamas Mingoes. The Operators have a 1-0 lead in that series and their second game is set for Thursday at 7 p.m.

If the Operators and the Hitmen win, the championships will get underway on Saturday.

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