They came back from three games to one to win NPSA championship
Fans got their money’s worth on Saturday, as they were treated to an epic game seven in the men’s championship of the New Providence Softball Association (NPSA) over at Banker’s Field, Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.
The Commando Security Truckers came away with an upset victory, defeating the two-time defending NPSA champions, the C&S Hitmen, 6-5, in game seven. Truckers catcher Garfield Bethel had a huge two-run home-run in the top of the sixth inning to lead the Truckers to the win.
Eugene Pratt pitched seven strong innings for the Truckers on Friday night, and was back on the mound again on Saturday, as ace pitcher Thomas Davis was unavailable for both games. On Friday night, Pratt hit a home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving his team a walk-off 13-11 win to extend the series to seven games.
Pratt left it all on the field in game seven. He had seven strikeouts, including a key strikeout in the bottom of the seventh inning, sending one of the Hitmen’s top batters, Alcott Forbes, back to the dugout.
The Truckers finished game seven with eight hits including a home run.
Despite having Forbes back after a one-game suspension, the Hitmen struggled offensively on Saturday night. They wasted three opportunities to score with the bases loaded. They finished the game with just five hits.
Both teams scored one run in the first inning. Heading into the sixth, the Hitmen held what seemed to be a comfortable 4-1 lead.
After Bethel’s two-run home-run pulled them to within one, 4-3, the Truckers gained confidence. It was Bethel’s first home run of the season. He said: “Being a senior player, I have to try lead and let the guys feed off my momentum. It was never my intention to hit a home run. I just wanted to make good contact. That is what normally happens when you make good contact and the ball does the rest.”
The Hitmen laid an egg in the bottom of the sixth inning, leaving the bases loaded. Bethel spoke about the three times the Hitmen had the bases loaded and what they did to prevent them from scoring.
“We already know we are an awesome defensive team. Our pitcher knew he had to dig down deep and he knew what he had to do. He had to execute in order for us to get out of those innings.”
The Truckers had the momentum heading into the top of the seventh.
They scored three in the top of the seventh to take charge of the game. Shortstop Austin Hanna was the first one to make it home. Pinch hitter Orlando McPhee and center fielder Lamar Watkins also scored to give the Truckers a 6-4 lead.
Watkins said: “It was all about staying composed… knowing that we can hit. We practiced hard all year, and hard work pays off. It was all about not giving up. They actually had four runs. The game is hits, runs and errors, and they scored four. We hit when the time was right and got the job done.”
With the top of their order at bat, the Hitmen were only able to produce one run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Pratt had clutch pitching for the Truckers and the infield recorded two huge outs.
After the game, Forbes said: “It’s a bittersweet moment. We had a lot going on with our team, a lot of injuries and adversities. We tried our best to overcome, however, mentally I believe the team was torn apart because of what was happening in the series from the start.”
About his team’s failure to score with the bases being loaded in the second, fourth and sixth innings, Forbes said: “Those things happen, but at the end of the day, I believe that everybody was too aggressive, wanted it too bad, forcing ourselves to make mistakes and we just didn’t get what we were supposed to get.”
He congratulated the Truckers and said he is pulling for them in the Bahamas Softball Federation’s (BSF) National Round Robin Tournament. With the win over the Hitmen, the Truckers will now go on to represent New Providence in the round-robin championships.
On Friday night, Hitmen catcher Angelo Dillet said that the game was not officiated correctly. When asked about Dillet’s comments, Forbes said that he did not want to elaborate on the officiating.
“I am not a cry baby, but you [were] here, you watched it and saw what happened. However, we had opportunities to win the game. I believe that umpires should let players play and they should just call safe and out,” said Forbes.
According to Forbes, both he and Dillet are hanging up their gloves as far as fast pitch softball is concerned.
Meanwhile, the Truckers are riding high. They were a huge underdog in the series, some predicting a sweep. After they went down three games to one, few thought they would come back in the series.
Watkins said: “The Truckers is a great organization. We are just trying to get it back to the way it used to be.”
As to their plans for the round-robin, Watkins said: “We are definitely looking forward to the round-robin. Just like this series, we’re going to take that one game at a time. The ultimate goal is to win that also.”
Watkins was the only player in the game to score multiple runs, scoring twice. He went 2-for-4 at the plate. Helping Watkins and Truckers out was McPhee. He came in the game in the seventh inning, immediately got a hit, and then scored the go-ahead run.
Shortstop Philip Johnson was the top batter for the Hitmen.
Pratt was the winning pitcher and Forbes suffered the loss.
Umpiring the game at the plate was Thomas Sears. Quinten Albury and Tequila Albury were the base umpires.
Scoring the game was Madge Delaney.
The Truckers join the Sunshine Auto Wildcats as the representatives for the NPSA in the BSF Round Robin Tournament later this month when all the other island associations wrap up their championships.