The New Providence Softball Association (NPSA) got its 2022 playoffs underway on Thursday and the women’s defending champions Sunshine Auto Wildcats got their title defense off to a good start as they took a 1-0 lead over the Johnson’s Lady Truckers in their mini best-of-three semifinal series. They won 13-3 last night on the Bankers Softball Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.
It was the beginning of the first NPSA playoffs series since 2019, because of the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the league to shut down for three years.
Shortstop Larikah Russell was consistent for the Wildcats, going a perfect 2-for-2 at the plate. She scored three runs and had one run batted in (RBI). She got help from winning pitcher Thela Stevens who scored two runs and had eight strikeouts from the mound.
Despite scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning, the Wildcats did not look like their usual dominant selves. It was not until the third inning when they came alive offensively. In the bottom of that inning, the Wildcats scored six runs to take a 12-3 lead.
After the Lady Truckers came up empty in the top of the fourth inning, the Wildcats needed just one run to put the mercy rule in play. Left fielder Tyrice Davis scored the winning run for the Wildcats on a pass ball, giving them the 13-3 victory. It was her second run of the night.
The Wildcats were also this season’s pennant winner, finishing with a 9-3 win/loss record. They are going after a fourth straight championship title. The RAB Operators also finished with a 9-3 record but the Wildcats won the tiebreaker due to a 2-1 advantage in their head-to-head matchups. They earned the right to take on the fourth-place Lady Truckers (5-7). The Wildcats won all three regular season matchups against the Lady Truckers. They won the first matchup 11-6, the second one 11-1, and the third one by default.
Game two of this series will be held on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The second game of the doubleheader last night featured a matchup between the number two and three seeded teams in the men’s division. The number two seeded Cyber Tech Blue Marlins (10-2) battled the Atlantis Titans (4-7) but no score was available up to press time.
The Titans and the Chances Mighty Mitts had identical records but the Titans won the tiebreaker for the third seed after sporting a 2-1 record in their head-to-head matchups. The Blue Marlins swept their regular season meetings against the Titans, 3-0, winning 9-1, 10-2 and 7-0.
The playoffs continue tonight with the men’s defending champions C&S Hitmen (11-1) taking on the Mighty Mitts at 9 p.m. The Hitmen swept the Mighty Mitts in the regular season, 3-0. They won their games 6-3, 8-5 and 13-12.
The women’s division game between the second-seeded RAB Operators and the improved third-seeded University of The Bahamas Mingoes (6-6) is set for 7 p.m. The Operators won the regular season head-to-head matchups, 2-1. The Mingoes won the first game 10-8. However, the Operators won the final two regular season meetings, 20-9 and 11-4.
The Renegades (1-11) in the men’s division and the Black Scorpions (1-11) in the women’s division did not make the playoffs.