By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Virgin Islands Softball-Baseball Association officials are gearing up for the resumption of its Legacy Softball Tournament on Saturday afternoon at the E. Walwyn Brewley Softball Park, after its restart following a Christmas break, had been delayed by the Omicron variant spike that peaked at 1,387 cases.
In 2020, the tournament began as the George “Shawala” Burrows Memorial Tournament. With the recently elected administration, in addition to Burrows, they’ve included: Felicito “Felo” Moses, Renee “Panchie” Jeffers and Cecelia “Teacher” Hodge. Association Public Relations Officer Shamora “Molly” Penn-Maduro, told Island Sun Sports that they are celebrating the deceased veterans for their contributions.
“This tournament is one of a kind. For the Virgin Islands Softball-Baseball Association, we’ve never done a tournament like this, where it’s actually modified,” she noted. “Modified meaning that the rules were tweaked a bit, tweaked in a way where we actually involved kids Under 18, 10 players must be on the field at all times and three of those 10 players must be female. So, we’re involving the kids, young and older women.”
The tournament, Penn-Maduro said, is a double elimination tournament. Nine teams were registered and all nine teams were given a free game. After losing two games, teams began being eliminated from the tournament. The four eliminated teams are: Avengers, Shiners Stars, Los Que Quedan and Villagers. Game Changers will face Rookies at 6 p.m. on Saturday followed at 7 by Meds & Co versus Mix. Saturday’s winners will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Feb 10, with the winner advancing to face undefeated Lock and Loaded for the title.
“We’re really, really inviting people to come out as these games are action packed,” Penn-Maduro said. We’re getting down to the end of the tournament. All of these teams have at least one loss and if they don’t win, then they’re out of the tournament, so we’ll be getting down to the top team and who will take the Legacy Softball Tournament championship for 2022.”
Penn-Maduro said since the recent elections, the association has been putting things in place gearing towards youth development and three different camps were held over the Christmas holidays. Darier Malone of Diamond Academy held a camp at the E. Walwyn Brewley Softball Park; Milton McLean and the B&B in Greenland along with Kennard Dawson, Demoi “Ben Up” Hodge, Kjae Thompson and J’Quaan Smith. They also Josh Ridgeway in the camp held another on Virgin Gorda.
“That program started off really, really well because we were able to get a number of youth kids on board and see where their skill levels are, get some age group ranges which is very vital to for us going forward, when we’re trying to compete locally, regionally or internationally,” Penn-Maduro noted. “The youth programs and having the youths involved, is definitely important. Our new president Rhodni Skelton started off with one of those things as his key points, as we are trying to get into the schools and starting off with a youth program like this. We also have another upcoming youth program which is currently being planned, so we can have a youth drive, have kids come out and we can see their skill levels, the age groups and start to put programs within the different districts together.”
Plans for the 2022 National League are being worked on and will be announced thereafter. Penn-Maduro said there’s “excitement building for the league” from the ongoing Legacy Tournament.
“We’re going to be doing a few things a bit differently to add to that excitement—possibly may have it within the districts which would be awesome—but we have some things coming,” she said.