By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Storm and the Pirates will meet in the knockout semifinals of the George “Shawala” Borrows Memorial Softball Tournament on Saturday afternoon, after narrowly securing extra inning slugfest victories over the Hot Shots and Los Macarrecios, respectively.
Storm needed extra innings to get past the stubborn Hot Shots 11-10 on Saturday, while the Pirates—who led 9-0, then gave up 15 runs to the Los Macarrecios in the first two innings to fall behind 15-9 and trailed 20-15 in their last at bat—secured a thrilling 22-21 slugfest win late Sunday night.
“Man, that was too rough, but we pulled it through,” Storm’s player manager Allen “Woodrow” Smith told Island Sun Sports. “The game went extra innings, you had to battle at the last out, the last pitch, the last everything. That was a lot of fighting.”
Smith said he’s trying to build the confidence of his younger players and sometimes they give up too many runs and he or Neville “Sheep” Smith has to come in and finish the game.
“I want to get them programmed so they don’t rely on us as much, that’s why most of our games are close because of the chances I take with them,” he noted. “They’re aren’t there yet but will get there. Every game they give up a few runs too many, but they will get there. I can’t give up on them. The only way to get through these situations is to keep going through them. You can’t just give up on them when it happens once or twice.”
Hot Shots manager Eli “Yampi” Nibbs told Island Sun Sports that they threw away their own game.
“The errors killed us. We had that game under control, but the errors messed us up,” he said. “They beat us but don’t have much over us. Storm is a good team, but this is the first I’m coming with this team and it has a lot of potential. I feel comfortable with it but we just have to full up the gap with the errors and we’ll be alright.”
Pirates team Captain and catcher Devon Bedford, told Island Sun Sports the 22-21 victory over Los Macarrecios was a thriller.
“The odds are always against us—umpire, fans, everybody—but we prevailed,” he said. “We came ready and we’re not losing anymore.”
Bedford said that a few miscues and the pitcher being flat allowed Los Macarrecios to get back into the game. They score 14 in the second inning, but they chipped it away and came back in the end, after trailing 20-15 in their last at bat.
“We need baserunners. We need base runners, we need baserunners, that’s all,” he said was their last at bat discussion. “Once you get on base, you can make it home. Just get on was the goal. Get on and everything else will happen after that.”
Bedford said this time, they’ll be ready for Storm, who edged them with a lot of mental errors in their last encounter. The winner advances to the Dec 19 championship game with Power Outage.
“We’re supposed to be playing championship. Every tournament. Every league, that’s our goal,” he said. “Anything less is a failure. We’re beating everybody from here on in.”
Smith said it gets tougher for storm as the Hot Shots was the weakest of the teams and expects a challenge from the Pirates of which he was a part before breaking away to for Storm.
“From here in, we have to go from the beginning and put it away early,” he noted. “We can’t be skylarking and playing run for run with the Pirates. We’re starting one of our two big starters (himself or Sheep), hold them at bay, keep the runs minimum, 5, 6, 7, 8 runs, church out.”
In the women’s game, Synergy and That’s Ya Problem will meet for the women’s crown on Dec 19, after shutting down the West End Warriors, 11-0 and Lady Hawks, 14-7, respectively.