By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
St. Thomas’ Griffith Park Massive Women’s team and St. Croix’s Los Llacos Men’s team, were crowned champions of the Raymundo “Mundo” Boynes Memorial Softball Tournament held at the E. Walwyn Brewley Softball Park over the weekend, with victories over That’s Ya Problem and the BVI All Stars respectively.
Griffith Park Massive who beat That’s Ya Problem 8-3 in Friday’s opener, scored four runs to break a 0-0 tie in the fifth inning of Sunday’s championship game, then fended off Virgin Islands Baseball Softball Association 2017 champions That’s Ya Problem who mounted a seventh inning rally, for a thrilling 4-3 victory.
That’s Ya Problem had two of their four hits in the first inning against Tredesha Hart, put runners in scoring positon several times, but was unable to capitalize. Pitcher Shakeria Jeffers kept Griffith Park Massive off the base path, matching Hart stellar pitching before tiring in the fifth when she walked six and GPM capitalized with a hit and TYP errors to take a 4-0 lead.
Jeffers was relieved by Chevaunne Richardson, while Bianca Sibily, who struck out 10 during Friday’s 8-3 victory over TYP, relieved Hart.
TYP started their seventh inning rally after a Sibily walk, a throwing error and Kemesha Adams’ single to right—their first hit since the first inning. Another single and an error, scored two more runs making it 4-3, before GPM quelled the treat and went into a wild celebration.
Niyani Chesterfield, Kiana Lake and Hart, had GPM’s hits. Twin sisters Tamara and Tafara Phillips had the other hits for TYP.
“This was a hellva game for the folks in Tortola, both That’s Ya Problem and Griffith Park Massive put on a good show,” GPM manager Richard Clendenin said. “We didn’t expect it to be easy. We came out and we fought. The pitchers did what they were supposed to do. The hitters did what they were supposed to do to win the game and it was a good game all around.”
TYP manager Allen “Woodrow” Smith said they played a good game throughout but made base running mistakes. “If we had capitalized on those runs we missed, we might have been capitalizing and finishing the seventh inning,” he said. “It was a close game, finishing 4-3 but the two miscues with the running, it would have been a better game and put more pressure on them and it might have turned out differently.”
Sibily who won the tournament MVP award, said she thought it was nice to have to tournament with players from the different islands.
“Everybody was friends on one half but it’s still healthy competition and the games were pretty intense,” she noted. “The tournament was in honor of Mundo and I’ve heard of him from my father and others and I was really glad to hear this in memory of him and we hope to come back to do it again next year.”
Clendenin said the overall tournament for the third leg was exciting. He said he can’t wait to get to St. Croix in November.
Following their opening loss to Griffith Park Massive, That’s Ya Problem returned to take a 13-10 victory over Eat, Meditate, Play, Win (EMPW) on Saturday while Griffith Park Massive eliminated EMPW with a 5-4 victory.
Los Llacos down BVI All Stars for Men’s crown
Los Llacos of St. Croix, clawed the BVI All Stars, 9-3 late Sunday night to win the Men’s Division and complete a coveted Triple Crown.
Los Llacos avenged Friday’s 7-5 loss to the BVI All Stars in the tournament opener, when they broke the 1-1 game open in the top of the fifth inning. With Neville “Sheep” Smith who’s making a comeback after retiring, tiring in the fifth Yevris Rodruguez relieved Smith, but only lasted a 1/3 of an inning. Los Llacos sent nine to the plate, got four runs on 4 hits to take a 5-1 lead.
In the seventh, they picked up another four runs for a 9-1 edge, before the BVI All Stars scored in the bottom of the inning.
Arthur Canaii, David Clarke and Steve Simmonds, had two hits respectively for Los Llacos and each scored at least one run. Clarke had 2 RIBs.
“From the beginning of the game, we knew it would be a challenging tough game, but we always know that we could come back,” said Los Llacos manager Jose Robles. “We always fight and this is the outcome of fighting. The first Triple Crown in the tournament between the islands. We won it in St. Croix in November; won in St. Thomas in January and now here and we’re really proud of what went on here.”
Robles sees winning the Triple Crown is a very good thing because fast pitch softball is diminishing in the Virgin Islands. The aim he said, is keeping the sport alive between the islands and there’s more to come.
“Thanks to everybody on Tortola, we really had a nice time and excellent treatment,” he stated. “This is the first time our team came to play here and we had an amazing experience. The fans, man, you all have truthful fans and we’re thankful for them. They really pushed us. They had their team but, they pushed us too so it was good.”
He said they knew it was going to be a good game and they came with a plan to play small ball, something the BVI did not do from the beginning.
“Not because you’re a good hitter, means you’re going to hit,” he noted. “Play small ball and make something happen.”
Player-manager Allen “Woodrow” Smith said pitching was the BVI’s weakness. Neville, he noted, pitched all he could as he’s building his strength now he’s returning from retirement. Smith said as a pitcher, everyone knows he’s not in the shape he used to be in and is playing with an injury that requires an operation.
“I’m sticking around but I’m not able with pitching, so I pitch as less as I can,” he said. “However this was a very good tournament, just a little tweak here and there. The fans were satisfied; the teams were satisfied and everybody had a good time. Although we lost both championships, it was nice.”
In other games played on Saturday, Griffith Park Massive Men, launched a 12-hit attack during a 12-2 victory over the Mobsters.
Warren Brooks fired a one-hitter and Los Llacos scored seven runs in the first inning and nine in the third during a 17-1 triumph over Griffith Park Massive.
The BVI All Stars sent 14 batsmen to the plate and scored all their runs in the first inning, during a 10-2 whipping of the Mobsters. The BVI All Stars overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat Griffith Park Massive, 8-4.