By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Pitchers Neville “Sheep” Smith of the Pirates and Jamal “Lefty” Allen of Power Outage, have another thing in common besides being on the mound—both are on the opposite ends of BVI Softball history.
Smith fired a no hitter on Friday, then followed up with a 2-hitter on Sunday, in the Pirates’ 12-0 and 16-7 victories over Allen and Power Outage. Then Smith coached defending Women’s champions Synergy to 14-7 and 16-7 victories over the Allen Coached former champs, That’s Ya Problem, as Smith teams have a commanding 2-0 lead in the best of five series over Allen in both matchups.
The looming question that fans in the Terrance “Chino” Chinnery Softball League Championships Series are salivating on, is, will the Pirates and Synergy complete historic sweeps against Power Outage and That’s Ya Problem on Friday, as the association celebrates its 70th year of existence?
“We had a good game in the beginning, then got flat in the end, and a couple errors caused us to lay back,” Allen said of That’s Ya Problem. “I don’t know if we got fatigued in the end or what, but we put up a better fight in the beginning of the game, then slacked off in the end.”
Allen spoke about That’s Ya Problem, then defending men’s champion, Power Outage
Smith said his ace Thea Cooke pitched well in both games and it’s just about strategizing to get in front and stay in front after his team batted around in the fourth and scored eight runs.
“The team has played enough ball together and knows what to do and the thing about it is they don’t give up,” he said. “Until the game is finished, it isn’t finished.”
Regarding his exploits against Power Outage, Smith—on the verge of yet another title run that began with the Roots in the 1990s—said it’s about taking care of his body and pitching smart.
“They guys trying to kill the ball and I always say, the person who has the bat should always hit the ball. It’s you as the pitcher not to throw the ball to the bat, but to out think them when they’re batting and that’s how I pitch. I don’t think I can strike out everybody, but if they want to strike out themselves, that’s up to them, but I’m going to try and out you.”
Allen said Power Outage is making errors and they’re not hitting. He added that they’re not disciplined at the plate either. “It’s causing us to lose the game and that’s in plain view,” he said. “You can’t not hit and still have errors. You can’t win any game that way.”
Manager Roy Barry told Island Sun Sports he noticed that from the first game, Power Outage wasn’t as comfortable as they normally are and he was expecting them to bounce back in the second game. “Unfortunately, we repeated the same mistake—we gave up five runs in game one and we gave up five runs in game two in the very first inning,” he noted. “To give up so many runs in the first inning against such a tough pitcher, it’s difficult for us to recover. The team hung their heads and played very flat.”
Allen said one of the teams will avoid the sweep. “We have to put all the sweat and blood—just put everything on the line and do what we have to do,” he said.
Barry said it was ‘definitely not’ the position he expected his defending champs Power Outage to be in.
“We need to exercise patience and we need to adjust along the way,” said Barry, who planned to meet with the team owner to discuss a plan. “The pitcher is tough, so we need to change our approach.”
As he’s retiring, Smith said dethroning Power Outage would mean a lot to him and the Eight District, as he has returned ‘home.’ “This is my home coming,” he said. “This is one time I really want to go out, as my daughter said, ‘daddy, just go out on top.’ This time when I’m gone, I’m gone for good.”
He said that he has told both Synergy and the Pirates that he has been in the game long enough and it’s nothing new. “I told them to just relax. It’s all about the hunger—how bad you want it—sometimes you have to go for it and have that killer instinct in you,” he said. “And that’s what I have. I come to compete and I’m going to leave it on the field. That’s how it is.”