Second place finish for The Bahamas
Published: Jul 09, 2013
A Bahamian 15-16 baseball team representing the country at the PONY Colt Zone Qualifying Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico, over the weekend, fell one spot short of qualifying for the PONY World Series as they lost to the host country in the championship game, 10-2.
Still, it was a remarkable tournament for the Bahamian squad as they blasted Venezuela twice, got past a tough Panamanian squad, and even trounced a regional giant in baseball, the Dominican Republic, which placed them in the gold medal game against Puerto Rico. In the semi-finals against the Dominican Republic, The Bahamas came out on top, 11-5, to assure itself of at least a silver medal in the regional championships.
According to reports, the gold medal game was hampered by rain all day. There were two venue changes, and participants spent additional hours driving to the new locations. The game was finally played at the Yabucoa Professional Stadium where periodic showers did not produce long delays.
The Bahamian team opened the game with a double by Ian Mayers, but he was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple. In the bottom of the first inning, Puerto Rico got things started with a double, and scored two runs on an RBI hit and pass ball. Before the start of the second inning, the game was halted due to rain and was moved to another location. Once the game resumed, the Bahamian team started the second and third innings with their lead-off runners on base, but they were unable to score runs as the country stranded four runners.
Ian Mayers pitched two solid innings but lost his command with the stopping and re-starting of the game. The bullpen was unable to control Puerto Rico’s bats even though they faced the same conditions. A key error extended the bottom of the third inning and with two outs recorded, Puerto Rico added five runs. According to reports, it was difficult to keep the Bahamian team focussed after playing three games in a 24-hour period and the stopping and re-starting of games due to rain. The Bahamian team eventually lost the championship game, 10–2.
Mayers had three hits, falling a home-run short of the cycle, and Quinton Rolle and Donavon Cox had one hit each.
In the semi-final game against the Dominican Republic, the Bahamian team got off to a quick start and never looked back. The game was suspended in the bottom of the third inning with Team Bahamas ahead, 1-0. When the game resumed the following day, Team Bahamas added four runs in the bottom of the third inning highlighted by doubles from Yokito Pinder, Kyle Simmons and Michael Robinson. That was capped by RBI singles from Rolle and Justin Sweeting. Team Bahamas packed on more runs with RBI singles from Pinder, Rolle and Angelo Watson in the fifth and sixth innings to give them an 11-2 lead.
Maleek Perpall pitched five strong innings for The Bahamas. In relief, the bullpen struggled. The rain came down with Team Bahamas coming to bat in the bottom of the sixth which made the game official, giving The Bahamas an 11-6 victory.
Coming into that game, the Dominican Republic was dominating the tournament with their power and speed. Team Bahamas pitcher Perpall pitched a great game, listening to his coaches. He kept the Dominican Republic batters confused with a variety of different speed pitches, which allowed The Bahamas offense to do some damage.
The Bahamas’ offense was lead by Pinder and Rolle with three RBIs and three hits each.
In the game before the Dominican Republic game, The Bahamas blanked Venezuela, 10-0. In two games against Venezuela, they outscored their opponents, 20-1.
Dorian Kemp started that game for The Bahamas with two quick strike outs and three walks in the first inning. It was a big moment early in the game, but Kemp pitched out of a bases loaded jam as he got the final out on a fly ball to left fielder Chavez Young. After pitching his way out of a rocky first inning, Kemp settled down as he threw a two-hit shut-out.
Team Bahamas’ offensive attack started in the first inning. Rolle doubled in the first run. Team Bahamas remained aggressive with a double steal, and scored two more runs on costly errors by Venezuela. They led 4-0 after the first inning.
The offensive attack continued as Young had an RBI triple down the right field line and then scored on a fielder’s choice to give the country a 6-0 lead. In the third inning, Rolle continued his torrid hitting with a lead-off double. That was followed by an RBI single by Sweeting. Young added an RBI single to score Simmons as Team Bahamas took an 8-0 lead after three innings. Team Bahamas completed the victory via the 10-run mercy rule. After a walk to Simmons, Robinson had an RBI triple and scored on a base hit to left field by Mayers.
Rolle and Young led the way with two hits and two RBIs each for the Bahamian team. Rolle was the leading hitter for The Bahamas in the tournament. Felipe Sweeting was the head coach of the squad, and Terran Rodgers served as the team manager.
This was The Bahamas’ third championship game in the PONY Colt Division of the zone qualifying tournament. In 2006, Ali Knowles, who currently attends Troy University, had 14 hits including six doubles for the Bahamian team. Javanno Pinder and Marcian Curry had 10 and 9 hits respectively that year. This 2013 Bahamian team was the best hitting Bahamian team since the 2006 team. Team Bahamas’ pitching in this year’s championship is regarded as the best The Bahamas has seen in this age group since the tournament started. Desmond Russell’s 2006 individual performance remains the top in this age group for the country. He currently attends Jackson State University.
The Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF) extended its congratulations to the second place 15-16 team which consisted of members from the Grand Bahama Amateur Baseball Association (GBABA) and the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN). A total of six teams took part in the regional championships, the Bahamian team, Bonaire, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Venezuela and host country Puerto Rico. The Bahamian team was scheduled to return home yesterday.
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