Under new ownership and with several new faces in the line-up, the Digicel Chuggers offence exploded in a 31-9 victory over Walkers Warriors in their first co-ed softball game of the new season at the Field of Dreams Wednesday.
Chuggers coach Alan Markoff said the team had a new philosophy this season.
‘Our new owners, Digicel, have stressed the importance of good communications on our team,’ he said. ‘I think we accomplished that very well in our first game.’
The game was effectively over from the first inning when the visiting team Chuggers batted around in scoring eight runs.
Walkers came back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first, but then the Chuggers defence got tough, sending the Warriors down in order over the next three innings, thanks in part to some great outfield play by Wil Pineau.
Pineau, playing in his first league game in nearly a decade, didn’t show any rust as he also went 5 for 5. He did, however, show his age by pulling a hamstring muscle late in the game. He is listed as questionable for the Chuggers next game.
The Chuggers put the game out of reach with a 10-run fourth inning, extending their lead to 23-3.
Also on fire offensively was Neil Clements, who hit for the cycle and drove in 5 runs, and John Rhynold, who also went 5 for 5 with a bunch of RBIs.
Not to be outdone, the Chuggers’ girls also contributed greatly, with Christina Hefner and Susan Schlosser both turning in multi-hit games. Hefter, who took over first game for the departed Heather Haag, played brilliantly in the field.
Shawn Wilcox, who had a rough end of the last season, had a good game with three hits and a good catch in right field.
‘That’s the first out I’ve made in months,’ said Wilcox. ‘After I caught it looked in my glove and said ‘wow, I made a catch.’
Another new face on the Chuggers, Matt Diaz, had four hits and scored four runs.
The game also featured a cameo appearance by long-retired slugger Doug Sell. Limping to home plate, Sell doubled in a run and later scored in his only at-bat.
One Chuggers play who didn’t have such a good game was Mark ‘The Wall’ Wallace, who went 2 for 6, with two errors and a bruised ego.
‘I’ll get over that with a few beers, but I’m worried about all the pulled muscles on this team,’ he said.
Coach Markoff was pleased with the new players.
‘I played with Doug and Wil back in the 80’s, so I know they can play,’ he said. ‘Weather they can stay healthy for more than a couple of games remains to be seen. Perhaps we should have had Ben-Gay sponsor us this season.’
But the Chuggers were quite happy with their new ownership.
‘When it comes to communications with our Digicel ownership, I must say it is fantastic,’ said Markoff. ‘We know exactly what is expected of us, and hopefully we’ll continue to have success on the field.’