The Digicel Chuggers improved their record to 2-0 with an impressive 18-5 victory over the Caledonian Lions on Monday night at the field of dreams.
With 49 combined runs scored in their first two games, the Chuggers offence looks to be a force in the league.
‘We’re a Chuggernaut right now,’ said outfield Shawn Wilcox.
The Caledonian game started ominously for the Chuggers, as the first three Lions’ players scored in the top of the first inning.
But the Chuggers came right back to tie the game with three runs in the bottom of the frame, keyed by a two-run double by John Rhynold.
After a scoreless second inning, the Chuggers exploded with five runs in the third and six runs in the fourth to go up 14-3 and put the game out of reach.
The top of the Chuggers line-up did most of the damage, as Mark Wallace, Alan Markoff and Donnie House all scored four runs, and Rhynold chipped in once again with three hits a bunch of RBI’s.
‘We’ve become masters of the big inning,’ said Digicel coach Alan Markoff, referring to the fact that the Chuggers have scored five runs or more an inning five times already in the young season.
Defensively, the Chuggers were solid except for four errors by Wallace, who has not been very wall-like this season.
Wallace missed a hard smash in the first inning.
‘It was too fast,’ he said.
He missed a dribbler later in the game.
‘It was too slow,’ he said.
He did make a nice play on a ground ball late in the game.
‘That one was just right,’ he said.
Despite his defensive troubles, Wallace did break out of the batting slump that dated back to last season with a 4 for 4 effort.
‘It was good to see Mark hitting with authority again,’ said Coach Markoff. ‘Now if we can just get him to fix that hole in his glove.’
The Chuggers were aided by super-sub Paul Njoka, who filled in for injured outfielder Wil Pineau.
‘I called Paul late on game day and he was there on a moment’s notice,’ said Coach Markoff. Njoka went two for three with a two-run home run in his substitute role.
Also putting up another good game at the plate was Shawn Wilcox, who went 3 for 3 with two runs scored, and, according to him, ran the fastest he ever had in his life.
‘It looked like he was carrying a piano on his back if you ask me,’ quipped Rhynold.
So far, the Chuggers have been effectively aggressive on the bases, something Markoff attributes to the new team philosophy.
‘Good base running is all about communication,’ he said. ‘Our owner stresses good communications and we’ve really bought into that concept. Communication has been crystal clear on the Digicel team.’
The Chuggers get a 12-day rest before their game on Saturday 24 February against the 2-0 Master Batters.
‘That game will be a challenge, especially for our defence,’ said Markoff. ‘They aren’t called the Master Batters for nothing.’