Underdogs rise to the occasion

Many sports fans love the underdog and the notion of a team being counted out rising up to exceed expectations.

Thus sports lovers should be enamoured with the power of the underdogs in the softball playoffs.

Last week saw the conclusion of the first round of the Cayman Islands Little League Adult Co-ed Fall League playoffs.

A pair of squads etched their names in sports lore in team Dolphin Cove and the Ritz Carlton Jesters.

Dolphin Cove overcame a rocky rookie season to destroy a revamped Senor Frogs that just missed out on a high seed 37-5.

Ritz meanwhile extended one of the most epic winning streaks this season as it took down defensive gurus the Anchor Construction City Slickers 7-5.

For Dolphin Cove the upset win is a cooling balm for their 2-10 regular season record.

Helping to ease their pain last Tuesday was cricket star Kervin Ebanks who had some good swings at the dish and made alert plays in the field.

The game was a foregone conclusion by the fourth inning and from there the action was a mix of schoolyard antics and relentless batting.

For Senor Frogs the loss brings to a close a rollercoaster season that saw great improvement with their 4-7-1 mark.

Credit goes to team stalwarts Robert Baraud and former Miss Cayman Rebecca Parchment who, in spite of the losses and last week’s blow-out, remained positive and acted as calming forces on the squad.

Dolphin Cove now goes on to face B league juggernauts Julius Baer who were by far the best team in the league at 10-2.

Ritz Carlton meanwhile are a team on a mission. Things did not out begin well as a slow start to the season put the club in the bottom of the standings.

However the second-half saw a complete turnaround as the side rattled off five straight wins to finish 6-5-1 and in third place in the Silver Thatch division.

Against the City Slickers Ritz showed the same great determination. After the Slickers struck first, the Jesters rattled off four runs in the bottom of the first inning.

From there dominant pitching and sure-handed fielding kept their lead until the fourth when the team added two more runs.

The Slickers put up a fight though with hits from David Taylor and Rolfo Whittaker knocking in three runs in the fifth.

However Ritz got an insurance run in the sixth and allowed just one run in the bottom of the seventh to seal the upset.

From here the Jesters play in the B league semi-finals tonight against the winner of the Doghouse-Maples match.

Speaking of Maples the Sluggers started their playoff campaign in impressive fashion with a solid 18-12 win over PWC B last week.

Key for Maples was the play of Joshua Bain who turned in a solid performance on the mound, in the field and at the plate.

The Sluggers would need all of Bain’s heroics as the 5-6-1 squad went back and forth with PWC.

Helping 5-6-1 PWC fight back was flag football star Justin Miller who delivered many clutch hits.

While Maples does battle with 8-4 Silver Thatch division winners Doghouse, PWC can only wonder how the season went wrong.

A fast start saw PWC reach as high as third place. Adding to the momentum was the team’s place in last season’s B league title game. However the losses would pile up, slipping the team into the cellar and a first round encounter with Maples.

The other major first round game saw an unexpectedly tight 13-12 win for 9-3 Cassava division winner the Caybrew Chuggers over the 3-9 Master Batters.

Captain Carl Brenton motivated his Master Batters side and got the most out of his team. Among the big producers were hockey player Mark Missal who hit some hard line-drives.

However Caybrew had too much talent as flag football stars Neil Clements, Donnie House and Brendon Malice all stepped up with great plays in the field.

The playoffs continue this week at the Field of Dreams in George Town.