Maples slug for added kudos

The Maples Sluggers may not be a
prototypical champion. However feeling within the team is that more title
honours are upcoming.

Maples shocked many last week at
the Field of Dreams facility in George Town. The Sluggers took down defending
champions the A.L. Thompson Drills 13-12 to claim the B league championship for
the 2011 Winter Adult Co-ed Softball League.

A number of factors made Maples’
title run shocking. For starters the side had eight losses in 12 games during
the regular season. They came into the playoffs as a low seed and were missing
11 players for the title match.

Team captain Kareem Robinson, who
also plays flag football, states the finals was one for the ages.

“I was very nervous at the
beginning due to a number of our key players not being able to make the game,”
Robinson said. “But I was also cautiously optimistic as we had beaten them the
last time we played. After four innings, they were up 7-4 and we were not
playing the way we had the past few games. Then in the fifth inning we scored
six runs while holding them to only one and the momentum started to shift
towards us.

“It was an overall team effort and
although it was not our best game, we kept our cool and did what we had to do
to beat a very strong Drills team. Everyone played a role in the win and are to
be commended for the commitment and perseverance all season.

“It feels great to be champions, as
it was a long time coming, having participated in the league for the past four
years. Expectations were always high, as we always started each season
strongly, only to finish poorly, usually losing in the first play-off game.”

Interestingly the Drills were not a
great team either in the regular season. They were last in their division with
a 2-9 record under captain Earl Smith. In the final the side got solid batting
from fast-pitch softball hitter Yosvani Ebanks and cricketer Kevon Bazil.
Maples responded with efforts from basketball figure Shawn Pitterson and
five-a-side football referee Gavin Dixon.

Ultimately Robinson, who works for
Maples Finance Ltd, feels that the Sluggers can be a factor in the 2011 Fall
co-ed finals.

“The season was very challenging
and it felt like we never really got it together until the last game of the
regular season and the playoffs. We had difficulty fielding a team all season,
due to injuries and work schedules. It was very frustrating as we were accustomed
to winning and only won two games during the regular season, with one coming by
way of a forfeit, along with two ties (double forfeit) and eight losses, which
most were attributed again to forfeits.

“I always knew that we had a great
team once we all showed up and this was evident when we won our first game,
which ironically was the last regular season game against the Doghouse
Glovernauts, which had the best record in our division. Next season, I reckon
that we will be strong force and we look forward to defending our title.”