Cayman Islands Under-12 Little League travel team, the ‘Blue Iguanas’, enjoyed their first taste of success as they won their opening game in the Caribbean Regional Tournament in St Thomas, United States Virgin Islands.
The game played at the Emile Griffith ballpark in Charlotte Amalie saw the Blue Iguanas taking on St Maarten. St Maarten drew first blood scoring a run in the first inning. In the third inning Cayman came back to even the score as Gio ‘Speedy Gonzalez’ Foster came home on a double from Finigan Huffington.
The fourth inning saw some great defensive plays from Keegan O’Connor and Zion Coe. In the fifth Cayman pulled ahead scoring two runs on an inside the park home run from Huffington. Defence was key again in the fifth with right fielder Albertini Holness and catcher Daniel Reid making clutch plays.
In top of the sixth the crowd of over 1,000 spectators were on the edge of their seats as starting pitcher Huffington struck out the last batter on a full count with two men on base. Cayman won 3-1.
Standout performances came from Huffington who pitched a complete game of six innings on 80 pitches and drove in all three runs. Reid also caught all six innings.
The winner of the Caribbean Regional Tournament represents the Caribbean region in the Little League World Series tournament held annually in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Cayman lost their second game against St Thomas 31-2 on Sunday. They used three pitchers, Mario Ebanks, Dominic Pouchie and Keegan O’Connor. Runs were scored by Gio Foster and Daniel Reid.
Both runs were driven in by Huffington. Commentators commended the Cayman players on their plucky performance, good sportsmanship and cheerful attitude in the face of adversity. After the game the boys exchanged pins with the opposing team and drew cheers from the crowd when they also handed out pins to kids in the stands.
This team is representing Cayman thanks to funds raised by Hurley’s Entertainment Corporation in the first ever ‘Duck Derby’ held a month ago in the waters of Camana Bay. The Duck Derby was won by Jen Myatt gaining her $10,000. It was also sponsored by Home Gas and Maples.
“Thanks to the success of the Duck Derby the burden of expense for the parents of the players are at a manageable level this year.” said Home Gas general manager and Little League coach Dayne Brady.
“Giving young athletes the opportunity to test themselves, meet others as devoted to their sport as they are, away from the comforts of home is pretty great formative stuff,” said head coach Christopher Mcfield. “We are excited to go and we very much appreciate everyone who has supported us by buying or selling ducks, coming out to the car wash, buying food at the cook out etc. The boys have worked very hard and will represent Cayman with pride at the tournament.”
Other countries participating are St. Croix, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Bonaire. Cayman play their next game on Tuesday against Aruba and on Wednesday face nine time Caribbean champions Curacao.
Some of the games are webcast live on www.tjix.org