The Coors Light Chuggers have won their third straight regular season division title in co-ed softball.
Coors Light, who compete in Division II of the Fall Adult Co-Ed Softball League put on by the Cayman Islands Little League, had a hard fought 14-8 victory over Watercolours.
Trailing Watercolours in the standings going into last Wednesday’s contest, Coors Light need to win in order to claim a division title that they seemed to have locked up early in the season when they got off to a 5-0 start.
But after starting off 2-2 on the season, Watercolours reeled off six straight wins while the Chuggers struggled through a 3-3 spell to fall behind by a half game.
However, going into the winner-take-all game, the Chuggers had the comfort in knowing they’d already beaten the Watercolours team in their previous two meetings – a convincing 12-3 victory this season on 16 August – and once last season – a 9-8 nail-biter on 4 April when Watercolours was known as Starfish Sports.
Chuggers coach Alan Markoff said he knew his team was in for a tough game.
“We barely beat them last season and although we beat them pretty handily the first time we played them this season, that was a super performance by our team – a game where we didn’t commit a single error; the best defensive game we ever played,” Markoff said.
Watercolours got on the scoreboard first, scoring runs on RBI singles by Dan Kneipp and Blake Nienhuis in the top of the first inning. But Coors Light came right back with four runs of its own on a two-run home run by Pat Haag and RBI singles by Markoff and Matt Bone.
The game looked like it would be a see-saw battle throughout as Watercolours tied it in the second inning with a pair of runs courtesy of Marty Tammemagi’s two-out, two-run double.
After Coors Light scored three more in the bottom of the second, both teams went out in order in the third inning before some sloppy defensive play by the Chuggers led Watercolours to four runs – and an 8-7 lead – in the fourth inning.
But it was all Coors Light after that. The Chuggers took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four runs, with the key hits being Haag’s RBI double and Bone’s two-run single. Coors Light added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a comfortable 14-8 lead and then let its defence do the talking afterwards.
Haag made a number of nice catches in centre-field for the Chuggers, but the defensive play of the game occurred when right-fielder Christina Hefner, who celebrated her 30th birthday just two days before, fired a perfect strike to second base to nail Watercolour’s Tim Dwyer trying to stretch a single into a double in the sixth inning.
“He didn’t know who he was messing with,” said Hefner.
The win gives Coors Light the top seed and home team advantage throughout the division two play-offs. They will open their play-off run on Thursday, 18 October, against an opponent yet to be decided. Even with the loss, Watercolours locked up the number two seed and will also open play on Thursday night.
Markoff said winning the division title was nice, but the Chuggers really want to win the league championship this year.
“We’ve won three straight division titles over the last three seasons, going 28-8 in doing so. But we’ve come up short in the play-offs the past two seasons. We want to change that this season.”
The rest of the league shifts into playoff mode this week, from Monday, 15 October. Four games are scheduled at the Field of Dreams facility in George Town.
At 6.30pm, 9-2-1 PWC B battle 6-5 Subway in division three on field three while 2-8-1 Island Taste Hot Stuff and 1-8-1 A.L. Thompson’s Hammers slug out in division one on field one. The 0-11 BritCay Premiums face the third seed in division two at 8.15pm on field three while the fourth and fifth seeds in that group battle on field four.