Winning three straight championships is a revered feat in sports.
The Cayman Auto Diagnostic Clinic Stingers are the latest team to set their sights on that accolade after wrapping up a second consecutive national fast-pitch softball title at the Field of Dreams.
For coach John Cridland, it will be a hard but not impossible task.
“What’s the plan for next year? Three-peat,” Cridland said. “It’s going to be more difficult knowing we are losing some of the established players next year. We have a good core of young players that will have to step up.”
The Stingers earned glory after beating Cayman National Bank Team Xtreme, 4-3, in Game Three in the best-of-three finals for the women’s division of the Cayman Islands Softball Association 2013 fast-pitch league.
Cridland, who was helped on the sidelines by Robbie Cribb Sr. said many girls contributed to this year’s championship.
“It was a great feeling, especially after losing the first of the three finals games. It also rewarding having won the girls softball Little League tournament as coach and being able to follow it up with being a part of the women’s title.
“Who are some of the unsung heroines that helped this team win? Stephanie Watler and Christine McLean. Stef was able to fill any infield position, plus catcher. Although batting at the end of the line-up, she was always set up in the later innings, either getting on base or advancing runners.
“Christine was the outfield captain by either making a great catch or, more importantly, coaching the younger players around her and making them feel comfortable knowing she had their backs. Both were great in the dugout, always supporting teammates with big smiles.”
Indeed, a number of players deserve recognition on both clubs. For CNB, coached by Marlon Thomas and Rupert Whittaker Sr., Carneth Thomas and Molly-Ann Moore were among the standouts. The Stingers featured the likes of Jessica Pawlik and Lori Moncrieffe.
A veteran player, Moncrieffe said winning felt great as many ladies stepped up to the plate.
“Winning the season is always a great feeling because you know you’ve accomplished the main goal for the team when the season started and that’s to win the league,” Moncrieffe said.
“Game Three was an excellent display of fast-pitch softball where pitching dominated the game and both teams had to play small ball to score runs. The game could have gone either way but on that night, the Stingers did enough to pull off the comeback win.
“In softball, the game starts and ends with pitching so our pitchers – Rachel Manderson, Samantha Cridland and Jessica – were essential to our success. Our offence came from both the veterans, such as Justina Hurlston, Jessica and Tamika Ebanks, and the younger players, such as Krystal Arch and Emma Conolly. Every game we had different players step up for the team.
“What are my thoughts on next season? I have no thoughts at this time other than I hope the league can generate enough interest so there are enough teams to play a season.”