Local softball enthusiasts saw no shortage of drama in the championship series.
The Redimix Patriots needed all five games in their best-of-five encounter with Jose’s Escape Pirates to win the men’s division of the Cayman Islands Softball Association 2013 fast-pitch league. The triumph also marked Redimix’s third consecutive national title.
Marlon Thomas, who serves as association president and league coordinator, said the series was satisfyingly close.
“As the league coordinator, it is not surprising to see the series go down to the wire,” Thomas said. “I somewhat expected it would not have been an easy run-over by none of the teams and it came to pass.
“For now we will be on break. It won’t be until late February to mid-March before the next league. There is talk about possibly traveling to Cuba for the long weekend in November for some friendly games, but that is not confirmed.”
The West Bay softball field next to the Jimmy Powell Cricket Oval served as the venue for matches. Redimix jumped out to a 2-0 series lead before Jose’s Escape fought back to force the decisive fifth game. Rodolfo Whitaker kept the Pirates, who also have talents like Rupert and Albert Whittaker, close on the mound and at the plate. Redimix finished off another title run thanks to the likes of Peter Whittaker and brothers Bradimir and Bradley Robinson.
It was a disappointing result for Jose’s Escape, affectionately called Team Nicaragua by participants, who had the regular season’s best record. The Pirates had an automatic berth in the finals, while the Patriots needed a two-game sweep of Donald Watler’s Latinos (also known as Team Cuba) to advance past the opening round. Latinos features talents such as Yosvani Ebanks and Rod Jefferson.
Thomas also plays for the Pirates and said losing to Redimix was especially painful.
“As a player, it is not the best feeling. The fact is we fell short of winning the championship knowing that our team dominated Patriots throughout the entire season. But they were the better team in the finals and they won.”
Johnny Johnson Sr. plays shortstop for the Pirates and is one of the team’s top home run hitters along with Byron Bravo and Santos Castro. Johnson Sr. said the series loss carried extra meaning due to his history with both teams.
“The last two years I was with the Patriots,” Johnson Sr. said. “We beat the Pirates in 2011 and then beat Latinos in 2012. The idea was by me coming back to my old team it would help Nicaragua win the championship.”