The Coors Light Chuggers headed into the playoffs on a high.
Matt Bone hit two home runs and drove in five runs to lead the Chuggers to a 9-8 come-from-behind upset victory over the Tower Marketing Titans, the team with the best record in the 2013 Fall Adult Coed Softball League, put on by the Cayman Islands Little League Association. Last Thursday’s contest marked the final game of the regular season, with playoffs for all leagues beginning this week.
Coors Light co-captain Mark Wallace said the Chuggers relied on proven tactics to win.
“Defense and timely hitting,” Wallace said. “That’s the secret of our success. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll settle for offense and timely defense.”
Bone hit a two-run home run in the first inning and a three-run shot in the third inning. But the Chuggers found themselves trailing 8-6 going into the bottom of the sixth inning.
After Tower Marketing pitcher Tony Coe got Bone to ground out – the only time Coe got him out all night – to lead off the inning, the Chuggers started an unlikely three-run rally, keyed by two errors by Tower Marketing defenders and an infield hit by Christina Hefner.
After getting their lead-off batter on in the top of the seventh, Coors Light shortstop Donnie House made three consecutive plays on ground balls, including throwing out the runner from deep in the hole after a nice backhanded grab to end the game.
The win, Coors Light’s third in a row, evened their record to 6-6 in their first season in the A League after back-to-back B League championships. Chuggers’ captain Alan Markoff said his team was ready for the playoffs.
“Our team has battled through a lot of adversity this season, including my season-ending injury,” Markoff said. “We were without our starting shortstop and starting left-fielder for half of the season and despite it all, we battled. We ended up losing four close games that could have gone either way, so I think if we can stay hot in the playoffs, we will give our opponents tough games.”
The loss was only the second of the season – both by one run – for 10-2 Tower Marketing, formerly Home Gas, the heavy favorite to regain the A League championship after a disappointing loss in last season’s final.
Coors Light could not carry their momentum into the postseason as the Chuggers lost to the A.L. Thompson’s Hammers, 16-9, in their opening playoff game on Monday night.
The other leagues also settled their postseason seeds last week. In the B League, the 8-3-1 Al La Kabab Hitmen shook off a slow start to the season to win their first regular season crown, followed closely by 7-4-1 PwC B. Both the 5-5-2 Master Batters and 5-6-1 Rackam’s Crabbies were inconsistent but had some upset victories.
Both showed they are capable of making playoff runs on Monday in their opening postseason fixtures. Master Batters took down Deloitte, 19-9, with Crabbies defeating BritCay Premiums, 15-5.
Strange things happened in the C League. For the first time in program history, the division winner – the 6-5-1 UBS Aces – scored fewer runs than they allowed while two other teams – 5-7 Dart and 5-6-1 Saxon G-Force – both had positive run differentials in the division. UBS won the division by defeating Dart, 10-9, in their regular season finale. For Dart, it was their seventh loss in a row after starting the season 5-0.