UBS crush NCB’s title dreams

Local softball has one more champion left to crown.

The Coors Light Chuggers and YMCA We Got The Runs are set to battle in game two of the B League finals for the Cayman Islands Little League Association’s 2014 Winter Adult Coed Softball League. Field three of the Field of Dreams will serve as venue from 8:15 p.m. on June 18. YMCA won game one, 10-9, last week in the double-elimination playoffs. Greg Smith was the hero for the regular season champs, producing a two-run single late in the contest. YMCA started their postseason with a loss to Deloitte while Coors Light, behind the likes of Neil Clements, suffered just their first playoff loss.

The B League is the last group to be decided with the A and C Leagues already producing winners. The Tower Titans would claim bragging rights in the top flight by downing arch-rivals KPMG A in a two-game final. It was the 11th championship for Ryan Ebanks, Peter Whittaker and crew, halting the two-season reign of Doug Harrell, Gregg Arnold and the fearless crew of accountants.

UBS Swingers emerged the latest champion, topping the C League last Tuesday in dramatic fashion with a 20-19 comeback win over Rob Duty, Matthew Wight and the NCB Crushers. Down by five runs in the bottom of the 7th inning, James Yonge and company would rally. With two outs and down by two runs, UBS would claim the victory thanks to heroics from Anneka Bavalia, John Taylor and Karl Preuss.

Yonge, the team captain and an outfielder for four seasons, hopes his side’s efforts in the title game leads to more success next season.

“We had a tough time fielding a full team earlier on in the season, but as we progressed, the team grew stronger, motivation increased and we started winning convincingly,” Yonge said. “The final was our toughest game. Despite missing some key players – Scott Rainsford, Dan McKenna and Jason Wong – we pulled together, played with belief right till the end and got a very rewarding result. We are hoping to compete in the B League next season. We know that it will be a huge test, but we also know that for us to play better, we need to play better teams.”

In spite of their personnel issues, UBS still managed to finish second in the regular season behind an unbeaten team Dart. In the playoffs, the Swingers would defeat HSBC, Walkers and Uniregistry to book a finals berth. Rookie catcher Bavalia and Paul Broderick, the team’s postseason Most Valuable Player in his fourth season as a first baseman/outfielder – played big roles in that success and say they are pleased with their efforts.

“This is my first year playing softball which I really enjoyed, so to win the championship was just an added bonus for me,” Bavalia said. “It was a tough final game for us but it showed how passionate our team was for the title when we fought back in the final inning. For next season, we hope to make the move up into the B League to challenge ourselves, failing that hopefully we will retain our title in the C League.”

“The guilt of the postgame water-dunking celebrations still weighs heavy on my shoulders,” Broderick said. “That aside, it was a great night and a memorable victory. It was a fantastic season. Having lost the fabled orange bat, our form dipped somewhat mid-season. Jupiter and White Lightning just weren’t cutting the mustard. But we dug deep. This team is made of tough stuff. The last few games, we really pulled it together and in the end, we got over the line against a very tough NCB team.

“Next season, I expect that we will improve again. The likes of Benoit Ouellette and Kent Pearce are good, young, up and coming players. If they can learn a thing or two from veterans like myself, Anneka and Slugger Yonge, I think we can push many teams in the B league. The future is bright for the Swingers. We are here to stay on top!”