The Coors Light Chuggers have established themselves as one of Cayman’s elite softball teams.
Coors Light won the B League of the Cayman Islands Little League Association’s 2014 Winter Adult Coed Softball League. The title marks the squad’s fifth triumph in the competition, their third in the last four seasons. With no other team having more than two B League crowns, Chuggers co-captain Mark Wallace says his trophy case will need to get bigger.
“Now that we’ve won five championships, I guess I’m going to have to start wearing rings on my other hand after this,” Wallace said.
Coors Light sealed their latest championship in dramatic fashion, beating YMCA We Got The Runs 11-5 in game two in the finals. Due to the double-elimination format for the playoffs, YMCA forced the second contest after winning the first encounter 10-9 on a two-run single by Greg Smith in the bottom of the sixth inning. YMCA started their postseason with a loss to Deloitte, while the Chuggers had been flawless up to that point.
In game two, down 2-0 going into the third inning with only one hit, the Chuggers took advantage of two YMCA errors to score four runs and take a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning. Coors Light scored three more in the sixth on hits by Mark Wallace, James Lewis, Pat Haag and Matt Bone. It could have been a much bigger inning except for a brilliant 1-6-3 double play pulled off by YMCA off a hot smash from Donnie House.
With the score 7-3 going into the seventh inning, the Chuggers put the game away by scoring four runs off a triple by Alan Markoff and an RBI single by Heather Haag and a three-run home run by Wil Pineau.
Last week’s game featured five inning-ending double plays – three by YMCA and two by Coors Light. The Chuggers pulled off double plays in both the fifth and sixth innings when YMCA was trying to mount a comeback. Except for the seventh inning when the game was out of reach, the Chuggers played stellar defense with a number of big plays. Lisa Malice’s catch of Erwin Freeland’s towering fly ball after the Chuggers had just taken the lead 4-2 was vital.
Chuggers pitcher Neil Clements received the game ball for his outstanding pitching and great play to start the Chuggers’ first double play. Markoff said Clements’ efforts and the efforts of others on the defensive end made the difference.
“The key to the victory was our defense,” Markoff said. “They could have had us on the ropes early on when we weren’t hitting, but our defense kept us in the game. As bad as we hit the first three innings, we knew going into the fourth inning trailing only 2-0 that we were one rally away from taking the lead. They made some mistakes in the field and we pounced on them.”
It should be noted that the finals pitted the two best teams in the division, with YMCA being the regular season champions with such players as Kevin Morales, Rhonda Kelly and Jim Beisel. The Chuggers started the season 2-3 but won 10 of their last 12 games – including the playoffs where they went 4-1 to nab the second seed. Interestingly, YMCA and Coors Light are the two teams with the oldest average age in the B League.
Markoff says those years translate into a wealth of experience.
“When other teams play us, it’s like ‘we’re playing the old guys,’ which is all right, because it’s true. But with our age comes about 300 years of collective baseball/softball experience and just because we’re old doesn’t mean we can’t still play. I think other teams have figured that out now.”
Coors Light is the latest softball champion to emerge at the Field of Dreams. The Tower Titans claimed bragging rights in the A League 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 crew of accountants. mJames Yonge, Monette Windsor and the UBS Swingers emerged the C League champions with a dramatic 20-19 comeback win over Rob Duty, Marco Whittaker and the NCB Crushers.