Jose’s sluggers have top billing

Fast-pitch softball is about to crown its latest champion. 

The men’s division of the 2014 fast-pitch league, put on by the Cayman Islands Softball Association, is staging its finals on Oct. 19. The best-of-five series between Latinos and Jose’s Escape Pirates starts with a double-header at the Field of Dreams from 2:30 p.m. 

League coordinator Marlon Thomas says the Pirates, affectionately called Team Nicaragua by participants, are the favorites. 

“Team Nicaragua started off the regular season very slow as they lost their first four games,” Thomas said. “Thereafter, at one point they went on a 8-game winning streak. They came first in the regular season and got a bye for the finals. During the regular season, they mainly dominated Latinos which may put them as favorites.  

“However, the finals is when teams and players at times excel and sometimes fail to meet expectations.” 

The Pirates, who Thomas played for earlier this season, have extra motivation this season after failing to win the 2013 crown. The team stayed together in the offseason, with most of the core players – namely Byron Bravo and Johnny Johnson Sr. – still playing major roles. 

Latinos, who have been referred to as Team Cuba in the past, booked their finals berth by edging reigning three-time champions the Redimix Patriots (affectionately called Team Colombia) in the opening playoff series. Redimix were captained by Peter Whittaker and featured veterans like Michael Carey and Bradley Robinson. 

Thomas says both Latinos and Pirates have the talent to claim bragging rights. 

“Latinos won their 3-game playoff against Colombia. They have Donald Watler, an experience pitcher, Luis Clarke and Eudelices Matos – who are great overall players and Rod Jefferson, who is strong offensively. 

“Some of the outstanding players for Team Nicaragua during the regular season were Denis Martinez – who was great on defense and offense, Byron, a tremendous power offensively, Rodolfo Whitaker and Richard Wilson with their great pitching and Johnny, who is an overall great player.” 

Luis-Clarke-Donald-Watler

Luis Clarke and Donald Watler steady the Latinos.

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