A year ago, Jordan Stubblefield was curious about Cayman fast-pitch softball. Now, he is at the sport’s summit.
Stubblefield, 32, helped Jose’s Escape Pirates claim the men’s division finals for the 2014 fast-pitch league, put on by the Cayman Islands Softball Association. The rookie infielder – who was a pitcher at Liberty University years ago in Virginia – had a number of big hits in the finals against Latinos, with the biggest smash being a morale-crushing grand slam in the fourth and decisive game.
Stubblefield, who turns 33 later this month, said he never doubted his abilities.
“It feels awesome playing on a winning team, we have a great group of guys that have played on this team for years,” Stubblefield said. “I am blessed to be a part of this championship with them. Honestly, I thought that I would come right in and dominate, but I was quickly humbled. The speed and trajectory of the ball is very different from baseball and even slow pitch. The ball dips, rises, dives, slides all over the place. It took me some time to get used to it, but by the end of the season we all were zoned in and hitting the ball well.”
The Pirates – affectionately called Team Nicaragua by participants – defeated Latinos three games to one, in their best-of-five series. The winners claimed games three and four, 26-3 and 22-6, respectively, at the Field of Dreams last weekend. After claiming game one in extra innings, the Pirates dropped game two 12-6. Aside from Stubblefield, Jose’s claimed its first title in three years thanks to heroic batting from veterans Rupert Whitaker Sr, Byron Bravo and Denis Martinez.
While much of the Pirate story centers on an experienced team, rookies and unheralded talent played a big part as well. Rookie of the Year candidate Erwin Freeland had nine straight hits during the last two games of the series. Players like Herman Parsons, Richard Wilson and Ramon Martinez – who were under the radar during the season – gave sterling performances in the field and on the bases.
Going forward, Stubblefield will be keeping his arm warm. The Maryland native plays for a title contender in the coed softball league and figures to stay involved in various flag football competitions. The sales manager says the goal is to stay ready for another title run next year.
“I am definitely going to play again next season. I want to thank Mr. Jose (Webster) for sponsoring us this season and Marlon (Thomas) and Johnny (Johnson Sr) for running the team. I think our chances of repeating are very good, but time will tell. The league is extremely competitive. There are a lot of former college baseball players and guys that played competitively in high school.
“It’s a very emotional game, guys take it very serious and sometimes it can get very heated. There were only three teams in the league this year, I think that Cayman can support more teams. Playing at Field of Dreams is great, we really appreciate the (Cayman Islands) Little League Association for letting us play there.”