Despite several injuries, players leaving the island and work commitments, the Coors Light Chuggers have advanced to the coed softball B-League playoffs for the sixth time in the past eight seasons with a 23-12 victory over Deloitte in the semifinal Monday night.
Coors Light began the season 6-0, but as healthy and available players dwindled, they struggled in the second half of the season, at one point losing four of five games. However, a win in their last regular season game still gave them the second seed in the playoffs.
First was an impressive 12-3 win over Intertrust last week, followed by their defeat of Deloitte, which was all but assured by their barrage of 16 runs in the first three innings. In that game, Matt Bone went 5 for 5, earning play-of-the-game honors, while co-captain Mark “Merrill” Wallace went 4 for 5, continuing a torrid stretch of hitting.
The Chuggers are in their 22nd season – spanning 11 years – in the Cayman Islands Little League Adult Coed League and have always been strong contenders in the B-League, in which they have played 13 seasons. They also played nine seasons in the A-League. In the 13 B-League seasons, they won five championships and were twice runner-up.
Now they have put themselves in position for a sixth championship on Thursday night against the Powerhitters. With seven of their nine available men over the age of 45 – and three of them 52 or older – the Chuggers do not have the speed and power of the younger teams, instead relying on experience, teamwork and smart playing.
“Defense and timely hitting, that’s what we’re all about,” said Wallace. “Other teams might think, ‘Oh, it’s just the Chuggers. They’re old and slow.’ Well, we have news for them: It’s a trap!”
Still, the Chuggers acknowledge that this championship opportunity might be their last.
“Losing is not an option,” said Wallace.