Wednesday, September 6, 2017
BAHAMAS Softball Federation president Ted Miller anticipates that with the mixture of youth and experience selected for the men’s national softball team, he doesn’t see why they should not return home from the WBSC 10th Pan Am Tournament with a medal.
Since 1981, the WBSC Americas Softball has organised the Softball Pan American Championships, which serves as the qualifier for teams going to the Olympic Games, World Championships and the multi sports Games.
This year’s championships, scheduled for September 14-24 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, will qualify teams for the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
The team is preparing to travel to the Dominican Republic next week Thursday for the tournament. The Bahamas has been placed in Group B with Argentina, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and Mexico. Group A will feature Aruba, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the United States of America, Puerto Rico, the host Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
Named to the Bahamas team, managed by Perry Seymour and coached by Richard ‘the LionHeart’ Johnson and Haziel McDonald, are the following:
Alcott Forbes, Angelo Dillett, Austin Hanna, Courtney Smith, Desmond Russell Jr from Grand Bahama, Garfield Bethel, Lamar Watkins, national championship MVP Lyle Sawyer from Abaco, Martin Burrows Jr, Micah Bethel from Eleuthera, Philip Johnson, Sherman Ferguson, Thomas Davis and Wayne Johnson.
“We have a little situation with Thomas Davis, who got hit in his jaw with a in drive during a practice,” Seymour said. “He wants to go, but he has to get clearance. So we’re waiting on the doctor to do that. If he doesn’t go, we’re hoping that Edney (’the Heat’ Bethel from Eleuthera) will get his passport sorted out because he too wants to go.”
While they wait for those two issues to work itself out, Seymour said they are also keeping their fingers crossed that their trip won’t be hampered by the passing of Hurricane Irma later this week.
“We have a good team. We just have to do what the other countries in the region do and that is ply together,” he stated. “We have a bunch of young guys, mixed with some veterans. So if we don’t qualify from the tournament, we have a chance to advance to the Pan Am Games as the team from the English speaking countries with the best record.
“We only have about a couple of teams that we need to concentrate on from the English speaking country, so if we can play the small ball and limit the amount of long balls that our opponents get, I think we have a very good chance of qualifying for the Pan Am Games. We have a very good team.”
Seymour said they are hoping that the hurricane doesn’t prevent them from continuing to prepare for the tournament as they are looking forward to having the full team assembled this weekend for their final practice before they travel next week.
Watkins, who is expected to lead the charge for the team on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field, said they are looking good and ready to compete.
“The team is looking real good. We have basically the same pitchers, but we have added a little more speed with some guys who haven’t been to this level before,” he pointed out. “The game is all about hits, runs and errors, so if we can piece it all together and do what we suppose to do when we get there, we will be okay.”
The only concern he said they have is the hurricane and hopefully they won’t be adversely affected because they are all looking forward to making the trip and getting the Bahamas qualified for the Pan Am Games.
Miller said the federation want the team to bring back the gold, but he know that things don’t always go as planned.
“So I expect this team to perform, from what I’ve been saying since they were together practicing ,that they should be able to come back with a medal,” he said. “I think Richard (Johnson) and Perry (Seymour) have been working out the knits with them, so I expect them to do very well.”