Panthers stop Truckers for men's crown

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

THE Palmetto Point Panthers were not supposed to be here, but they will take the Bahamas Softball Federation's 2018 Men's National Softball Championship title back to Eleuthera.

The Panthers, embroiled in a dispute over their representation of the Eleuthera Softball Association, knocked off the New Providence Softball Association champions Commando Security Truckers 8-2 last night to claim the title.

It was their second victory over the Truckers after beating them 5-0 in the final game of the round robin on Saturday night in the Banker's Field at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.

"I want to thank God. It was all God. We came out here with one intention to prove to the people, especially the people of Eleuthera, that we could win the title," said Adney 'the Heat' Bethel, the Panthers' ace pitcher.

"I thank God. I was able to keep my team in the game. Coming around the second, third inning, I started to lose focus. I started to ease up a bit. I regained focus and I had to keep pushing."

In recording 10 strike outs with five hits, Bethel was named the most valuable player.

Palmetto Point didn't score until the third when they came through with three runs. They added another in the fourth and fifth. They put the icing on the cake in the sixth, highlighted by a three-run home run by catcher Justin Pinder. It was Pinder's only hit in four plate appearances. Shortstop Shaquille Delancy was 2-for-3 with a RBI and two runs, right fielder Kenneth Davis was 2-for-3 with a run scored.

"This was awesome," said Panthers manager Mike Dorsett. "This is the climax of a long season. A lot of people thought that we would not have made it. A lot of people thought that we should not be here, but we persevered."

Dorsett credited their sponsor Sonia Sands for her stickability and Bethel leading a group of young players, mixed with a few veterans, they played their butts off and they deserved to be champions. "We went to church in Eleuthera before we came here and the preacher spoke about putting your all in everything you do," Dorsett said. "These players did that every night and it paid off.

"Despite all of the nonsense that was going on, I told the guys to just be still and let God work it out for us. We did that. We focused on softball. This is a result of that. Thanks be to God."

Bethel was working on a shutout against the Truckers until pitcher Thomas Davis broke it up with two-out solo homer in the fourth. The next inning, they got their final run on Winston Seymour's RBI single to score Angelo Watson.

"The team was a little flat tonight," said Truckers' manager Olando McPhee. "We didn't come out the way I expected us to hitting the ball. We had a lot of pop flies. We didn't hit the ball the way I expected."

Thomas said they were just not as hungry as the Panthers.

We put the bat on the ball, but we just didn't come out with the win," said Davis, who suffered the loss. "We made a few mistakes and I think that cost us too."

In the end, the Panthers denied the Truckers another national chmpionship title.

Here's a look at how the games were played prior to the chmpionship:

New Providence Truckers 4, Abaco Bulldogs 3: Lamar Watkins had a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth to give Commando Security the 4-3 lead as they held on to advance to the championship.

Watkins finished with a 2-for-3 night.

Thomas Davis got the win over Dillan's Lyle Sawyer.

Eleuthera Panthers 4, New Providence Truckers 0: Catcher Justin Pinder went 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored and shortstop Shaquille Delancy was also 2-for-3 with two runs scored to pace Palmetto Point victory as they clinched their berth into the chmpionship game.

Adney 'the Heat' Bethel fired a one-hitter with seven strike outs for the win over Eugene Pratt.

To his credit, Pratt led off the bottom of the third for Commando Security's only hit on a double. He was left stranded there as Bethel retired the next three batters, including two on strike outs.

Abaco Bulldogs 12, Grand Bahama Hitters 2: Lyle Sawyer helped his own cause as he went 2-for-3 with four RBI and a run scored to lead Dillans in their playoff game.

Catcher Grant Albury added two hits with two RBI and scored twice and centerfielder Jared Douglas was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

Sawyer got decision on the mound over Quinten Cooper.

Catcher Leon Cooper Jr 'had a solo homer to lead the Panthers.

New Providence Truckers 10, Eleuthera Panthers 1: Commando Security needed to hire their own security after their explosive game against Palmetto Point as third baseman Dion Seymour had a three-run homer in a 8-run first inning.

Leftfielder Angelo Watson was 2-for-3 with two RBI and as many runs scored; designated player Garfield Bethel was a perfect 3-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored; shortstop Austin Hanna was 2-for-3 with a RBI and run scored and ceterfielder Lamar Watkins was 2-for-2 with two runs scored.

Deon Whyte got the win over 60-year-old Rodwell 'Kung Fu' Knowles.

Abaco Bulldogs 16, Grand Bahama Hitters 6: Left fielder Danny Adams and centerfielder Demetrius Rolle were both a perfect 2-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored and shortstop Willard Gardiner was 1-for-2 with two RBI ad a run scored for the victorious Dillan's Bulldogs.

Williams Weatherford was the winning pitcher and Quinten Cooper suffered the loss.

Platinum Island Spray saw left fielder Ashlyn Farrington and right fielder Sidney Neely both go 1-for-2 with two RBI and a run scored.

New Providence Truckers 8, Abaco Bulldogs 5: Designated player Miguel Hanna was 1-for-2 with three RBI; left fielder Angelo Watson was a perfect 2-for-2 with a RBI and two runs scored; catcher Garfield Bethel was 2-for-3 with a RBI and run scored and first baseman Eugene Pratt was 1-for-3 with a RBI and run scored to lead the Commando Security.

Thomas Davis was the winning pitcher and Freddie Cornish got the loss for the Bulldogs.

Eleuthera 5, Grand Bahama Hitters 2: Centerfielder Stanron Cooper went 1-for-2 with a RBI and two runs scored and Adney 'the Heat' Bethel helped out by going 1-for-1 with a RBI and a run scored.

Bethel picked up the win on the wound over Platinum Island Spray's Leon Cooper Jr.

Eleuthera Panthers 6, Abaco Bulldogs 3: Adney 'the Heat' Bethel helped his own cause by going 2-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored to pace Palmetto Point to their first win of the tournament in their first game played.

Bethel out-dueled Lyle Sawyer for the decision on the mound.

New Providence Truckers 14, Grand Bahama Hitters 0: The Truckers rolled to their first win in the first men's game played as centerfielder Lamar Watkins had a perfect 3-for-3 day with three RBI. Stephen Russell helped out by going 1-for-2 with two RBI and two runs and shortstop Austin Hanna was 1-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored.

Eugene Pratt was the winning pitcher and Leon Cooper Jr got the loss.