Team Bahamas undefeated, now into playoffs of Caribbean & Latin American Zone Championships


Chief Sports Editor

THE Bahamas national team completed the round robin undefeated and are now into the playoffs of the Caribbean & Latin American Zone Championships in Panama.

The team, managed by James Clarke, will now be playing for the rights to advance to the World Series in Texas in August, if they are successful in winning the tournament.

On Sunday, Team Bahamas doubled up host Panama 10-5 as Grand Bahamian Jace Wilchcombe got the win on a complete game. That enabled The Bahamas to clinch pool three with a perfect 3-0 win-loss record.

Today, the team will play the Dominican Republic at 9am in their semifinal match. A victory will advance the team to the championship game that will be played at 1pm.

Team Bahamas blasted Ecuador 8-1 in their opener as Shilo Henfield got the win. They came back and took care of Colombia in a 23-13 slugfest as Tre’Nardo Hart of JBLN was the winning pitcher.

Other members of Team Bahamas are Jacob Clarke, Raheem Adderley and Jovani McKinney, all from JBLN; Michael Sweeting, Bruce Russell, Email Knowles and Diondre Thompson from Grand Bahama and Tyler Smith and Reid Ingraham from Freedom Farm.

Clarke, who is assisted by Donovan Cox from Grand Bahama; Temico Smith from Freedom Farm and Terran Rodgers, the technical director of Pony Baseball Bahamas, said the team is in a good position in the tournament.

“The tournament has been very good. I think the guys really came together especially since we have a good core of players from Grand Bahama, JBLN and Freedom Farm,” said Clarke, who is a coach with JBLN.

“I think despite the challenges we had in putting this team together, the guys have really come together and performed,” he said. “Our defence has been pretty good. 

“One of the most monumental victories in the tournament came yesterday (Saturday) when we beat Colombia in the Caribbean. From a baseball standpoint, Colombia has always been a stable and we beat them.”

And what has been the key to the team’s success so far?

“Our athletic abilities is something that all of the teams here are talking about,” Clarke said. “We have a very fast team and our defence has been pretty solid. Our boys have been pitching very well and we have been trying to manage their arms to save them for the playoffs and the championship.”

After getting off to a slow start against Colombia, Clarke said the team showed its true image as they bounced back and out-slugged their counterparts to advance to the playoffs. “I really like how the guys came together and played as a unit,” Clarke said. 

“I think the cultural experience is something that they are enjoying. They are almost like celebrities because everybody wants to take pictures with the Bahamas.”

With the team settled down and clicking on all cylinders, Clarke said if they come out firing today, there’s no reason why The Bahamas should not win the title and book its ticket to the World Series.

“We just have to continue what we’ve been doing, have fun, execute and play defence against such a powerhouse like the Dominican Republic,” Clarke said. “It’s been a pleasure working with this team. 

“It’s a very good cross-section of the players and the reality coming out of the Bahamas is we definitely have the talent. We have some politics in the sport but, at the end of the day, the kids just want to play.”

And, hopefully, that drive and determination will enable Team Bahamas to accomplish their feat today.

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