Softball fans in New Providence had to wait a couple days for the start of the New Providence Softball Association (NPSA) season, as Saturday's opening games were postponed.
After an ongoing rain delay on Saturday, newly elected president Godfrey Burnside was forced to postpone the scheduled opening games. The season officially got underway last night, but the results of the two games played were unavailable up to press time. In the opener, the defending women's champions, the Proper Care Pool Sharks took on the Bommer G. Operators, and in the men's featured game, the Bommer G. Truckers battled the Y2 Shipping Bulldogs. The opening ceremony was held Saturday night, but the weather didn't hold up for the staging of the two scheduled games.
"We had a system in the area and I take full responsibility. I thought I could stop the rain," said Burnside jokingly, who is also a meteorologist by profession. "We had the opening ceremony, that was spectacular. We closed that with some fireworks. We thought the rain was going to ease up but it didn't."
Both female teams were in their respective dugouts on Saturday evening awaiting word from Burnside on the status of the game. Head Coach for the Sharks Steven 'Bishop' Beneby was hoping to prove to the large crowd on hand that his team is still strong and can play without ace pitcher Thela Johnson.
He said: "Who gone don't make one bit of difference to me. They will see the true thing what Proper Care is made of. Proper Care was never made up of one individual player. Last year when Thela fell down in hitting, Narissa carried us straight through. I have a ton of girls on the team who can do things much better than Thela did for us. I thank her for the years, but they are gone now and we are going to talk about everything else other than that going forward. This is a championship team and they will repeat. Anyone who you don't see dressed in orange, who was on this team last year, don't have any heart. We are going to repeat."
The Operators were also out to prove a point. Losing the championship and a trip to the Bahamas Softball Federation's (BSF) National Championships last year, didn't sit to well with Mario Ford and his team. They have a new focus this year. Even though there are some new faces on the team, Ford believes that they will add to the chemistry.
"Once we play basic and solid defense, cut down on our mistakes, we will come out on top," said Ford. "We are really disappointed because the players anticipated to win. They were ready and I am sure the fans were ready to see the opening night as well as the hype that has been surrounding the association. Nevertheless, we are going to pull ourselves together."
The NPSA will have under its umbrella seven female teams this year inclusive of the Sharks, the Lady Hitmen, the Y2 Shipping Wildcats, the Sigma Brackettes, the ASAP Assassins, the Black Scorpions and the Bommer G. Operators. Six teams will compete for the men's title. These teams are the Blue Chip Buccaneers, the Y2 Shipping Bulldogs, the Bommer G. Truckers, the Miller Rams, the Dorin United Hitmen and the Caribbean Civil Group Mighty Mitts.
The newly elected board, led by Burnside, has made a commitment to the players and fans this season, vowing that the rules and regulations will be in full effect and carried out on all levels. Burnside said: "The rules have always been in place, we are just enforcing them more now. I am a no-nonsense person and I would like to see families come into this ball park. If we want this to happen we have to enforce the rules, especially the disorderly behavior rules so we can have control over the ball clubs."
Other policies the administration are exploring are player contracts, coaching clinics and a development program for junior players. Special nights where the various sponsors can come and display their products will also be held during the regular season.
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