After 4 keenly contested games in the best-of-5 Finals series for the Belize City Female Softball Championship, softball fans were prepared for another nail biter in the decisive Game 5 on Friday, July 26, as star studded National Champs Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) squared off against defending Belize City Champs Fresca Lady Rebels. But on Friday night, the Rebels were shut out, 6-0, with BTL scoring 2 runs each in the 1st, 2nd and 4th innings, on their way to the Game 5 victory and the Belize City Softball Championship. Kenisha Sutherland went all the way for BTL, recording the only shutout of the Finals series, while Lanisha Jones also went the distance in the loss for the Rebels.
It was a surprisingly quiet night for the Rebels hitters, who had scored no less than 5 runs in each of the 4 previous games in the Finals series against BTL.
BTL had taken game 1, 6-5, with Mary Flowers registering the victory. The Lady Rebels rebounded to take Game 2 by an identical 6-5 score behind their ace Lanisha Jones; while Kenisha Sutherland, who had taken over pitching duties for BTL, suffered the loss. Game 3 was a 14-7 victory for BTL, with Kenisha getting the win and Lanisha the loss. Down 2 games to 1, Game 4 on Friday, July 19, was a do-or-die game for the Rebels, who responded to the challenge and pulled out a tough 5-4 win over BTL to level the series at 2 games apiece. Lanisha was on the mound again for the Lady Rebels and Kenisha for BTL.
The same pitchers met in the decisive Game 5 this past Friday, July 26, but it was the fielding of Lady Rebels that was suspect in the early going, allowing 3 of the first 4 BTL runs to score as a result of errors in the field. And with no runs to work with, Lanisha couldn’t hold off the BTL bats, who got to her in the 4th for two more runs. Meanwhile, Kenisha was supported by solid fielding from her All Belize BTL teammates. Nevertheless, Lanisha maintained her poise and battled to keep the next BTL run from scoring, which would have invoked the Mercy Rule; and she held them at 6 runs through the 5th and 6th innings. However, the Rebels were all out in the top of the 7th, with no runs on the scoreboard.
The game summary shows BTL with 6 runs from 10 hits with 5 runners left on base, and they committed 2 errors; while Fresca Lady Rebels had 0 runs from 4 hits, with 6 runners left on base, and they committed 3 costly errors.
Notably absent from the BTL line-up until about the 6th inning was power hitting 3rd baseman Naricia Frazer, who reportedly could not get time-off from her job for the championship game. Shame on that employer! Luckily for BTL, they managed to win without her usual strong contribution. BTL was also without their ailing Hall of Fame manager Raymond Lashley, whose wife, softball legend Gretel Lashley was in the BTL dugout for the game and received the trophy afterwards on his behalf.
In the trophy ceremony following the game, individual awards were also distributed for the regular season. According to Jude Lizama, who provided us with game statistics, the individual awards were determined from the records of the 10 regular season games that each team played, and did not include the playoffs.
BTL received the team championship trophy and individual 1st place trophies; and Fresca Lady Rebels got the sub-champion trophy and individual 2nd place trophies.
Trophies for Individual Regular Season Awards were then given for: Most Strikeouts (28) – Lanisha Jones (Fresca Lady Rebels); Most Wins (6) – Lanisha Jones (Fresca Lady Rebels); Most Stolen Bases (3) – Sharette Vernon (Fresca Lady Rebels); Most Home Runs (1) – Naricia Frazer (BTL); Most Runs Batted In (8) – Sharette Vernon (Fresca Lady Rebels); Highest Batting Average (.475) – Lydia Cacho (BTL); Most Valuable Player – Sharette Vernon (Fresca Lady Rebels).