The Bahamas squad finished their Pan American Games schedule Friday, winning three games and clinching a spot in the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, set for August 3–19, 2018, in Barranquilla, Colombia. Among the members of the squad were a couple of names familiar to longtime Fastpitchwest readers, coach Haziel McDonald and Lyle Sawyer.
Haziel was the skipper of the Texaco Pirates and hosted (and won) a tournament at his home island, Man Of War Cay, Marsh Harbour, Bahamas ten years ago, in 2007, bringing over world caliber players like New Zealand Black Sox captain Rhys Casley, and pitchers Rob Scheller and Rob Schweyer, to show the island residents the world of top men’s fastpitch teams.
Haziel’s spectacular aerial photos of the island’s field on the coast of Man-O-War, Bahamas caught the eye of Fastpitchwest readers, as did the team, dubbed the “Real Pirates of the Caribbean” at the time. More photos from that 2007 tournament here.
His original Bahamas team won the Consolation bracket of the 2004 AAU Men’s tournament, spurring more interest in the game in the Bahamas and nearby countries. Adding players like Canada’s Derek Mayson, Jason Hill and others, Haziel built the Texaco Pirates into a Final Four contender at the AAU tournament.
A resident of Man-O-War on those early teams was young pitcher Lyle Sawyer. Sawyer is now 32, (see photo below) and was a member of the Bahamas squad in 2017 that competed in this year’s Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Bahamas to the Central American and Caribbean Games
In the first game of the day, Bahamas defeated Panama by 2-1 and clinched a spot in the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games as the best English Caribbean team. It was an even match won by the Caribbean island thanks to a solo homer by Sherman Ferguson in the fourth inning.
Bahamas took the lead in the first inning with a run by Ferguson, thanks to a passed ball. However, Alexander Lewis led off the game with a home run to center field to tie the game.
Joaquín Vargas for Panama and Alcom Forbes for Bahamas were dominant against their rivals, shooting out their rivals through the fifth inning, when Ferguson exploded a pitch by Vargas over the center field fence to score the go ahead run for Bahamas.
In the bottom of the seventh, Panama had the chance to tie the game, and even come from behind in the score. Jonathan Rios walked with one out, and advanced with a single by Abdiel Solano. One out later Lewis walked to load the bases, but Humberto Periñon flew out to right field to end the match.
Forbes took the win in the complete game, allowing 1 run and 4 hits, with 1 walk and 6 strikeouts. The loss went to Vargas in 5 innings of work, with 2 runs, 3 walks and 9 fanned.
Newstory from Earlier in the Week, after 4 games at 2017 Pan Ams
There were mixed results for The Bahamas’ men’s national softball team yesterday, as they saw their first action of the 10th Men’s Pan American Championships, currently ongoing at the Centro Olímpico Juan Pablo Duarte in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
In its first match of the tournament, The Bahamas dropped a hurtful 2–1 loss to Guatemala, the only run for the country, coming courtesy of a solo shot from Desmond Russell. In The Bahamas’ second game of the day, the team got out to a fast start and ended up blanking Costa Rica, 7–0.
The Bahamas was initially set to play on Saturday, but saw its action on the diamond pushed back a day due to rain.
Today, The Bahamas will play Belize at 2 p.m. on Field #1 at the park in Santo Domingo.
A total of 16 teams are playing in the tournament that will wrap up next week Monday in Santo Domingo. The Bahamas team is joined by Argentina, Aruba, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, the United States and Venezuela. The Bahamas is Pool B along with Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica and Panama.
The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Americas Softball region is using this tournament as a qualifier for next year’s Pan American Games, set for July 26 to August 11, 2019, in Lima, Peru. The top four nations from the Pan American Championships, along with the host country Peru, will qualify for the 2019 Pan Am Games.
Also, the top five will qualify for the 2018 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, set for August 3–19, 2018, in Barranquilla, Colombia. They will join the host nation as qualifiers for that tournament. In addition, the principle of universality will be applied, as a place will be reserved for the best country of the English Caribbean region, completing a total of seven countries in Barranquilla in 2018.
The Men’s Pan American Softball Championships will award points for world ranking, allowing several countries to enter to the WBSC World Rakings for the first time, seeing that all teams will earn points for participation.
All of the games in the tournament are streamed online via an international pay-per-view (PPV) system on the website www.internetv.tv.
All of the athletes are staying in the Sports Village in Santo Domingo, and all of the facilities are the same as the ones utilized for the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo.
Newstory from Earlier in the Week, after 7-0 win over Belize
The Pan American Men’s Softball Championship tournament continued yesterday and The Bahamas rebounded big time Wednesday (September 20).
After they dropped two straight games this past Tuesday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Team Bahamas regrouped and scored a 2-1 victory over Panama yesterday. Alcott Forbes was tagged as the winning pitcher while Sherman Ferguson, who blasted a home run, had the game’s biggest highlight.
The Bahamas fell flat on Tuesday losing both their games to Mexico and Argentina. Mexico won 8-3 over the Bahamas. Wayne “Pappy” Johnson knocked in a hit that drove in two runners. Angelo Dillet also had a hit in the loss. The Bahamas moved on to play against Argentina, but lost that contest by a score of 15-2. Martin Burrows took the loss in that contest. Dillet,Philip Johnson each had an RBI in the tilt.
This past Monday The Bahamas went 1-1 on the day.
Team Bahamas got by Belize with a 7-0 shutout. Lyle Sawyer was named the winning pitcher, while Ferguson had the big bat in that contest and blasted two home runs. However, The Bahamas dropped their match against Canada by a score of 8-1. Burrows was tagged with the loss. Leon Cooper scored the team’s only run.
Wednesday’s results would have determined the play-off seedings for all 16 teams. Group A teams in the tournament included: Venezuela, the United States, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Aruba, Brazil, Colombia, and Puerto Rico. The Bahamas is featured in Group B along with Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica and Panama.