The BDF IX men and ladies’ softball teams delivered a double whammy this past weekend as they were both crowned champions of this season’s Vivo Energy Botswana softball league. While the ladies’ side had to fight hard to win their crown against a very determined Dinare, it was a different story in the men’s final as BDF made short work of Rail Giants in a lopsided match played at the impressively revamped national diamond.
Helped by a strong collective of good pitching, good outfield and good batting, BDF IX men’s softball team scored three two-point home runs to add to their first two runs registered in the first inning to beat Rail Giants 8 ÔÇô 1 at the end of five innings. Batting at the top of the order, BDF IX were the quickest off the blocks, registering two points off their first inning courtesy of Obusitswe Lekgothu and Kabo Matho. The two batsmen capitalized on an error by Rail Giants shot stopper, who fluffed a routine catch from a Jury Manaka hit ball, and ran home from the third and second bases respectively. With Rail Giants failing to register any point in their first inning, BDF IX increased their lead in the second inning, scoring their first of three two-point home runs largely thanks to Tshediso Mathame. With Kagiso Mogale already in the second base, Mathame batted a ball clear off the field to get himself and Mogale home and extend their team’s lead to 4 ÔÇô 0 as Giants failed to conjure up any response in their second inning.
The onslaught from BDF IX batsmen prompted Rail Giants to replace their first choice pitcher Sean Ntshebe, who looked uncharacteristically off color, with reserve pitcher Romeo Tshelametse. The move however paid no dividends as BDF registered another two-point home run in their third inning to take the game away from Giants.
This time around, it was BDF IX’s ever reliable batsman, Neo Mnqobise, who hit his ball clear off the field to ensure that him and teammate Molemi Matshediso ran home to extend BDF IX’s lead to 6 ÔÇô 0, with Rail Giants failing yet again to register a single point in their third inning. It was more of the same in the fourth inning as Matho hit a home run as he and Lekgothu registered another valuable two points for BDF IX to extend their lead to 8 ÔÇô 0. This time around however, Giants managed to score a consolation run, thanks to Morulaganyi Moalosi’s home run. It was however too little too late as both teams failed to score runs in the fifth and last inning, thus giving BDF IX the match and the league bragging rights for the season.
In the ladies finals played earlier in the day, BDF IX’s ladies edged off Dinare 4 ÔÇô 3 in a closely fought match. After a lethargic start to the first two innings that saw neither team registering any runs, the game came alive in the top third inning as BDF IX registered three runs to set the team on course to a league crown. The response from Dinare was however swift as they also scored three runs of their own to level the match. The ladies from SSKB would however take a one run cushion into the fifth and final inning courtesy of Neo Seth, who scored the only run of the fourth inning.
In the fifth inning, it was Dinare who looked poised to snatch a win from BDF IX ladies, only to falter at a very crucial moment. Having ensured BDF IX registered no run in the inning, Dinare, who needed just two runs to pull off a win, managed to fill all the bases and needed their following bats ladies to register runs to take two of their teammate’s home to register the needed runs. Realizing this was the moment, Dinare shuffled their bats ladies. But this was not to be as both their next batters, Cheludoh Johane and Thusani Jikijela, failed to get the much needed runs to push Dinare past the finish line. For their wins, both BDF IX teams walked home with gold medals, a trophy each and P20 000 cash prizes each, while Rail Giants men and Dinare ladies had to settle for silver medals and P17 000 each as the runners-up. The bronze medal for men went to last year’s league winners, Scramblers while the ladies’ bronze went to Wells International. Both went home with P15 000 cash prize each.