The Giants swept pass the Kool to get into the Roatan baseball finals. The Pirates, who finished third in the regular season, beat the Eagles to face the Giants in Sandy Bay “beach series.” On the first day of the Roatan baseball finals, on August 14, the Giants dominated the Pirates. They won the first game 17-8, and the second 18-3.
On the second day of the finals, August 21, the early game began equally auspicious for the Giants. They established their dominance again winning 20-10. It seamed like the best-of-seven championship would end in a sweep. It was not in the cards however.
The Pirates rallied, at dusk as the ball became difficult to spot, the game ended in the seventh inning. The Giants declined to bat and the game ended 9-4, for the Pirates. The Pirates won that game with a 13-year-old pitching sensation — Kensey Flowers, who threw 70 pitches against the adults on the Giants team. “He is young and we need to protect his arm,” said Dave Elmore, Pirates’ GM, about taking Flowers out early. It was only the second game in the season that the Giants lost. The only other team to beat the Giants was Gravels Bay’s Kool.
On August 28, the fifth and final game of the series the Pirates initially lead 4-1. The Giants rallied in the second inning and closed the game 12-7. “We got the best pitchers, and some great batters,” explaining the Giants dominance was Janine Raymond, a self proclaimed Giants fan coming from a family of baseball fanatics. Most fans and players agree that the key to the Giant’s dominance this and last season was their deep and strong pitching.
The Sandy Bay team played the season with five pitchers and picked one more for the playoffs. Their starting pitcher throughout the season was Eddison Bodden, 26, who pitched two shut-out games: one against the Marlins, another against the Eagles.
Last season the Giants and the Pirates made it into the national playoffs in Tegucigalpa. They competed in a group of the six best Honduran teams for a national title, yet lost in the round-robin group phase of the tournament. “We just lacked discipline. The players would begin arguing over a pitch and would get thrown out of the game,” said Murphy Johnson, the Giants’ coach and manager. “They really enforce the rules out there,” agreed Elmore, who believes that the relaxed way of playing baseball on the island makes the players sloppy and vulnerable to fits of temper. This is something the opposing teams love take advantage of.
The venue of the Roatan finals was the much improved Sandy Bay baseball field. Johnson said that the Roatan Municipality funded much of the recent improvements, a concrete wall base around the field, a chain link fence surrounding the field, solid wood stands, dugouts and a soon-to-be-built netting for fly balls over the home plate.
Still this is far from enough for making the field eligible to stand in rotation in the Honduran national championships. In theory, Roatan is eligible to host the championship every four years. In practice, the island community never got close to submitting a field for eligibility for the week long tournament.
Elmore says that the Sandy Bay field cannot be used for football and baseball at the same time as it is used now. “The [base] ball just doesn’t bounce right,” says Elmore. Another issue is that of the short left field. According to Johnson, this could be mitigated by constructing a 30 foot fence.
The challenges of constructing the field, maintaining it and submitting it for a national revue, seems to be years into the future. The potential revenue from hosting several hundred fans and teams from all around Honduras is something few businesses feel strongly about. [/private]