The game ended on a good note for the Ghajnsielem Redcoats as it was a pleasure to watch what Tahli Moore could do should she deploy herself as a closer in tight games
One of the two teams of the club participating in the MABS Womens’ fastpitch softball tournament, the Ghajnsielem Redcoats, started their commitments today when they faced the Luxol Mustangs in Marsa. It was always going to be challenging as they were facing one of the most experienced pitchers in Malta. Still the Ghajnsielem Redcoats were expected to perform much better especially when at the plate. The pitchers showed improvement from last season, but it was not enough on the day as they succumbed to a 7-11 loss. The Mustangs deserved the victory as they capitalised on a couple of fielding errors and made better contact with the ball.
For this game the Ghajnsielem Redcoats had to call upon the services of experienced catcher Joanne Mifsud as “Guest Player”. Joanne Mifsud who played in the Italian national softball league in the past, was playing a competitive game for the first time in Malta for a while. She is expected to join the Redcoats on a permanent basis to play for one of the two softball teams of the club. She was most certainly the unsung hero of the game as she was made to chase wild pitches regularly by the young pitchers.
The start of the game was very promising for the Ghajnsielem Redcoats as they scored five runs in the top of the 1st inning courtesy of six walks. However, the five run lead was short lived as the Mustangs also score another five runs again on six walks. Both the starting pitchers settled in during the 2nd inning. Joanne Vella of the Mustangs had a 3-up-3-down inning while Yana Vella gave up a solitary run. Although the Ghajnsielem Redcoats managed to tie the game up in the top of the 3rd, the bottom of the inning proved to be fatal for the ladies in red. Denise Xuereb replaced Yana Vella as pitcher and had a good start, striking out two of the first three batters she faced. After giving up a walk she managed to get the next batter to pop up in shallow right field in what was a catchable ball. What should have been the third out and with the game tied at six heading to the 4th inning ended up being a five run rally for the Mustangs aided by another fielding error this time by the pitcher herself. This was a major setback for the young team and although Tahli Moore managed to get a base hit and scored a run in the 4th inning it was all the Ghajnsielem Redcoats could muster.
For the final half-inning (due to the 90min time limit) player coach Tahli Moore relieved Denise Xuereb to close the game. She did extremely well throwing 12 of the 17 pitches for strikes and striking out the side to close the game. It was a fairly frustrating game for Tahli Moore who is used to a much higher level of softball having played Division 1 NCAA softball for James Madison University for the past four years. Thanks to her effort the game ended on a good note for the Ghajnsielem Redcoats as it was a pleasure to watch what Tahli Moore could do should she deploy herself as a closer in tight games.
When one considers that for Yana Vella this was her first start ever as a pitcher and that she was gaining in confidence from one hitter to the next, it is very encouraging. There is much room for improvement for both pitchers. Much more is expected of them this season. The club decided to field two teams specifically so that both these two young pitchers will get as many innings in as possible and have the motivation to work hard to improve.
Next up for the Ghajnsielem Redcoats is a showdown with their practice mates, Redcoats Softball. While the Ghajnsielem Redcoats are pretty much the team which last season participated in the competitions of the association, Redcoats Softball is a new team with Estelle Scicluna, Daphne Cassar and Monique Camilleri, the only three players who played fastpitch softball for the Redcoats last season. While coach Tahli Moore will expect improvement from her players, it will be interesting to see how the 2nd team of the Redcoats performs in their first official game together. Best of luck to all our players.