This was an historic occasion not only for the Redcoats but for sports in Malta. The Redcoats became the first all-girls team to participate in an official youth competition organised by the Malta Baseball and Softball Association.
Għajnsielem Redcoats made their debut in the Malta Baseball and Softball Association Youth League on October 7, 2012 when they played the Mellieħa Blue Jays at the Mellieħa Ground. This was an historic occasion not only for the Redcoats but for sports in Malta. The Redcoats became the first all-girls team to participate in an official youth competition organised by the Malta Baseball and Softball Association.
The team has been in training exactly eleven months and had never played before this afternoon a softball match, not even in exhibition. They were an unknown quantity. So jaws dropped all around the Mellieħa Ground when these thirteen girls from Għajnsielem, in their red shirts, white pants and red socks, put on such a terrific performance against the experienced all-boys team from Mellieħa. The Redcoats led 2-0 after one inning and 4-3 at the top of the fourth inning. The match was tied 5-5 with two outs and nobody on in the Blue Jays’ last at-bat. But the Mellieħa team took advantage of the Redcoats’ lack of experience and loaded the bases before scoring the winning run.
Friends and family of the players of both teams were in attendance and provided a great atmosphere. They were entertained by a close, hard fought match with a nail biting ending. This was a thrilling experience for most of the Redcoats who have never had the opportunity to perform competitively in any sport before a crowd in attendance. The Blue Jays’ officials, coaches and players were surprised by the quality of the Redcoats’ play and generously congratulated them for their performance. The MABS officials were also impressed by the progress that the girls have made in such a short period of time. Credit therefore is due to coach Joseph Scicluna for training these girls in what was for them a brand new sport. Credit also to the players for absorbing so much in such a short period of time and under conditions that are not ideal for learning. Credit to the parents of these girls for bringing up a bakers’ dozen of well-behaved girls, avid learners and all willing to do anything for the good of the team.
The Redcoats nearly pulled off an astonishing win, but it will not get any easier for them from hereon. The Mustangs and the Mellieħa Grand Slammers are strong outfits who will have taken note of the Redcoats’ strengths and weaknesses and will be better prepared to face them over the coming weeks. The Blue Jays offered the Redcoats to play one exhibition inning to give them some more playing experience. The Redcoats took up the offer and outscored the Blue Jays 2-0.
This was a fine ending to a memorable afternoon that started when the umpire, MABS President Mario Debono, ordered the two teams to “play ball”. Captain Kacey Grima opened with a base hit the Redcoats’ adventure in this national league. Giulia Lateo reached first as well, driving Grima home for the first run in the Redcoats’ history. Then the Bonnici sisters, Jasmine and Kirsty, followed with singles, that gave the Redcoats a 2-0 lead. The Blue Jays regained their composure and scored three runs at the bottom of the second inning. The Redcoats drew level when Grima scored from second following Jasmine Bonnici’s RBI single. Great fielding by the Redcoats in the bottom of the third meant that the match remained level at 3-3. Then Eden Debono drove Rebecca Grech home in the top of the fourth to give the Redcoats a 4-3 lead. The Blue Jays scored twice in the bottom of the inning to edge ahead once again.
In their last at-bat the Redcoats managed to tie the match. Jasmine Bonnici reached base for the third time and scored on Yana Vella’s base hit. Għajnsielem registered two quick outs in the bottom of the fifth but agonizingly failed to nail down the third out and ended out losing to the Blue Jays in walk-off fashion. The difficulties encountered at the death should not take away from the terrific fielding by the Redcoats’ infielders Giulia Lateo, Kacey Grima, Estelle Scicluna (black and blue from a physical battle with the Jays at second base) and the Bonnici sisters.