It is very hard to explain how the bats of the Ghajnsielem Redcoats youth softball team went silent all of a sudden, as if there was a switch and someone turned it off
After a perfect start to the season with 6 wins out of 6 games, averaging over 10 runs per game, the Redcoats needed to win just one game out of the two they had scheduled at home against the second placed team, the Verdala Falcons. The strength of the Redcoats was their hitting and the expectation was that the Redcoats would manage to see off the challenge of the most improved team in the league. However, as everyone knows, in sports anything can happen. In softball, in particular, you can have an excellent game and still end up on the losing side.
It is very hard to explain how the bats of the Ghajnsielem Redcoats youth softball team went silent all of a sudden. It was as if there was a switch and someone turned it off. In the opener of the doubleheader against Verdala in Ghajnsielem, the Redcoats played an almost perfect game defensively, but they just couldn’t put a few hits together. On the other hand Verdala managed to sneak a run in and defended like there was no tomorrow. It was the first time since this competition started to feature in the calendar of MABS that a game finished 1-0. Although the Redcoats were still in the driver seat to clinch the title by winning the second game, the emotions surrounding that defeat took something out of the spirit of the Redcoats and they were not able to recover. The Redcoats went on to have another dismal game offensively and to compound the problem committed several mistakes defensively as well. They lost the game 2-8.
Following these two victories, Verdala needed to just overcome the Luxol Mustangs in their final game of the season to clinch the softball title. The Mustangs had lost all of their 8 games played in this competition. One would have thought that over a week, the Redcoats would manage to figure out what went wrong against Verdala and bounce back with a strong performance against Mellieha to at least close the season on a high note. Despite the upsets against Verdala, the Redcoats were still favourites to come away with a victory against the Mellieha Cubs, as when the two teams played a doubleheader in Mellieha in November, the Redcoats did not have any difficulty winning both games, 7-1 and 10-3 respectively.
The issues that brought about the collapse against Verdala still haunted the Redcoats against Mellieha. The Redcoats could not get their act together and lost the game 1-10. To add insult to injury news came from across the channel that the winless Luxol Mustangs managed to pull off a major upset and defeated the Verdala Falcons 3-2. Although, both the Ghajnsielem Redcoats and the Verdala Falcons finished the season with a 6-and-3 record, Verdala were declared champions because of their head-to-head record.
The motto of the Redcoats is COMPETENCE – CONFIDENCE – MOTIVATION. While the youth softball team has demonstrated that they have come a long way with some excellent performances, it is the confidence and maybe the motivation that is still not at the desired levels. We will see over the upcoming games and competitions whether the individual players will be able to overcome their lack of confidence and show more character when it matters most.