The Redcoats put on a commanding performance against the Mellieha Curves to win GAME 1 of the Fastpitch National Championship

Following a layoff of almost a year, the Ghajnsielem Redcoats women’s softball team was back in action on Saturday in Game 1 of the Fastpitch National Championship Series against the Mellieha Curves in Sannat. The Redcoats put on a commanding performance and won the game 7 – 1.

The injury sustained by Corrine Grima during the top of the 4th inning, while playing at 3rd base, dampened the mood of the Redcoats who were leading 6 – 1 at that point. Corinne is one of the most experienced members of the squad, and an important leader. She is considered as the best hitter on the team and can play at every position on the field including catcher. She will be out for at least a month. Her absence for the next two games, scheduled for 31 July and 14 August, will be sorely felt by her teammates. Everyone associated with the Ghajnsielem Redcoats along with the rest of the softball and baseball community in Malta and Gozo wishes a speedy and full recovery to the Redcoats stalwart while hoping to see her back playing the game she loves soon.

As for the softball that was played, Redcoats leadoff hitter Laragh Tabone picked up where she left off last season swinging a hot bat. She registered two very important hits, scored two runs and drove in another two runs. Estelle Scicluna hit an inside-the-park home run in the 2nd inning to drive in Laragh Tabone and make the score 5 – 1. Centre fielder Marilise Vella walked with the bases loaded in the 1st inning to give the Redcoats the lead, then again walked in the bottom of the 4th inning and later on in that inning scored the 7th run for her team. Right fielder Elizabeth Farrugia contributed with two walks and scored two runs, while short stop Clarissa Camilleri also walked twice and scored a run.

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Redcoats pitcher Estelle Scicluna, now in her 6th season playing fastpitch softball, had a very good outing. She faced 18 batters in 5 innings, striking out 7 and walking 3. This season she added another pitch to her repertoire, the rise ball. Her fastball was very effective as was her change-up which she threw on a few occasions.

The positive outing of the Redcoats was due to the excellent work that US player/coach Dominique Humphrey did over the past month with the team. Following four months where the players were not allowed to practice due to COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the authorities, coach Humphrey managed to get the players game ready in four weeks. The greatest contribution of the US coach was in improving Estelle as a pitcher. She introduced the rise ball to her and helped her to improve her consistency with her other pitches. There is still plenty of work that needs to be done with this group of very promising young players but the contribution that coach Humphrey is making will go a long way to help these players to achieve their full potential in the near term.

During the game Humphrey played as catcher and was instrumental in helping her players to perform as well as they did. She threw out a runner at 3rd base on an attempted steal with Corinne Grima applying the tag. Offensively she registered a base hit and was accredited with a run batted in (RBI) on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch.

Simona Refalo started the game at left field and then replaced Corinne Grima at 3rd base. Lara Buttigieg started at 2nd base and registered an assist. She was replaced by Dosithee Attard for the final two innings of the game. Laragh Tabone registered 4 put-outs at 1st base while Estelle Scicluna had two put-outs and two assists, included a game ending double play. Shaniya Spiteri replaced Elizabeth Farrugia at right field while Kirsty Grima came in at left field when Corinne Grima had to leave the game.

The Redcoats now need to recover from the shock of watching their teammate suffer an injury and the disappointment of losing a very influential player to prepare for Game 2 coming up on Saturday in Mellieha. Best of luck, REDCOATS!