On Sunday the Ghajnsielem Redcoats lost 5-15 against the Mellieha Curves in a game that had many first. This was the first fastpitch game ever to be played at the Ghajnsielem Ground. It was also the first time that young Redcoats pitchers, Clarissa Camilleri and Lara Buttigieg, pitched in a competitive game.
Despite the 5-15 reversal it was a memorable day for the Redcoats. This was the second game back for Corinne Grima following her injury in Game 1 of the Championship Series. She played catcher and registered an RBI single and scored a run. Another positive was the return of Gianella Mallia to the team. Mallia, one of the best to play at 3rd base, had to give up the sport some two-and-a-half years ago due to a recurring injury. She registered two base hits, walked and scored a run.
Starting pitcher Clarissa Camilleri opened the game really well striking out the leadoff batter of the Curves. She went on to retire the next two hitters for a 3-up-3-down 1st inning. She was rather unfortunate and was rather let down by her infielders during the next two innings when the Curves took a 7-4 lead. Still, Camilleri struck out another two hitters before she was relieved by Lara Buttigieg in the top of the 4th inning. Lara pitched two innings and struck out a batter. Buttigieg gave us a glimpse of her athletic ability when she dove to her right to make a back hand stop on a hard hit ground ball. Both pitchers demonstrated a lot of promise with much eagerness to compete and do well. The two will take over the pitching duties when the Redcoats take on the Curves again for the final game of the year on Sunday in Mellieha.
Offensively the Redcoats did well making solid contact with the ball but were quite unfortunate to hit the ball right at players. The outstanding performer at the plate was without a doubt Marilise Vella who registered three singles and a double driving in three runs and scoring a run herself. Shaniya Spiteri hit a line drive up the middle which scraped the shoulder of Curves pitcher Rena Vella, with two runs scoring as a result of that hit. Estelle Scicluna also had a hit for a total of nine for the team. Laragh Tabone, who was the leader of the championship in base hit with nine coming into the game, and Dosithee Attard both were denied of a base hit on three occasions each making good contact with the ball hit right at the Curves infielders. Elizabeth Farrugia, Thea Sultana, Courtney Attard and Kirsty Grima were all involved at the latter stages of the game.
One should not take anything away from the performance of the Curves who deserved the victory. Pitcher Rena Vella had a great game striking out five Redcoats and managing to mix her change-up really well with her fastball to make it really hard for the Redcoats at the plate. Curves player-coach, Olga Karpuhina, also had a great game registering several put-outs and assists holding off the Redcoats. She also led her team with two hits with three RBIs and scored two runs.
The morale of the players on both teams is currently really high as the Malta Baseball & Softball Association is keen to have the national team participate in the European Championship this coming summer. This provides an added motivation for the players to work hard to be at their best for the tournament that will be held in Sant Boi, Spain.