It has been a long and trying couple of years for the Grand Bahama Amateur Softball Association (GBASA). After the passage of Hurricane Dorian in 2019 left the Grand Bahama Sports Complex’s Softball Field damaged, and the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, softball on the island came to a standstill.
But now with light at the end of the tunnel, the GBASA officially returned to play this past Saturday and Sunday (June 5 and 6) at the Complex’ softball field.
This past weekend's schedule featured some highly competitive contests across the board. First on the diamond Saturday evening were the Pat's Uniforms Reds taking on the Immigration Enforcers in Co-ed Division play. The Enforcers came away the victors by a final score of 8-7.
The second game which featured Corporate Division action saw the Grand Bahama Health Services Shockwavers defeat the Grand Bahama Power Chargers, 8-7.
In men’s division play, Express Food Mart dominated the CLA Heavy Hitters by a final score of 12-4.
On Sunday evening, the Cooper’s Destroyers escaped with a 3-2 victory over the Enforcers in the only co-ed game of the day. In men’s division, to close out the evening, Express Food Mart outscored the Reds, 22-18.
The association’s executive board, spearheaded by president Hansel Collie and vice president Latoya Cartwright, expressed pure joy that, finally, softball has returned after the many hurdles faced.
With firm health and safety protocols in place, which included teams waving to each other from their respective dugouts at the completion of games instead of the customary handshakes, Cartwright and Collie are looking forward to a fun, exciting and competitive 2021 season.
“We have not played since 2019. First it was the hurricane and then COVID-19 with all of its challenges.
“I’m just so happy and I’m certain the players and teams and coaches are extremely excited and couldn’t wait for this day to happen. It’s been a long process, with getting all the safety protocols and the approvals. But everything worked out very well. I’m happy that it’s all said and done,” said Cartwright.
The vice president noted that a total of 11 teams are registered across the men, co-ed and corporate divisions.
Watching the teams finally take the field made Collie emotional. As president, he pointed out just how much softball meant to the players and coaches, and he expressed it was a beautiful day in Grand Bahama to have softball make a safe return.
“I could cry right now looking at what’s happening out here. You could see the fans were waiting for this to start. So far things are going great and I anticipate that it will be better in weeks to come.
“We did have some challenges, and some people wanted to stop us from moving forward. But, the Lord is above and He sees all good things. Whatever is evil, He will stop it and make it positive. I have a very, very good executive team working with me,” disclosed.
Games are expected to be played on weekends only for the time being, according to GBASA executive Levi Rolle. He is hopeful that once the lighting at the park is fixed, eventually games can be played throughout the week.
“Mostly we’ll be playing on the weekends for now until we get the lights and other issues sorted out. Hopefully, by the end of the month we’ll have everything up and running and we can have games scheduled throughout the weekdays and played in the evening like we usually did.
“Everything right now is going quite fine. Looking at where we came from in 2019, everyone is excited now because there is something to do and there’s recreation for people to come out and have fun,” he concluded.