Christmas time is usually the time of year many organizations slow down and enjoy the festive season amongst family and close love ones. It seems like the leadership of the Reviving Baseball in Inner City, better known as RBI, did not get the memo.
RBI stands for Reviving Baseball in Inner City. It is an outreach program created by Major League Baseball, sponsored in the territory by the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation to create a love for the game of baseball and use that to foster the value of teamwork, working hard to achieve their goals, academic excellence and community service.
The local program of this national organization is sponsored by the United States Virgin Islands Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation. They are hard at work creating opportunities for our athletes to sharpen their skills. It is truly a gift to our young student athletes who have suffered over the past two years due to playing restrictions brought on by the global pandemic.
RBI started a women’s softball league focusing on players from 16 years of age to 23. The league has only two teams but they will play a total of 12 games in a little more than three weeks. The opening weekend featured five exciting games.
Virgin Islands Siafu 14 – Virgin Islands Lady Legends 6
This was the first live action many of the women participating in this 23U league saw in almost two years. The majority of them were reacclimating themselves back into playing the game of softball. Their first lesson was on Friday evening at the Joseph Aubain Ballpark. Errors were higher than usual with both teams committing four each in this inaugural game. Both starting pitches also displayed some rust as they combined to allow 12 walks. Siafu got on the scoreboard in the top of the first as lead off batter Mya Jack legged out a single on a ball hit to the right side of the diamond. Jack later scored the first run of the league on Yemeli Rodriguez shot to left field. Rodriguez scored on a pass ball three batters later. Lady Legends responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first taking advantage of two walks, an error and a wild pitch. Siafu took full control of the game scoring six runs in the second and fourth innings. Siafu won the game 14–6.
Shaquilla Lewis pitched a complete game and earned the win for Siafu. Shania Thomas took the loss for Lady Legends. Jack, Rodriguez, Jahniya Williams and Ky’Anah Lake all recorded hits for Siafu. Rhea Benjamin led Lady Legends at the plate with two hits. Thomas, Shanice James and Alahya Jackson all added one hit each for Lady Legends.
Virgin Islands Siafu 13 – Virgin Islands Lady Legends 3
Mya Jack was the star in first game of the double header between Siafu and Lady Legends on Saturday afternoon at the Joseph Aubain Ballpark. Jack started in the circle for Siafu where she gave up as many hits as she got at the plate in her at bats in Siafu’s 13-3 victory over Lady Legends. Nekeyla Amey and Rhea Benjamin were the only two Legends to get one hit each off of Jack. At the plate, Jack got two of her team’s four hits. Siafu once again used two big offensive innings to put away the Lady Legends. Siafu pushed five runs across in the second inning and scored seven more in the fourth. Jack earned the win for Siafu registering six strikeouts. Amaya Chesterfield took the loss for Lady Legends.
Virgin Islands Lady Legends 10 – Virgin Islands Siafu 9
The night cap of the double header had fans on pins and needles on Saturday evening at the Joseph Aubain Ballpark. This time it was the Lady Legends using two big innings to secure the one-point win over Siafu 10-9. The Legends scored four runs in the first inning fueled by Sapphire Cruz’ RBI double as the Legends took as early 4-1 lead in this game. Siafu came back to take the lead scoring four runs of their half of the fourth. Ky’Anah Lake came up with the big hit for Siafu in that inning. Lake struck again in the top of the fifth inning with a triple to center field. This gave Siafu a comfortable 9-5 lead going into the bottom of the fifth and final inning. The Lady Legends seemed tired of losing and were determine not to give this game away without a fight. Shieda James started the ball rolling for Lady Legends with a solid single to centerfield. Joemyrah Clendinen was then hit by a pitch. Alahya Jackson singles to right field scoring James. Amaya Chesterfield came up to the plate and lined a ball to right field scoring two more runs. Siafu is barely holding on to a slim one-point lead needing just one out to end the game. They never recorded that out. The next four Lady Legend batters all singled with Shania Thomas getting the walk off hit propelling the Lady Legends to a 10-9 come from behind win.
Lady Legend Nekayla Hazel received the win while Shaquilla Lewis of Siafu took the loss. Sapphire Cruz went 2-of-3 for the Lady Legends. Chesterfield, Rhea Benjamin, Thomas, James and Jackson all registered one hit each for the winning team. Lake led Siafu with two hits. Mya Jack, Shaquisha LeBron and Lewis had one hit each in the loss.
Virgin Islands Lady Legends 15 – Virgin Islands Siafu 6
The Lady Legends rode the momentum of their big comeback win of the night before to get their second win in four games with their 15-6 victory over Siafu on Sunday evening at the Joseph Aubain Ballpark.
The Lady Legends jumped out to an early 11-0 lead and never looked back. The Legends scored five runs in the second and third innings to essential put this game out of reach. Shanice James, Shieda James and Joemyrah Clendinen all tallied hits in those two innings. Legends pitcher Nekayla Hazel was strong in the circle only allowing five hits while striking out six batters. Hazel got the win for the Lady Legends while Shaquille Lewis was saddled with the loss. Rhea Benjamin and Roniece Pharaoh recorded hits for Lady Legends. Shania Thomas also added two hits for the winners. Jahniya Williams had a good day at the plate for Saifu going 2-of-2. Amiya Greaves, Jniya Baxter and Mya Jack all went 1-of-1 for Siafu.