On Thursday, 6th August, the Ghajnsielem Redcoats were crowned Fastpitch National Champions of Malta after defeating the Mellieha Curves 9-5 in Game 6 of the best-of-7 Fastpitch National Championship Series 2020.
The Redcoats won Game 3 to take a 3-0 lead in the series. The Curves came back with two victories of their own to cut the lead to 3-2. However, the Redcoats put on a very composed performance in Game 6 to be confirmed as the best softball team in Malta for the third straight season.
In Game 6, the Redcoats took the lead in the 1st inning following a solid base hit down the right field line courtesy of Venezuelan player-coach, Zuleyma Cirimele Heredia, to score Monique Attard. There were crucial base hits in the 2nd inning with Marija Vella, who executed a fake-bunt-and-swing to perfection, hitting the ball right over the 3rd base player of the Curves to drive in Marilise Vella, while Laragh Tabone came in big once again with a solid base hit to score Marija Vella and Clarissa Camilleri. This made the score 4-0 for the Redcoats after just two innings.
In the meantime, Redcoats pitcher, Estelle Scicluna was at her very best, seeing off the first six Curves hitters she faced, and shutting them out in the first three innings. She allowed solitary runs in the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings, but by that time the Redcoats were up 9-3. Estelle had a no-hitter going into the 7th inning, but the Curves did manage a couple of base hit in the 7th and scored two consolation runs for a 9-5 final score.
Scicluna was very good striking out 10, but she received plenty of support defensively. She also helped her own cause with four put-outs, and three assists including a double play.
The Redcoats were required to take their game to a higher level, and play with more intensity, to ensure that a much-dreaded Game 7 was not required to keep the national title at home in Ghajnsielem, Gozo, for another year!
The season in Malta is normally played between January and June. In 2020 it had to be extended into August, as a consequence of the suspension of all sporting activities in mid-March because of COVID-19 pandemic.
/ Press release and photos courtesy of Ghajnsielem Redcoats