Cayman, Cuba split Heroes Day Invitational titles

Cuba celebrate winning the 2018 Heroes Day Invitational Softball Tournament.

Six days of action at Field of Dreams came to a climax with two must-win games on the final night of the 2018 Heroes Day Invitational Softball Tournament on Tuesday, 23 January. At the end of the night, both Cayman Islands and Cuba walked away with champions trophies on the women’s and men’s side, respectively.

First up was the final game of a five-game series between the hosts and their visitors from Cuba, with the sides having split the first four outings.

It’s often said in life and sports that it’s not how you start but how you finish. That was not the case, as Cayman’s women scored six runs in the top of the first inning, a tally their Cuban opponents wouldn’t match all game long.

Despite a credible performance by Cayman pitcher Jessica Pawlick, the game was within reach as the game entered the penultimate sixth inning with the hosts leading 8-4. A solid team effort, punctuated by two big blasts from Samantha Ebanks ensured the home team would win comfortably in the end.

In the sixth, Ebanks hammered a long ball over the fence to left-centre to cap a five-run inning. She outdid herself with another bomb down the left field line deep over the fence that resulted in automotive body men getting some work.

Samantha Ebanks gets a rousing welcome as she returns to the dugout following a home run.

With 10 runs in the final two innings, it was all over with Cayman winning the women’s series with an emphatic scoreline of 18-5 in the decider to take the series 3-2.

Ebanks, the top home run hitter for the tournament, was understandably elated. “It was a rough start. I struck out a couple of times but better late than never,” she said of her round-trippers.

“Teamwork matters in this type of competition and I’m glad we came out on top. Cuba played a fantastic game. We must give it up to them,” she said.

Cayman Islands won the women’s series against Cuba 3-2.

Next up was the men’s final between favourites Cuba and Cayman Islands, with third-placed Jamaica looking on. Cayman’s men might as well have been spectators as well. Cuba scored 10 runs in the first two frames before adding a pair in the fourth to see the game called at 12-0 after the top of the fifth.

It was the second time in a year that Cuba’s men boarded their flight home from Grand Cayman with champions trophies, after winning a series 4-2 against Cayman in 2017.

Marlon Thomas, a player/coach on the Cayman team, summed it up this way: “They have a really good team. I’m not going to take anything away from them but we have a good team [as well]. Unfortunately, we didn’t do our part and they did theirs.”

Tournament Award Winners


Champion pitcher – Ulises Alzamora (Cuba)

Champion batter – Alexis Castellanos (Cuba)

MVP – Ulises Alzamora (Cuba)

Home Run champion – Luis Clarke (Cayman)



Champion pitcher – Jessica Pawlik (Cayman)

Champion batter – Daneliz Thomas (Cayman)

MVP – Daneliz Thomas (Cayman)

Home Run champion – Samantha Ebanks (Cayman)


Thomas, a lead organiser of the tournament, said he was happy with how it turned out after featuring only two teams a year earlier. For 2018, it grew to five teams, although a sixth – Jamaica’s women – were unable to make it.

“I’m very pleased with the growth of it,” he said. “We’re hoping, God willing, that we can make this an annual event and they’ll come on board next year.”

Cayman Islands Softball Association President, Ivy Robinosn, described it as a good warm-up for another international tournament to be held here in the summer. “It says to me that softball in the Cayman Islands is coming back and going beyond where we were before,” she told at the conclusion of the tournament.

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