Cayman hosts historic Isle of Youth softball visit

The scene may not have had all the trimmings of a Major League Baseball game but the fun and intensity was on par as a Cuban softball team from Isle of Youth visited Grand Cayman to play against the Cayman Islands national team in a six-game series.

The historic visit had been in the making for nearly two decades. A Cayman team has been visiting Isle of Youth since 1995, and for the first time, the Cubans flew south for a visit.

Entering the final game at Field of Dreams on 24 January, the hosts needed a win to level the series but the visitors proved too much and headed home with the bragging rights.

“It was an awesome tournament that we had here. Cayman needs to do a lot more of this to have more entertainment. The Cuban team played well, as well as some of our players,” said Molly-Ann Moore, the president of the Cayman Islands Softball Association.

In addition to the games, the purpose was to strengthen ties between the two associations and islands.

“It’s been a wonderful experience. We have been waiting for this for over 20 years and everyone is really glad that it has happened now,” Isle of Pines Commissioner of Softball Eduardo ‘Dito’ Lawrence told speaking through an interpreter.

“We are two sisters, Caribbean islands. This event has been happening since 1995 but it was always the Cayman team travelling to Cuba but now we get to come to Cayman,” he added.

Marlon Thomas, who coached and played, was one of the driving forces behind the event. “It was well attended and that is one of the things we have been looking forward to – people coming out and supporting softball,” he said.

Moore added: “We definitely need more of this happening here in Cayman. The Cuban community was very helpful in hosting the players. If it was not for them, I don’t think we would have been able to have the team come.”

Thomas said over the past two decades, a special bond has been developed between players on both sides. “Since then, most of us have become friends. It’s not just about baseball but about the friendships we have developed over the years,” Thomas said in an interview after the final game.

He said hosting the visiting side proved challenging but was thankful to those who assisted in making it possible. “In the end, persons came out and really assisted and that made it easier for us. We are thankful to the government, who assisted us with the visas and things like that.”

Thomas made special mention of the Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports; the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Immigration Department.

Other sponsors included: Lee’s Office Products, Lily Tours, Jaime Ebanks-Blanco (Chuchy Tours), Donald Watler, David Watler, Saxon, A. L. Thompson, Justo Lopez, Meylin Eden, Juan Verdecia, Yosvany Lopez, Carneth Thomas, Eunice Bennett, Juan  Rives, Armando Salas, Martha Quintero, Cayman Airways, Quick Images, Department of Tourism,  Cayman Islands Little League and the Cayman Islands Softball Association.

“It has been a great experience [with] a lot of emotions. This is just beginning now,” Lawrence said, pointing out that he expects to host the Cayman side later this year and plans to return with his team in 2018.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.