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Bahamas Opens New Stadium With 4-3 Win Over Curacao at Caribbean Cup

 Matt Tallarini  |    Dec 23rd, 2022 9:52am EST

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Amid an electric atmosphere befitting the opening of a new stadium, the Bahamas squeezed out a 4-3 victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands in their first game at Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium and the 2022 Caribbean Cup.

The pregame festivities included a speech by Gina Rodgers, the daughter of the great Andre Rodgers, the stadium’s namesake who was the first Bahamian player in the Major Leagues. Bands and Junkanoo rituals contributed spirit, and Major Leaguer Jazz Chisholm (IF-Miami Marlins) was also in attendance, delighting the Bahamian faithful by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

Ellison Hanna walked to lead off  second for the Bahamas, then stole second and reached third on a sacrifice fly by Grant Adari. Neymour Cherif walked, and Hanna scored after U.S. Virgin Islands catcher Conroy Samuel overthrew second base when Cherif tried to steal second.  

The U.S.V.I. evened the game in the fifth when Luke Kelani rapped a two-out single to left field, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored when Bates Taj doubled to left.

During the top of the sixth inning, the Virgin Islands grabbed the lead when left fielder Rafael Jackson came around to score on a wild pitch during right fielder Jahlani Roger’s at-bat to take a 2-1 lead.  

In the Bahamas half of the seventh, Toby Simmons led off with a double down the right field line. A few batters later, Ellison Hanna roped a single to right, and Moss and first basemen Warren Saunders would come around to score, giving the Bahamas 3-2 lead.

The Virgin Islands tied the game again in the top of the eighth, starting a rally when leadoff hitter Jahmoi Percival drove a single to right off relief pitcher Evan Sweeting. Kyle Lamotta walked, advancing Percival to second, and two batters later, Jahlani Rogers walked to load the bases. Shortstop Zayd Brannigan drew a bases-loaded walk to score Lamotta to tie the game up at 3.   Sweeting would retire the next two batters with no harm done as he got Luke Kelani to strike out swinging and Taj Bates to pop out to shortstop to end the top of the eighth.  

The Bahamas grabbed the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eight as Toby Simmons popped a sacrifice fly to center field and Kristin Monroe came around to score, giving the Bahamas a 4-3 lead. 

Closer Bethel Mckell retired the US. .Virgin Islands in order 1-2-3 in the ninth, striking out Jahmoi Percival to strike out swinging to end the game.

The Bahamas will play Curacao at 7 p.m. Monday, looking improve to 2-0 as the host nation. The U..S Virgin Islands will take on Cuba at 2 p.m. Monday.