Kenya Blazers v Ugandan Pearls Showdown

Posted 26 February 2019 18:16

By JohnMark Odoyo

The Kenya Women’s Softball National team Blazers hosted the Uganda Pearls during the weekend at Africa Nazarene University as part of the WBSC sanctioned International friendly.

The three-game series kicked off on Saturday afternoon where Team Kenya had a slow start but had a late rally which proved inadequate as they eventually fell by a final score of 15-7.

 Kenya recorded its first win in an exciting encounter on Sunday morning which saw the Blazers take an early lead to a point leading by 7 runs, however, the Uganda Pearls executed a late spirited rally closing the gap and needed a single run to tie the game during the seventh final inning while having a batting advantage.  

The Blazers led by Pitcher Hellen Okongo held the Pearls scoreless during their last at bat even though they had all the bases loaded. They managed to prevent the one-needed run by Pearls with the third strike out that could have tied the score and derail their win. Blazers secured an exhilarating 12-11 victory.

Pitcher Hellen Okongo celebrates after securing a win for Kenya.

The game saw a combined two homeruns hit, one by Uganda’s Joan Mbeera and another awesome hit to the left outfield by Kenya’s Maggie Irungu in the fifth inning.

On the last match of the friendly, both teams started off strongly going scoreless in the first inning. However, the Blazers struggled to find their hitting form throughout the game against the veteran Pearls’ pitcher Esther Nakabugo. The game ended 9-0 for Uganda who emerged the overall winner having clinched two of the three matches.

“We are still the underdogs unlike Uganda who have been training since 2016 giving them a upper hand as a majority of our national players who went to Canada have disintegrated leaving only a few. But we are confident and looking to build on this one win and hope to turn the tables next time,” said Lewis Tekei, Blazers Head Coach.

“It’s good to see Kenya raising up its standards as we now have a reason to play in an enjoyable competition that is good for Softball,” said Uganda Pearls Coach Allan.

Kenya’s slugger Margaret Irungu was presented with the Series’ Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) while Esther Nakabugo (UG) took home the Best Pitcher’s trophy. Elizabeth Wairimu (Kenya) was ranked the second best pitcher.

The MVP Margaret Irungu receiving her Medal for an outstanding display

“We have realized massive improvement in our team but we need to work on our infield defense before the Olympic pre-qualifiers,” said SFK President, Francis Karugu.

The Africa Softball pre-qualifiers are set to begin on 7-12th May in Pretoria, SA where the top two teams will advance later in July to Europe/Africa Olympic Softball Qualifiers in Netherlands.