Jamaica Scorpions head coach Robert Samuels said is he is confident that the country can win this year’s Regional Super50 tournament, which will be held in Barbados. The Scorpions performed very poorly in last year’s tournament, where they failed to make it past the group stages. Samuels told The Gleaner prior to the team’s departure yesterday that they have assembled a very strong unit for the tournament and is optimistic that it will do well. “Yes, it could be our year, because I am pleased with what I have seen from the players,” Samuels said. “On paper, the team is a very strong one, but the players need to go out there and perform, and once we get the performances, then we will be alright,” he said. “We have good players, we have experienced players, and we have youth mixed with seniors. Once they go out and perform, then we will do well,” Samuels said. The Scorpions have been drawn in Group B with hosts Barbados Pride, Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC), and the United States. Group A comprises defending champions Windward Islands Volcanoes, Guyana Jaguars, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, West Indies ‘B’, and Canada. The Scorpions are set to play their first game is against the CCC on October 4. The squad includes captain Nikita Miller, Chris Gayle, AndrÈ Russell, Chadwick Walton, Jerome Taylor, Jermaine Blackwood, AndrÈ McCarthy, Brandon King, Fabian Allen, Rovman Powell. However, Gayle, Russell and Powell will only be available for two matches. Samuels added that despite the strength of the Scorpions unit, the players will have to go out there and play good cricket in order to win the competition. “The aim is to always go out there and win tournaments, but the players have to be hungry enough to want to go out there and perform day in and out,” said Samuels. “We will have a game every two days, so you need to be hungry and you need to be passionate about it. You need to want to score runs and you would want to do well and to maintain you passion throughout a tournament like this,” he said. The other members of the squad are Nkrumah Bonner, Paul Palmer, Christopher Lamont, Oshane Thomas, and Gordon Bryan. Jamaica last won the competition in 2011.
LANCASTER – As second baseman Emilio Bonifacio goes, so go the JetHawks. Bonifacio, an unpolished prospect at the start of the season, has emerged as one of the California League’s most exciting players. Going into Friday’s game against Rancho Cucamonga, the JetHawks catalyst led the league with 42 stolen bases, was second in runs scored with 85, and ranked fourth in the league with a .327 batting average (129 for 395.) In games in which Bonifacio has multiple hits, the JetHawks are 24-16. They are 24-38 when he has one hit or less. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2In the second half, the JetHawks are 14-6 when Bonifacio has multiple-hit games. They are 2-10 in all other games. The stunning statistical correlation is no coincidence, JetHawks manager Brett Butler said. “He’s the guy who turns the key to the car and ignites the engine,” Butler said. Bonifacio’s surge has catapulted the JetHawks into contention for a second-half title. Going into play Friday, the JetHawks (48-54, 16-16 second half) were in third place, trailing first-place Lake Elsinore (19-14) by 21/2 games. Bonifacio batted .447 (59 for 132) in a 30-game home hitting streak that ended in Thursday’s 16-5 loss to Inland Empire. The JetHawks were 21-9 over that stretch. Bonifacio, ranked 27th among the JetHawks parent Arizona Diamondbacks organizational prospects at the start of the season, batted .266 (248 for 933) in two years at low-A South Bend (Ind.) in the Midwest League. His exceptional speed has produced wildly exciting results. In Tuesday’s 10-7 victory over Inland Empire, Bonifacio scored all the way from second on Chris Rahl’s sixth inning infield hit. “He’s shown that he’s an incredible athlete,” Butler said. The 21-year-old Dominican Republic native’s rapid development is especially timely for the Diamondbacks, who lack depth at his position. More importantly, he is the organization’s only pure leadoff hitter. In a private meeting two months ago, Butler told Bonifacio that he would never realize his potential if he didn’t improve his small-ball skills. “I told him, `Your swing’s way too big if you’re going to be a leadoff guy,’ ” Butler said. Butler has worked with Bonifacio on bunting and working the count in his favor. “Right now, look at the (Diamondbacks). They’re looking for a prototypical leadoff hitter,” Butler said. “That’s his ticket to the big leagues.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!