The Mustangs women’s softball team started the Ontario University Championship on Friday, with an 8-3 win over the McMaster Marauders at Stronach Park.
Western hosted The Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastpitch Association championships this year which included the top eight teams from the regular season.
The Mustangs have won four out of the last six championships and looked to defend their championship from last season.
Finishing their regular season with a record of 20-0, the Mustangs were the heavy favourite coming into the weekend. This season marks the second consecutive season that the Mustangs have gone undefeated. Having already defeated the University of Calgary Dinos for the National Softball Championship , the Mustangs were looking to build off of their success.
In round robin play earlier in the weekend the Mustangs defeated the Windsor Lancers 8-1 and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 2-1.
In their first game of the championships, the Mustangs jumped to an early lead scoring six runs in the first two innings. The majority of their strong offensive output came in the second inning as they scored five runs on five hits while holding the Marauders scoreless. At the end of the second inning the score was 6-0 in favour of Western.
“Our bats were working pretty well and we made good plays today. We have to keep our heads clear; in a close game you cannot stop playing hard,” Leslie Hanson, Mustangs catcher, said.
McMaster got their first run in the top of the fourth inning on the strength of an inside-the-park homerun. Having been dominated by the Mustangs throughout the season, this was the first time McMaster scored on Western this year. Western replied with a run of their own in the bottom of the same inning, regaining their six run lead with the score at 7-1 at the end of the fourth.
The players were battling cold weather and strong winds throughout the match, as the temperature dipped into the single digits, but this did not stop both teams from playing a competitive game today.
After a series of outstanding plays by the Mustangs outfield, McMaster was able to rally in the sixth inning scoring two runs. Western was able to stop the bleeding as they recorded the final out of the inning with the bases loaded. Western was able to limit damage, allowing only two runs and keeping the score at 7-3.
“We made a few mistakes but we had the big bats. The offence was really good and the pitching was solid. We started coasting in the game and gave them a chance to come back. We expect to play closer games tomorrow,” Pete Lemon, Mustangs head coach, said.
The Mustangs added to their total before the game was over as they scored an inside-the-park home run as they ended the game with eight runs on 11 hits. McMaster was unable to add any more runs resulting in a final score of 8-3.
“This was a good battle between Mac and Western, overall the team played well. I think we gave them a run for their money after having the bases loaded, we just didn’t capitalize on that inning,” Steph Sutton, Marauders assistant coach, said.
Western completed the weekend by defeating the Waterloo Warriors by a score of 3-0 and took the championships by defeating the University of Toronto Varsity Blues by a score of 2-1 in extra innings.