What are you doing later today? Well, if the answer isn’t watching softball at Stronach Park, then it’s the wrong answer.
The champs are back, and they will be hosting the Wilfred Laurier women’s fastpitch team in a double header today at Stronach Park at 5 and 7 p.m.
The Mustangs are coming off of their second consecutive championship, and it’s with good reason that other teams expect them to be atop the leader board once more this year.
“Western has been the top team the last two seasons, and right now I would expect them to be near the top again this year,” Kevin Fagg, head coach of the women’s Laurier fastpitch team, said. “It is good to see some of the best teams right off the bat.”
Despite this belief, the Mustangs know that there is no easy way to the top, and each game presents its own unique challenge.
“Well, I expect it will be a tough contest. Laurier is traditionally very good. Last year they were a strong team, and that is quite typical of their performance,” Pete Lemon, head coach for the Mustangs, said. “They finished third in our league last year and we finished first, so assuming that they are in a similar mix, I think it will be a really good game.”
In order to pull out a victory against a tough Laurier squad, the purple and white will be leaning on their veterans and new crop of recruits—who have seamlessly fit into their specific team roles—to lead them to victory.
“We played down in Windsor on Sunday and all the first-year players played, and they all did very well. A couple got extra base hits in RBI situations and I was very pleased,” Lemon said.
“I think there were a little bit of nerves in the first game against Windsor during the first couple innings, but once they got a few at-bats and a few pitched balls under their belt, everything went very well,” he continued.
Adding yet another dimension to the game is the fact that the two teams will be playing on the Mustangs’ home turf—Stronach Park. When asked whether home field advantage can make a difference in a game, coach Lemon simply replied with “yes, definitely.”
However, on the other side of the field, coach Fagg of the Laurier squad doesn’t agree that his team will be at a disadvantage later today.
“I personally believe the only real home field advantage right now in university fastpitch is held by the Ottawa and Windsor area teams, due to the long travel required for opposition, typically on game day,” Fagg said. “We won the 2007 Provincial Championships on Western’s home diamond as they were the hosts, so I don’t see home field advantage as overwhelming.”
The Mustangs are already 2-0 this season after their two road wins against Windsor, and will try to improve to 4-0 today.