The Western Mustangs softball team left their provincial championship tournament with unfinished business last weekend. The Ontario Intercollegiate Women's Fastpitch Association still has no champion after last Sunday's rainy weather in Kitchener caused the gold medal game to be suspended.
The final, between the Mustangs and the Laurier Golden Hawks, had five innings in the books with a score of 0–0 before officials decided to put things on hold. So, the defending champion Mustangs will have to wait to vie for their eighth straight title.
Western's road to the championship game was an impressive one, with big shutout wins over the Windsor Lancers (7–0) and Laurier (8–0) in the preliminary stage, and an 8–0 victory over the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the semifinal.
"We had some really complete games," said coach Pete Lemon of his team's performance over the weekend. "We had good hitting, good pitching and good defence, and it’s awfully hard to lose when you’re playing like that."
Pitcher Sara Contini led the way for the Mustangs, with a four-hit complete game against Windsor and a no-hitter with nine strikeouts the next day against Ottawa.
Laurier managed to shake off their tough first-round loss to Western, progressing through the loser's bracket to meet the Mustangs again in the final.
The championship will be settled this Sunday, when Western and Laurier will meet to play the final two innings of the game. Rather than travelling all the way back to Kitchener, though, the teams will meet in the middle, at a diamond in Hickson, Ontario.
With just two frames left to play, there will be no margin for error for either team. Since the score is tied at 0, one strong offensive outburst could win the provincial championship.
"We have to hit a little bit better," said Lemon. "We’re hoping that we can get a couple hits and push a run across the plate and play good defence and be the champions again."
In the first five innings of the game, Western outhit the Golden Hawks 5–1 but didn't manage to convert any of their runners in scoring position. Scoring hasn't often been a problem for the Mustangs this season with such lopsided victories in the tournament's early games, but they may need to fight for a run in this one.
The Mustangs, who earlier this month became national champions at the Canadian Collegiate Softball Association's title tournament, aren't worried about the unusual circumstances for this weekend's trip to Hickson.
"We're excited to get there and bring the trophy home again," said Lemon.
The championship game will resume on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.