The Brock Badgers women’s fastpitch program may be one of Brock University’s best kept secrets when it comes to its athletic programs. Despite not being recognized as a varsity sport, the club competes against schools all across the province and other parts of the country to the same degree and caliber that a varsity program would. Because of the program’s “club” status, they do not compete under the umbrella of OUA, but instead within the Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastpitch Association (OIWFA). The OIWFA along with the Western Collegiate Softball Association (WCSA) and the Ontario Colleges Athletics Association (OCAA) collaborate for an annual national championship tournament.
This year, the Badgers are led by reigning OIWFA coach of the year Mark Hall, who is entering his fourth year in charge of the club. The team is coming off of a season that saw them qualify for the OIWFA championship tournament for the fourth consecutive season and advance to compete in the Canadian Collegiate Softball Association (CCSA) national championship tournament in Ottawa.
When asked about the state of the women’s softball program, Hall believes that it’s about time for the program’s success to gain some more exposure.
“Our program has taken leaps and bounds from where it used to be. Brock softball is on the map,” Hall said.
This team doesn’t want to cling to their positive experiences from the past; now that they have tasted a degree of success, their expectations have risen, leaving them wanting more. This is reflected in the team’s goals for the upcoming season, as Hall says that once again “our goal is to qualify for the OIWFA championships and for ‘Canadians’.”
After qualifying for the national tournament in 2017, the Badgers managed to finish things up in Ottawa as the sixth best club in the nation.
“We played some pretty good teams and held our own,” Hall said.
This result can be perceived as one that lays a foundation for future championship runs to come, hopefully as soon as the 2018 season. According to Hall, there’s a lot to be encouraged regarding the current state of the team.
“This is a great bunch of girls. I only see positives. They are hard-working and dedicated to winning for Brock,” he remarked.
This positivity has spilled over into the incoming crop of softball talent at Brock, as Hall stated that his roster is not yet set with over 30 players gearing up to attend tryouts for the team.
Following the tryouts and final roster decisions, the Badgers will begin 2018 with a tune-up game on Thursday, September 6. The official season then opens up two days later as the team hits the road Sept 8 for a doubleheader against the Ryerson Rams followed by a doubleheader date on Sunday, Sept 9 versus the of Toronto Varsity Blues.
The Badgers will return to Lancaster Park in St. Catharines the following week for a packed weekend home stand that will see them play six games in less than 48 hours. For their home opening doubleheader on Sept 14th, they’ll take on the Guelph Gryphons with first pitches scheduled to fly at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Next, they’ll turn around and play two more games on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. against the Waterloo Warriors. Finally, they’ll play a doubleheader on Sunday, Sept. 16 against the Laurier Golden Hawks at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to cap off the weekend.