With the final stretch of regular season games taking place on the Brock Badgers women’s softball team’s schedule, the team had to come through with positive results to guarantee their positioning in the Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastpitch Association (OIWFA) championship tournament at the University of Ottawa.
Saturday afternoon presented the biggest test the Badgers had faced so far this season, as the team was set to take on the OIWFA West Division-leading Western Mustangs. The Mustangs had lost just a single game entering play against the Badgers and sent a message very quickly that they intended on maintaining their position in the top spot.
The Mustangs stifled the Badgers’ bats, picking up convincing 7-0 and 8-1 wins that dropped the Badgers record to 9-5 heading into their final two games of the season.
It was an uneasy position for the Badgers on Sunday; qualifying for the championship tournament had previously seemed like a foregone conclusion, however if the Lancers swept them, the Badgers could be on the outside looking in, as a trio of teams with 7-7 records currently trail them closely in the standings.
That sliver of possible disaster was quickly squashed as the Badgers jumped on the Windsor Lancers in the first half of the doubleheader 11-4, effectively clinching their spot in the postseason tournament. The Badgers continued their bounceback in game two with freshman pitcher Rachel Seguin toeing the rubber. Badgers head coach Mark Hall was impressed by the performance that his young pitcher provided.
“She pitched well, I thought she kept the batters guessing and when we needed a ground ball, she got us a ground ball,” said Hall.
Seguin managed to hold the Lancers off of the scoreboard entirely, tossing a complete game shutout. But somehow, that performance was outshone by her team’s display of offense, as their bats completely roughed up Lancers pitching, taking the game by a score of 17-0.
“It was nice to get the girls hitting the ball. Once we start hitting the ball we’re a different team,” Hall said.
The Badgers seized control of the game early as they batted around in the first inning, putting five runs on the board. The Badgers would add three more runs in the second, four more in the fourth and five more in the fifth before the game concluded. Catcher Chanelle Church led the way for the Badgers at the plate as she went four-for-four and knocked in four runs.
The Badgers held their annual senior night at the ballpark, and senior player Madi Clinton was honoured by the team. Prior to the final at-bat of her career at Lancaster Park, Hall called time and allowed the crowd to give Clinton a round of applause as she approached the plate. Clinton then proceeded to single in the at-bat and cleverly steal second base. It was a great moment and according to Hall, was one he had planned all along.
“Yeah absolutely [it was planned], Madi [Clinton] was our president for the last couple of years. She’s a dedicated, loyal, good kid and she’s just a great softball player,” said Hall.
After splitting the weekend with a 2-2 record, the Badgers concluded their regular season at 11-5, good for third place in the OIWFA West division.
“It’s a good record moving forward and it’s nice to build some momentum going into the OIWFA championships for sure,” Hall said.
With two weeks to go before the Badgers head out for their tournament, Hall says that they need to continue to keep things simple in preparation.
“We’re going to continue practicing and doing our normal thing, concentrating on the fundamentals and getting back to our normal hitting and defence,” said Hall.
The Badgers will head to the University of Ottawa on Oct. 12-14 for the OIWFA championship tournament hopeful to qualify for the Canadian national tournament later in the month.