Late-inning loss keeps Laurier softball from podium

For the first time in the past four seasons, Laurier’s Women’s Softball Program will return home without any kind of Provincial or National hardware. In what was supposed to be a transition year for the Lady Hawks softball team, losing four starting players, a talented incoming class of eight rookies were bound and determined to continue the excellence of the Golden Hawks softball club. Through the regular season, the Hawks had a 14-8 record which was good for a top three finish in the standings for the third consecutive year.

The Hawks opened up the Provincial Championships in Hamilton on Friday with a 5-3 win over cross town rival University of Waterloo. Cassie Taylor-Baptiste kept UW to just one hit through six complete innings and shut down the Warriors rally in the seventh inning for the win. Saturday afternoon the Hawks battled with seventh ranked Windsor Lancers. In a back and forth affair, Melissa Jeffrey tied the game in the fourth inning with a two run home-run and the game remained tied until late in the game when the Lancers shocked the Hawks with a 6-3 defeat.

This loss took the Hawks to the long road of the tournament on Sunday morning when they would face off with rivals, the Ottawa Gee-Gees, a team that has given Laurier trouble in recent years. Once again, the game was a roller-coaster match with Laurier grabbing an early 4-0 lead, only for the Gee-Gees to rebound and take a 5-4 lead which would last until the fifth inning when Laurier regained the lead, 6-5. The bottom of the sixth saw Gee-Gees defense running all over the field as Laurier’s offence was awakened for a number of extra-base hits scoring six runs and run-ruling the Gee-Gees.

The Lady Hawks would then face number-two seeded Guelph Gryphons. Laurier took an early lead and maintained it until the bottom of the 7th inning when Guelph strung together four hits for two runs to oust the Golden Hawks from a guaranteed medal.

“We had a number of chances against Guelph and couldn’t capitalize on them, it was just one of those games” said head coach Kevin Fagg. “This was by far the most focused our team has been all season long, it was nice for us to peak on the final day of competition and we really left it all on the field.”

Despite the loss, Laurier softball has high hopes for the future with the potential for all 14 players to return next season. Saturday night was highlighted with a league banquet in which Laurier pitchers Taylor-Baptiste and Rachel Warmington were named league all-stars.

-Story courtesy of Laurier Athletics

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