The Western women’s softball team met a disappointing back-and-forth defeat Sunday afternoon against the Brock Badgers, losing 5-2.
The Mustangs played two games against the Badgers on Sunday. A double-header of 0-2 put the Mustangs in third place in the west division of the Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastpitch Association. Despite the losses, Western secured its playoff seat, with four games left in their regular season.
After narrowly losing the morning game 1-3, the Mustangs were determined to prove themselves in the second game of the day.
They showcased great poise for the first inning. A number of seeing-eye singles in the top of the first loaded the bases for the 'Stangs, and a strategic bunt by outfielder Sydney Benn scored the Mustangs their first run of the game.
Their momentum continued into the bottom of the inning, when starting pitcher Mackenzie Last put the pressure on the Badger’s batters. She outed the first two batters in Brock’s line up and within minutes, closed out the inning.
But this galloping start for the Mustangs was halted almost as soon as it began. In the bottom of second inning, Brock’s batting lineup had shaken their first-inning nerves and rebounded in a big way.
A combination of doubles and triples kept the bases loaded for the majority of the inning, allowing the Badgers to score three runs quite quickly.
On top of this, the Mustangs couldn't land on base and they ended many of their innings with a series of fly balls.
“The bottom line is, we had a lot of chances,” said Mustangs head coach Pete Lemon. “We had runners on base and we just popped the ball up. Credit to [Brock Badgers], they executed and we didn’t.”
But Western turned it around in the top of the fifth, coming back with tenacity.
For the first time in a few innings, the Mustangs batting line-up was able to put runners on bases. Just when it seemed the Mustangs were going to fall to a third out, a positional call against the Badgers allowed the Mustangs to keep batting.
They capitalized off this call, and were able to bring in another run, putting them in one-point proximity to the Badgers.
But again, the Badgers did not give the Mustangs any time to revel in their offensive successes.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Badgers had yet again loaded the bases, and a strong drive sliced through centre field and brought in another two runs.
Despite shuffling around a few players in latter innings, the Mustangs were unable to bounce back and the final score sat 5-2 in favour of the Badgers.
Coming into Sunday’s games, both teams knew that victory would be a hard-fought battle. With almost identical records, the Mustangs sat at 10-1 and the Badgers at 9-1, the series proved important in determining second place in the league coming into playoffs.
Additionally, this game marked the sixth game the Mustangs have played in a three-day period. Having won two games against the Waterloo Ghosts on Friday night, as well as two games against the McMaster Marauders on Saturday afternoon, the Mustangs performed as best they could considering the fatigue they faced.
“We certainly played our best this weekend on Friday night, then well yesterday, but today was the worst of the three,” said Lemon. “Whether that is fatigue or Brock just playing really well, it is hard to tell.”
Still, the Mustangs remained unconcerned, knowing that they have secured their spot in playoffs and will have another chance to find victory over the Badgers.
The women have four regulation games left in their season, and will be returning to Stronach Community Recreation Centre to take on the Windsor Lancers Sept. 29 at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.