St. Clair had a chance to clinch the OCAA Championship on Saturday afternoon, but the Humber Hawks refused to give up their dreams of a second consecutive title die. On the back of a brilliant performance from starting pitcher Jessie Ulens and star Jessica O'Quinn, Humber lived to play another game and a chance to be crowned champs yet again.
The top of the first started out slowly enough, with the Hawks retired in short order. The Saints would string a couple of hits together in the bottom of the inning courtesy of Alexa Georgiou and Skylar Patteson singles, but were retired when Kallie Desjarlais struck out.
Humber's offense awoke in the second thanks to some smart hitting and wildness on St. Clair starter Alexa Georgiou's part. Natalie Stoberman led off the inning with a double to centerfield, and Hillary Redrup was promptly hit by a pitch. With runners on first and second, Jamie Vieira laid down a perfect bunt to advance the runners 90 feet. Keira Lansley was walked to juice the bases, and it looked like the Hawks would open the scoring. Georgiou would dial in though, and started painting the corners with incredible precision. A couple of strikeouts sent the Hawks to the dugout unable to capitalize and St. Clair with the momentum squarely on their side.
St. Clair went down quietly in the bottom of the inning, and the Hawks would again put the pressure on Georgiou. After a Shawna Niskanen base knock, Olivia Crossley popped out for the first out of the inning. Two pitches later Niskanen was called out for leaving the bag early, but Jessica O'Quinn would single to keep the inning alive. Natalie Stoberman followed it up with a double to put two runners in scoring position and yet again the Hawks looked to be on the verge. Unfortunately for the Hawks though, Alexa Georgiou zoned in again and struck out Hillary Redrup to end the threat.
The fourth inning would come and go quickly, and the question was becoming which starting pitcher would blink first. That answer came in a big way in the top of the fifth. With Shawna Niskanen on second, Jessica O'Quinn launched a no doubter to left field. The bomb put the Hawks up two and gave their offense some much needed confidence, while clearly shaking Georgiou's confidence.
St. Clair's bats remained silent in the bottom of the fifth, and Humber would tack a third run on thanks to a Kelsey Bardy sacrifice fly. The Saints finally crossed the plate in the bottom of the inning when Georgiou, who was doing it all, crossed the plate to cut the lead to 3-1. Headed to the top of the seventh the game was still too close for comfort for the Hawks, but that would not be the case for long.
The top of the seventh began with an Olivia Crossley single, and Jessica O'Quinn promptly double to put runners on second and third. After an intentional walk of Natalie Stoberman, a Hillary Redrup chopper was misplayed and allowed Humber's fourth run of the afternoon to cross the plate. Keira Lansley then stepped up and put the game away with a two run scoring double, making it 6-1. The Saints would tack on one meaningless run in the seventh to make the final score 6-2.
It all comes down to one game now, the winner of a Hawks –Saints rematch being crowned OCAA Champs. First pitch is at 3:20 pm, and Wildwood Park should be electric.
UPDATE: The game has been delayed until 5pm due to rain, and the field will be re-assessed at that point.