OSHAWA, ON: The Humber Hawks women's softball team came within inches of knocking off the eventual champion St. Clair Saints in the opening game of the 2014 championships, and fell just short of the medals when the event came to an end. This season, they aim to move back atop to the podium at the 2015 OCAA Women's Softball Championship which is being held at Durham College in Oshawa.
The Hawks will open the event at 2:00 pm on Friday afternoon in a matchup with London's Fanshawe Falcons. The Falcons, by way of their second place finish, will be the home team for this match up. The Hawks actually tied with the host Durham Lords with similar marks at 15-7, but based on the Humber squad sweeping the season series, were slotted in the third spot overall.
The softball play-downs are a double knockout format, the losers will play at 4:00 pm and the winners at 6:00 pm. Simply put, those teams winning game one will be guaranteed a medal, and should a team win twice on Friday they will advance directly to the Gold Medal round.
The Hawks and Falcons met on four occasions this season, with Fanshawe winning three of them, including a sweep of the Hawks on the Humber home field of Wildwood Park just two weeks ago.
As tight as the race for third was, the race for first was just as snug. St. Clair eventually took top spot, but prior to the Falcons last double-dip at Durham they were tied, with Fanshawe holding the tie-breaker.
Both Humber and Fanshawe players litter the top twenty in the batting average race. Humber has ten players hitting over the magical .300 mark, while Fanshawe checks in with nine. Bonnie Gillingham leads Humber at .447, and Kady Hawkins leads the Falcons at .476.
The two teams each feature an ace on the mound and a solid second in support. Humber's Myranda Pirson, a true freshman, recorded a mark of 10-4, with an ERA of 2.64. Bree Donaldson follows Pierson with 4-1 record of her own. Tops on the Falcon squad is Alanna Gilmour and her nine wins. Lydia Kalbfleisch has won six games and lost only three.
If finishing on a strong note is a key to victory in the opener, it is the Hawks soaring high right now, currently entrenched in a five game winning streak. Fanshawe enters the 2015 event by way of two losses to the host Durham Lords, surrendering nineteen runs in the doubleheader.
A second Hawks key to the game going in was production from the entire line-up, but in this current run of five straight wins, the batters from one through nine have all contributed greatly.
The third and final key is the performance of Hawks ace Myrandsa Pierson. After a torrid start, she struggled a bit in mid-season, but all statistic lately show that she is ready for a solid playoff run.