Homecoming Saturday saw uncharacteristically hot temperatures for OIWFA action and fans were treated to a see-saw battle between the Queen's Gaels and the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. Queen's ousted the Hawks last year in Provincial Championship action with a major upset on Sunday morning and Laurier was out for revenge.
The back and forth affair started right away with Queen's scoring in the top of the first before Laurier responded with three of their own in their half of the inning. Laurier took advantage of some errors from the Queen's defence along with a triple to right centre field by Melissa Chen. Queen's responded right away with three runs in the second inning and yet again the Golden Hawks had their answer in the bottom of the second with two of their own to regain the 5-4 lead. The two teams would share runs in three consecutive innings when Queens finally tied the game in the top of the 7th, forcing Laurier to score in the bottom half to avoid another extra inning affair. Fourth year Warmington belted a triple to dead centre field leading off the 7th inning and was scored by a triple down the left field line by Jessica McMillan to cap off the 7-6 victory. A great game by both teams with clutch hits for the Golden Hawks to fight off the pesky Gaels who continued to come back time and time again. Woodburn highlighted the Hawks offence going 4-4 with 4 singles. Maddie Mayberry also helped her own cause on the mound with timely hits late in the game after her outstanding performance on Friday night against Western.
The Hawks would continue their ways with the offence in the second game of the double header, taking an early lead in the first inning thanks in part to critical speed by lead-off batter Lauren Campbell. Laurier would score in every inning with the exception of the fifth frame including one in the second, two in the third, three in the fourth, and three more in the sixth innings en route to an offensive explosion in game two. Third year Alicia Helmond went 3-3 at the plate, scoring twice. The Gaels threatened on a number of occasions but Warmington kept Queen's off-guard, combined with spectacular defensive plays including a highlight reel diving catch from Campbell in right field to end a serious Queen's threat. Warmington would help her own cause with the bat as she went 3-4 in the win. The Golden Hawks would eventually prevail 10-1 in a 6 inning mercy ruled game.
Sunday morning Laurier took on the York Lions to cap off the 6 game weekend. The two teams went back and forth in the early innings of the game, exchanging leads with each other, with Laurier scoring in each of the first five innings before finally exploding in the bottom of the fifth for five runs and routing the Lions in a 13-6 mercy-ruled game. Campbell led the offence at the top of the line-up, going 3-4 at the plate. Mayberry came in relief work in the fourth inning to shut the door for freshman Emily Vella who threw a great game despite a number of Laurier defensive woes which allowed York to stay in the game early. The hot bats were too much as Mayberry was perfect at the plate, going 4-4, missing the cycle by a home-run. Helmond also hit the ball hard in game one, ultimately ending the game early on the run rule as she belted a shot over the fence to left-field for the final dagger Laurier would need. Marissa Woodburn and Christina Iswasiw both went 2-4 with Woodburn getting two doubles in the morning affair.
The offensive ways continued in game two as Laurier scored their third consecutive run-ruled game in a 20-1 tromping of York in game 2. Two runs in the first followed by seven in the second put the Lions out of the game early and the Golden Hawks did not let up as it seemed every ball was hitting a whole for the purple and gold to wrap up a very successful 5-1 weekend record to jump into sole possession of fourth place in the 12 team OIWFA league. Notables in game 2 included Mayberry who got the ball back in game two on the mound and added with her bat, going 3-4, Helmond 4-5 with two triples,and Vella 4-5 who switched roles with Mayberry in game two, coming on in relief in the fourth and shutting down the Lions offence.
"A solid weekend for the girls, facing some tough competition in upsetting Western and a very competitive Queen's squad who should certainly be in contention on Championship Sunday in late October," commented Laurier coach and league President MATT ALLEN.
"We really came together this weekend and have improved every game this season, something that we had been missing in recent years," added Kevin Fagg, Head Coach.
The Golden Hawks will continue play this weekend in St. Agatha with games against Brock and McMaster on Saturday and Sunday. Game times and full schedule are available on www.oiwfa.org