WATERLOO, Ont. (October 18, 2017)- The women’s softball team played host to the Ontario University Championships this past weekend at the Peter Hallman Ball Yards in Kitchener.
The Golden Hawks finished fourth in the regular season and were looking to make their way back onto the provincial podium for the third time in the last four seasons.
Before the first pitch was thrown on Saturday morning, Golden Hawks players Alanna Hentges and Briana Norlock were named to the Ontario All-Star team.
Laurier opened against a tough Brock Badgers opponent in the four versus five matchup on Saturday morning. Scoreless heading into the bottom of the third, the top of the order struck for three consecutive hits to break the deadlock. Kathleen Gregus then blew the game open when she belted a line drive triple to right field and the Golden Hawks would lead and hold onto the 6-0 win. Briana Norlock, Gregus, and Alanna Hentges each had two hits apiece.
This win would put the Golden Hawks in a tough second round game against the number one ranked Western Mustangs. Although the Golden Hawks threatened in the first inning, it was all Mustangs in an 8-0 defeat.
Laurier now had a long road back in the double elimination tournament and would face the Ryerson Rams next, making their first appearance in the Ontario Championships. Laurier opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when Dani O’Connell singled and Megan Harland reached on a fielder’s choice. They were scored when Gregus and Sonya Carnegie both singled and the Golden Hawks were up 2-0. Ryerson would respond with one of their own before the game was suspended in the fifth inning due to rain and would be resumed on Sunday morning. The Golden Hawks had six outs to get and six outs they got to advance to the next round in the 2-1 win over Ryerson.
The Golden Hawks now had a rematch with opening round opponent Brock Badgers. It was a defensive battle for both teams behind strong pitching performances. Scoreless in the fourth, Amy Campagnolo singled and was moved around to third base off some small ball by the Golden Hawks when Harland forced the Badger’s defense into a tough play which gave Laurier the lead. Brock would respond in the sixth inning with two of their own and all of a sudden Laurier was down 2-1 late in the game but Laurier answered right back when O’Connell and Lyndsey Allingham opened the bottom half of the inning with back to back singles. This brought up Gregus to the plate who was swinging a hot bat all weekend and she drove a line shot up the middle, scoring both runs and the Golden Hawks retook the lead, 3-2. The defense would shut the door in the seventh and Laurier was guaranteed a medal, now advancing to the semifinals.
In what seems to be an annual occurrence, Laurier would face arch rival Ottawa Gee Gees in an elimination game for one of the two teams. These two softball teams have battled in a number of key matchups over the past 10 years and would be fighting for the right to a gold medal contest with the Mustangs. Laurier had put the game away before the first out was recorded in the top of the first inning, up 6-0. Laurier would add one more in the first, and five in the second en route to a 12-1 thumping of the Gee Gees to advance to the gold medal game.
This would mark the third time in the last four years Laurier and Western would be meeting in the Ontario Championship final. Heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, the score was tied at 0-0 when high winds and extreme rain made the diamonds unplayable and suspended play.
The gold medal contest will resume Sunday morning, at 11:30 in Hickson. The Golden Hawks will be looking to win their second Ontario title in program history.