Fast pitch team misses playoffs after finishing fifth in their division
The Marauders split a doubleheader with the Brock Badgers to finish their season with a losing record
The McMaster University fastpitch team concluded their season with a high-scoring doubleheader split against the Brock Badgers on Oct. 15 at Victoria Park. The maroon and gray team took the first of the two games with a 12 to eight score before losing the second game seven to 10.
After the homestand, the team finished their year with a record of seven wins and 13 losses. Through their 20 game season the Marauders struggled to find consistency with both their offense and pitching.
On Sep. 18 against the Carleton Ravens, the team won consecutive games following a torrent display of batting. Scoring a total of 38 runs across the doubleheader, McMaster claimed back-to-back victories with a 16 to two score win in the first game and a 22 to one game in the second. However, the team would go on to be shutout over their next three matches, giving up 34 overall runs and double digit scores against the Western Mustangs and Windsor Lancers.
From Oct. 2 and Oct. 8, the Marauders faced their worst losing streak of the season, dropping five straight games to slide further in the Ontario University Softball rankings. Even with the Brock split, McMaster was unable to qualify for the OUS championship, missing their mark by a three game margin below the Lancers and Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. In the end, the team tied with the Waterloo Warriors for fifth in the West Division standings after collecting 14 points.
For the year, the team allowed 158 runs to their opposition, the second worst mark in the league. Scoring 105 runs during the campaign, the Marauder’ run differential of -53 ranked the third worst overall behind Guelph (-118) and Carleton (-140), contributing to their difficulties in keeping games within competitive reach.
When paired against their division rivals, the team ended up with an identical home and away record of two wins and six losses. For the overall year, McMaster fought their way to a win percentage of 35 per cent, improving upon their previous season’s total of 28.6 per cent alongside a record of four wins and 10 losses.
Despite the down year, bright spots emerged for the Marauders within their lineup. Pitcher and utility player Rhianna Guennel, who was named the one of the two top batters in the OUS in 2021, earned league all-star honours at the end of the season. Along with Guennel, rookie Paige Allen, who played third base, first base and the outfield, also received the all-star nod.
In her fifteenth year playing the sport, co-captain Alexis Crego discussed the hardships of enduring the season’s dense 20 game schedule.
“I’ve played in tournaments on my own travel teams, but never to this extent. . .You only get so much time so you have to mentally bounce back after every loss or every struggle,” said Crego.
From their first series against the Ottawa Gee-Gees before their two games with Brock, the Marauders played doubleheaders on back-to-back days every week from Sep. 17 to Oct. 8. This includes a set of three consecutive doubleheaders played on Sep. 30, Oct. 1 and Oct. 2.
Going forward, Crego believes this year will be pivotal in the development of her teammates and overall cohesion as a group.
“When our season is so short, I do think that the more we get to practice and the more we see each other as a team. . . We’ll definitely improve in communication and defensively as well.
Fielding eight rookies on their roster, the team looks ahead to 2023 with playoff ambitions following key experience and growth for its first-year players.