Defense was the big factor as the defending Ontario Colleges Athletic Association women’s fastball champions Humber Hawks were too much for the visiting Mohawk Mountaineers in the regular season curtain raiser in Etobicoke on Tuesday (Sept. 10).
The Hawks scored a 10-3 victory in a game where rookie Mohawk pitcher Niki Grover was the victim of several unearned runs as the Mountaineers committed six errors.
A lack of clutch hitting didn’t help either, according to Mohawk coach Brian Weller.
“We left 12 (runners) on base,” said Weller. “We were hitting, but unfortunately we weren’t getting the key hits.”
Veteran Stephanie Duffin went 3-for-4 at the plate for the Mountaineers, while newcomer Becky Rabchuk was 2-for-3.
Weller knows his charges have to work on defense, but he saw enough to feel this team will come together this season.
“Humber is the defending champion, and they had already been in tournament play, while this was our first game,” said the coach.
Mohawk opens its home schedule on Friday (Sept. 13) when the Conestoga Condors of Kitchener visit Mohawk Sports Park for a doubleheader, starting at 5:30 p.m.
The Mohawk team is usually in the hunt for OCAA medals. That’s why going winless last season was unlike the Mountaineers and this season Weller expects a much more competitive team, despite the opening game setback.
The most dramatic change will come from the pitchers’ rubber, where there are no returnees. However, the team recruited a pair of rookies, Laura Chappel and Grover, who both come to Mohawk with experience at the key position.
The Mountaineers look promising up the middle. Fourth year player Nicole Leitch is back at shortstop and rookie Rabchuk, who has had some Ontario University Athletics club experience, is expected to be at second base.
The outfield is solid for Mohawk, as three starters from last season, Stephanie Ferretti, Amanda Edmonds and Duffin are all back. The catchers are returnee Lindsay Rivet and newcomer True Copple.