By Mike Marasco
The 2019 fastpitch season came to an end on Sunday with the McMaster Marauders stepping on the podium.
McMaster was the host for this year’s edition of the Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastpitch Association’s championship tournament at the Margaret Koropatnicki Softball Complex. The tournament featured the top eight teams in the conference facing off in a double knockout tournament.
After splitting their final series of the season a week earlier, and getting a little help from out-of-town results, the Marauders entered the tournament as the eight seed and faced the Brock Badgers, who sent the hosts to the bottom half of the bracket with an 8-3 win.
The loss meant that Mac would need to take the long way around if they wanted to have a chance at a tournament victory.
McMaster then went on to double up Ryerson 6-3 and mercy the Toronto Varsity Blues 18-4 in six innings to advance to Sunday’s portion of the tournament.
After rain forced the games to be pushed back the Marauders battled with Laurier as they looked to move a step closer to the finals. Laurier got on the board first in the bottom of the third with a pair of runs but the hosts’ bats came alive in the fifth. McMaster posted six runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings for a 12-2 mercy victory and secure a spot on the podium.
They went on to face Ottawa, who lost in the semifinals to Western, with the winner advancing to the finals against the Mustangs.
It would prove to be a tight contest between the Gee-Gees and Marauders. Starting slowly as they had all weekend, Mac gave up the first run, with that one coming in the bottom of the third, but were able to tie it up in the top of the fourth. Ottawa replied in their half of the fourth to take a 3-1 lead, which would be the eventual final score.
While they lost the game, the Marauders did pick up some hardware for their efforts over the weekend, taking home the bronze medal for their third-place finish which was the first podium finish for the team since 2016, when they also won bronze.
Western went on to capture its 10th consecutive and 12th overall OIWFA title, defeating the Gee-Gees 7-1. Ottawa found themselves with silver around their necks, securing their second podium finish in the last three seasons.
Western’s Megan Parno would be named the Doug Parry MVP of the championship game with two triples and six runs batted in.
Perry, who is a former coach for the Marauders fastpitch team (2000-2009), was honoured at the tournament banquet on Friday night with the OIWFA Outstanding Contribution Award for his long-term contributions to the association and promotion of the sport for numerous years.