They’ve gone to the playoffs every year in their 10-year history with the Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastball League, but the Lancers Women’s Fastpitch club has yet to win the championship.
They reached the final once, in 2004, and also earned a bronze medal in 2010. Last year, the Lancers tied for fifth place in the league championships.
Team captain and third-baseman Stephanie Manson thinks they’ve a good shot at the title this year with a roster that includes 10 returning players and five rookies.
This past weekend saw the Lancers sweep and be swept in games on the road. Saturday they lost two games to Brock 4-2 and 8-1.
“They were fairly close games,” said Manson. “We just weren’t able to get the results that we wanted.”
Sunday, they beat McMaster 8-0 and 10-5.
Their current win-loss stands at 5-5, which puts them roughly in the middle of the pack in the 12-team league, but Manson doesn’t think the record is indicative of the strength her team possesses this year.
For instance, the Lancers played a double-header against two-time defending champion Western Mustangs for their season opener. While the Lancers team, still feeling out the season, dropped both games, Manson feels her team gave the Mustangs a serious run for their money.
“We did keep it close this year,” she said. “The Mustangs are very dominant, and for our first game this year we weren’t sure how it was going to go. We were able to play up to their level which we were very happy about.”
It’s the result of a more seasoned roster.
“It’s kind of great this year,” Manson said. “We have a lot of returning girls that have been there for three or four years and, in my case, this is my fifth year coming back now.”
Manson made a special reference to third-year pitcher Kelsey Schincariol. “She’s extremely dominant,” Manson said of the former Windsor Lady Expo. “She’s one of the best in the league.”
While Manson classifies last year as a time of rebuilding, she feels the added year has brought a maturity to the team. Even with a large graduating class at the end of last season leaving behind eight rookies, the Lancers have managed to return with a stronger core.
“The rookies are doing really well,” Manson said. “Some of them have already fit into starting positions. So, we’re happy with how we’re coming together quickly. We feel really positive that we can have such a winning season.”
“I’m very confident in our team this year,” Manson added. “I’m extremely confident with all of our returning players. Our rookies are showing great promise early in the season and now we’re going to go out and make a big splash in the standings. We want everyone to know that we’re here to compete for a medal this year.”
The Lancers look to improve to a winning record this weekend when they host doubleheaders against Toronto Saturday.