By Atara Shields
Ryerson’s fast pitch team dropped a double-header against Western University at home on Sunday, only one day after triumphantly sweeping Windsor.
It wasn’t even close.
The Rams’ bats had no answer against dominant pitching and hitting from Western’s varsity team, who have outscored opponents 222 to 30, averaging eight runs per game this season. Ryerson was shut out 8-0 in the first game, held to four hits and no walks.
In the second game of the double-header at Hendon Park, Ryerson wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. They singled, bunted and sacrificed their way to make it 1-0 in the first, but Western answered immediately with a three-run frame of their own.
The Mustangs found holes all over Ryerson’s infield and by the third inning, the Rams trailed 7-1.
Ryerson’s Taylar Oates and Olivia Stelmachowicz each batted in a runner in the third, cutting into the lead to make it 7-3.
Down 8-3 in the top of the fifth inning, first-baseman and team captain Hayley Graham made a faceplanting-grab in foul territory, managing to hold onto the ball with her arm trapped underneath her. She shook off concern from her teammates and coaches, took position in front of first, and made a great block to end that inning.
“To be honest, I thought the score was a little closer,” said Graham, now sporting cuts on her eyebrow and right hand. “But at the end of the day, I’ll do anything I can to stop it, even by throwing my body on the ground.”
Western eventually won it, beating the Rams 10-3.
Despite the resounding losses, Ryerson’s bench boss was glad his team got such a solid test ahead of the postseason.
“This is the benchmark of what we’ll be playing in the playoffs,” head coach Wayne Nishihama said after the drubbings.
Mathematically, Nishihama said the team will most likely be in the playoffs this year, and Graham thought the team’s performance boded well.
“[Today was] probably the most hustle and heart we’ve played [with] all season. And the chemistry was there,” said Graham. “We played well as a collective unit.”
Before the losses Sunday, the Rams broke out of a four-game slump in style against Windsor–a team Ryerson’s competing with for playoff position–beating the Lancers twice by a combined score of 22-5.
“We played probably the best ball we’ve played all season, we dominated those games,” Nishihama said. .
In Windsor, Ryerson’s Emma Carr smacked three home runs. On the season, all four of Ryerson’s dingers have come off Carr’s bat.
“We built a little bit of a rivalry [with Windsor last year],” said Graham. “We ended up mercying them in the first game, and that was really the cherry on top.”
Up Next: The Rams will play Guelph on Friday, followed by UofT to end the season.“It’s going to be a true battle of Toronto,” said Graham.
Correction: An earlier version of this story identified “Emma Carr” as “Emily Carr” in the photo caption. The Eyeopener regrets this error.