HAMILTON, Ont. - The Mohawk women's softball team got a split with visiting Conestoga as the OCAA regular season got going at Mohawk Sports Park in Hamilton.

In the opener, Sarah Bell (Stoney Creek/Saltfleet) cleared the bases with a three-run double to highlight a five-run second inning for the Mountaineers. Emma Nordoff (Hamilton-Sherwood) and winning pitcher Aimee Leduc (Princeton/ES Notre Dame), delivered RBI singles in the same inning. But the Condors, after a surprisingly shaky start, bounced back smartly with two runs in the third inning, two more in the fourth and one in the fifth frame.

However, Shelby Hayward (Hamilton/Ancaster) scored on an error in the bottom of the fifth and that proved to be the winning run for Mohawk.

The second game was a different story as Conestoga rolled to an 11-5 victory. They led 4-0 after 5 innings, before Mohawk tallied three times in their half of the fifth. Hayward had a bases loaded sacrifice fly, Bell scored on an error and Meagan Byers had an RBI groundout. But the Condors drove home seven runs over the last two innings to take a commanding 11-3 lead.

Byers and Mackenzie Phillpot each had RBI singles in the bottom of the seventh inning, but they were too little too late for the Mountaineers.

Leduc was charged with the defeat in the second game, working four innings, before being followed by Kaylin Hudwith (Dunnville/Holy Trinity) and Shanien O'Neill (Dundas/Highland).

Leduc, who has plenty of experience starting in both ends of a twin bill with Mohawk, said she's always been kind of a workhorse. "I like to win and I like to help the team out. So the more I pitch, the better. I don't throw fast or hard, so it helps the fact I need to throw a lot."

But Leduc agrees it's nice to see more pitchers with the team this year.

This is season No. 3 at the helm for Todd Bannister and it seems he has his most fundamentally sound lineup in his time with Mohawk. "We're very fortunate," said the skipper. "We have seven new players that all have lots of experience, so it's definitely going to make our team more well rounded and a lot deeper."

The Mountaineers  will be off to North York Wednesday, Sept. 13 to face the Seneca Sting at 6 and 8 p.m. They'll then be back at Mohawk Sports Park to host the St. Clair Saints Saturday, Sept. 16, at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.

Source: Mohawk College