It was a toss up which was hotter—Lynn Windigo’s blazing fastball or the scorching bats of her and her Redgut Babes teammates.
Windigo fired a complete-game three-hitter with 12 strikeouts while the Redgut offence racked up 16 hits en route to an 11-3 victory over the Fort Frances Herricanes in the final of the Rainy River District Women’s Fastball League yesterday evening at the Rodrick and Telford Bruyere Ball Field at Couchiching.
“I knew we were going to have a tough game with Lynn pitching,” said Herricanes’ coach Don Tucker.
“She’s probably the premier pitcher in the district.
“I’m not disappointed at all,” Tucker added. “[The title] went to the best team.”
Windigo also contributed in a big way at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored against losing pitcher Laureen Hill.
Windigo’s single in the fourth was part of a decisive four-run inning that turned Redgut’s narrow 4-3 lead into a sizable 8-3 cushion.
“With Lynn, that inning picked her up and she just started throwing harder,” noted Tucker, who was without starting centre-fielder Barb McQuaker (ankle) and watched as Hill struggled to reach her usual velocity on the mound due to leg fatigue she was experiencing even before the first pitch.
Herricanes’ shortstop Candy Greengrass-Teeple didn’t hide her feelings after the game about her team’s effort throughout the season.
“Unbelievably proud,” she remarked. “We’ve come a long way.
“We struggled . . . having some girls who had just played slo-pitch and the transition was tough for them,” Greengrass-Teeple admitted.
“But we came through. . . .
“I think next year we’re going to give everyone a run for their money,” she vowed.
Windigo, who arrived at the park late from her home near Dryden and raced onto the field with her team already warming up for the top of the first, left in the same hurry and declined an interview.
But Babes’ centre-fielder Micaela Jack, who went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, had no problem voicing her team’s excitement in topping the first season of women’s fastball in the district in about 30 years.
“I think everyone played good, our defence and batting, but we were especially good on our bats,” noted Jack, who was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
“It feels pretty good. It was a good accomplishment for us,” she added.
“We worked hard.”
Greengrass-Teeple, meanwhile, already was excited about the prospects for next season, particularly with the likelihood the league may as much as double its current ranks of five teams.
“I’m the oldest one on this team and when I moved here, there was no fastball,” she noted.
“[The league] has revived something in me . . . all of us have that fire.
“This league will not die,” stressed Greengrass-Teeple. “[League organizer] Holly [Cogger] has done a wonderful job and I thank her for it because we’re in it for the long haul.
“This is going to go for a long time.”