Oh Lords! Women’s softball team adds to its winning ways

Jim Nemish led the Lords to their fourth straight OCAA championship this season. In his 30th season as coach, Nemish recorded his 500th win along the way. Photo credit: Joshua Nelson

The numbers show it has been a milestone season for the Durham Lords women’s softball team.

The Lords recently won their fourth straight Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) gold championship beating St. Clair of Windsor in the final.

It was their 20th OCAA championship overall.

And along the way, head coach Jim Nemish recorded his 500th victory. In his 30 seasons as coach of the Lords, Durham has won the OCAA title 17 times.

It’s the combination of Nemish, his coaching staff and teamwork among the players that has produced these numbers, says Ken Babcock, Durham’s athletic director.

In addition to the traditional role of coaching the fundamentals and managing games, Nemish also brings an incredible amount of experience, integrity and passion.

Jim Nemish has led the Durham Lords to four straight OCAA women's softball championships.

“He’s equally as passionate now as he was the first year he took on the program back in 1989,” says Babcock.

Babcock says what Nemish has accomplished at a college level is amazing.

Based on the numbers alone, it would be hard to disagree with the athletic director.

Like many coaches, Nemish doesn’t like the spotlight, he would rather acknowledge the players.

Ashley Black of Waterloo, co-captain of the team for two years, was named the championship MVP and OCAA pitcher of the year.

“Looking at Ashley’s stats and performances this season she was deserving of pitcher of the year,” Nemish told Durham Athletics after the OCAA win. “She pitched great all season.”

Black, a pitcher and first baseman, has equal praise for her coach.

“He’s always there for us on and off the field and it’s just great to have a coach that is so dedicated and cares just as much about the game as we do,” Black says in an interview with the Chronicle.

Babcock says Nemish brings integrity and discipline to the Lords.

“He wants nothing more than the player to be not only successful on the field but a good person off the field,” says Babcock.

Black says her time on the team has changed her life and opened her up to a whole new world of possibilities. She says she used to be shy and since her time as a Lord, she now voices her opinion and is more social.

“[Softball] means everything to me, I love the sport and to be able to play it as long as I have, it is just a dream come true,” Black says.

While the MVP is set to graduate in the spring of 2019, Babcock says he’s excited to have Nemish back to lead the women’s team again next season.