‘A true competitor’
Petruska is a pivotal part of what is possibly the best pitching rotation in Ontario.
When asked what words his teammates would use to describe him, fourth-year pitcher Jordan Petruska did not hesitate in answering.
“Really intense, really focused and a true competitor who always has his teammates’ back,” he said.
His teammate and fellow team captain, outfielder Jonathan Brouse did not have any objections.
“I would agree with that 100 per cent. He’s a great leader, he’s very vocal and he’s a great teammate,” Brouse said. “He’s a very passionate guy.”
Petruska is a pivotal part of what is possibly the best pitching rotation in Ontario. He, along with the rest of the pitching staff, are some of the toughest pitchers to deal with in the province.
“Me, Brett Van Pelt, Andrew Zeidens, Adam McBride — we all gel well together on and off the field,” he said. “Just that chemistry of being part of the pitching staff really helped us be one of the dominating forces in [Ontario University Athletics].”
At the end of August, Petruska was asked what his goal was for the season. Instead of mentioning any individual stats, he simply said he wanted to go undefeated for a second straight year, so he could help the team win.
He achieved that, going 4-0 during the year. His individual stats were impressive as well; he had a 2.45 ERA and the third most wins in the province, two of which were complete games.
He finished in the top five in strikeouts in the OUA with 29. As the season ended this past weekend, Petruska remained humble.
“My goal was to go undefeated and I did accomplish that … but as a team leader, focusing on winning each game is paramount to individual stats,” he said.
He finishes the 2014 campaign as an OUA semi-finalist — a year after claiming the championship.
In the playoff tournament this past weekend, the team needed to win three nine-inning games in one day in Hamilton. They won the first two against Western and Guelph but failed to knock off Waterloo in a late night battle.
However, during the contest against Guelph, the team blew a three run lead and responded with four runs immediately after. Head coach Scott Ballantyne saw one player stand tall when the team needed to respond.
“Jordan Petruska especially, who is the more vocal of our two captains, was doing his best to get everybody up and continue to fight. The Guelph game showed a lot of leadership from guys like Jordan,” he said.
Petruska’s fellow captain also praised his ability to get the guys going in tough situations.
“When he gives a speech and he gets the guys going, it’s pretty inspiring stuff,” said Brouse.
Petruska admits the new role of team captain introduced him to a new kind of leadership he did not feel in previous seasons with the team.
“I felt like in first year, second year and even third year, my notion of being one of the team leaders was just that you lead by example. But this year, as a captain, you always have to be motivating. When you’re not playing you have to say the right things and be ready to light that spark in each batter and each defensive player,” he said.
Petruska plans on returning for his fifth and final year with the Golden Hawks next season and is confident he has the ingredients for another successful year.
“Keep training hard, keep going to the gym, keep growing and keep maturing. Just staying focused, and getting lucky I guess too. You need luck sometimes in baseball as well,” he said.