Ballantyne and Golden Hawks Baseball “focused” on the three-peat
Although, the OUA sports cancellation resulted in a disappointing fall for coach Scott Ballantyne and his successful Golden Hawks baseball squad, the team has remained focused. Despite limited on-field action in recent months, Ballantyne and the team are eager on a return to the field next year and committed on defending their championship.
“It was different. I think the guys just missed each other and not getting a chance to hang out. I know I definitely missed the opportunity to spend the fall with them and watch them compete with each other,” Coach Ballantyne said.
With eyes aimed at a three-peat Coach Ballantyne and his staff were happy to have some normalcy while being granted a phased return to train at Laurier’s University Stadium.
“We did get a chance to practice in early October. The practices were held at the football stadium and were different because we weren’t preparing for game or anything in particular,” Coach Ballantyne said.
“It was more about just everybody being happy that they could see each other. Having that comradery and getting a chance to be together,” he added.
Laurier’s Department of Athletics cleared the majority of varsity teams during that first week of October for a phased return to train. The baseball team, like so many other Golden Hawk sports, were thrilled with the opportunity to have everyone together and participate in some sort of practice, albeit much different from most other years.
Coach Ballantyne has built a great program and brought great success to the Golden Hawks throughout his 13 years leading the team.
With eyes aimed at a three-peat, coach Ballantyne added to the talent that the Golden Hawks have had throughout their recent baseball teams and put forth a great 2020 recruiting class in anticipation for the next season.
“We were pretty excited about this class. We weren’t going to lose a lot from our 2019 team, and we focused in on top-end guys,” Coach Ballantyne said.
With many of the student-athletes returning from their championship winning team last season, Coach Ballantyne explained that he was focused on a smaller class, involving top quality players around North America.
Some of the highlight pieces of the incoming recruiting class, that will join the Golden Hawks when they return to action include, LHP, Nick Fraser, outfielder, Ryan Freemantle and LHP, Mike Mommersteeg.
Ryan Freemantle and Mike Mommersteeg both have experience playing for schools in the U.S., while Freemantle has also spent his most recent seasons as a member of the Guelph Gryphons baseball team. As a member of the Gryphons, Freemantle was a reliable outfielder and a productive hitter in the OUA.
Ballantyne is also high on Mommersteeg as he most recently spent time with Valparaiso University, a division one school in the United States. Ballantyne explained how important the experience is for the team.
“Mommersteeg has spent four years at a division one school and pitched against the #1 ranked team in the NCAA, Louisville last spring before the COVID shutdown,” Coach Ballantyne said.
The experienced pitcher transferred to Laurier to complete his graduate studies but deferred his academic year to next season so he can compete for the Golden Hawks baseball team.
Nick Fraser is also an exciting add for Laurier, as he was ranked the ninth best prospect in Canada by Perfect Game, the top scouting service in North America. Fraser has spent his last four seasons with the Ontario Blue Jays before suffering a torn labrum.
Although dealing with some shoulder injuries the past few seasons, Ballantyne calls Fraser a “division one pitcher” that Laurier is lucky to have due to the conditions surrounding the pandemic.
Nick Fraser has also had the time to recover and heal given the cancellation this season and Ballantyne is excited to see the young pitcher on the mound for the Golden Hawks.
Coach Ballantyne continues to praise the baseball talent across the OUA while also doing a great job himself in fielding one of the most successful Golden Hawk teams across all sports, over the past few years.