Laurier takes home silver in OUA championship

File Photo / Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

It takes but a single glance to see that the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s varsity baseball season was a success, but their second place finish does not tell the whole story. 

Early in the season the Golden Hawks suffered a six game losing streak, with their worst defeat, a 17-5 loss, coming at the hands of their non-conference opponents, McGill. 

Despite their early season struggles, the team never panicked.  

 “We were looking for that one win that would get everyone to relax. We were a little bit nervous to start the season, coming off the season we had [in 2016], but everyone was loose for the most part,” Kyle Symington, second-year pitcher – who was also named Laurier’s male athlete of the week on Oct. 9 – said. 

Soon enough the team’s patience and perseverance paid off, and a roster with 19 rookies began to look like the contenders from last year, ripping off an impressive six wins in a row early in the regular season. 

With so much turnover from last year’s roster, a 12-4 conference record and a close loss in the championship game would have been difficult to predict.

When asked about the shift in momentum, Symington had this to say: “Depth and lots of it. There was no shortage of guys able to step in, and they delivered when it mattered, we really put that on display this year.” 

“We had different starting lineups every time we stepped out [onto the field].” 

Changes in the starting lineup did nothing to slow the Golden Hawks momentum, and before the season was out they reeled off a second six game win streak, capping it off with a 10-1 drubbing of perennial powerhouse Western on their own field. 

Come playoffs, the early season struggles were long forgotten, and a team with a young roster and an ever-changing lineup put together two impressive playoff wins, knocking both McMaster and Queens out of the championship hunt.  

So, on Sunday October 15, the Golden Hawks arrived at PanAm park in Ajax, hungry and determined, but the University of Toronto Varsity Blues got the better of them in the championship match, winning 8-3.  

When asked what it will take next year to win the final game, Symington said, “One clutch play. One clutch at bat, one clutch inning on the mound.” 

“That’s what we missed out on in the final game, and that’s something that comes with experience, no doubt that’ll be there next year.” 

With so much turnover from last year’s roster, a 12-4 conference record and a close loss in the championship game would have been difficult to predict. 

But now, Laurier’s young team has proven to the OUA and to themselves that they belong in the playoffs, and that they have the skill to succeed there. 

With one exceptional season already under their belt, expect this team to be contending for the title come 2018. 

And when they do arrive in the championship game, after having faced another season’s worth of ups and downs, there is no reason to think that Laurier won’t be able to muster what it will take to win.   

Likely all they will need is one clutch play. 

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