Baseball team falters
The baseball season for the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks is officially over.
Hosting the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) playoffs, Laurier was unable to capitalize on the opportunity to win a championship in front of a home crowd on a chilly Saturday at Bechtel Park.
The first of three games the Hawks played came against the Brock Badgers and was a carry-over from the previous weekend, which saw the game suspended due to heavy rain.
The game picked up in the fifth inning with Laurier up 4-1 and eventually winning in convincing fashion by a score of 14-4, highlighted by a six-run seventh inning for the Hawks.
However, the most interesting aspect of the victory over Brock was coach Scott Ballantyne’s decision to start staff ace Brett Van Pelt for the final four innings, despite already having a three-run lead and knowing that the next two games were must wins.
“Van Pelt has been our best guy,” said Ballantyne after the Hawks were eliminated. “And Brock is, in my opinion, the best hitting team in the league,” continued the coach, defending his decision. “It was a close game and we wanted our best guy in there to finish it off.”
The second game saw another solid pitching performance from first year Jordan Patruska, a rookie who has proven to be a solid starter. Patruska went nine innings while only allowing two earned runs. However, Laurier was unable to find its bats and, as a result, lost in extra innings to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues by a score of 3-2.
McKenzie Maxwell took the loss for the Hawks as he made a relief appearance in the tenth and was unable to keep the Varsity Blues’ bats silent, giving up a run on two walks as well as a couple of hits.
Toronto’s star performance came from veteran starter Tyler Wilson, who pitched all 10 innings while allowing just two runs to the Hawks.
After the loss to Toronto, Laurier was forced to play a must-win game against the Western Mustangs in order to advance in the tournament — a task that seemed tough to Ballantyne.
“It was one of those things where the afternoon loss took the life out of us a real good ballgame went ten innings and when you lose that, it’s tough to overcome.”
With Van Pelt unable to pitch due to his start earlier in the day, Laurier went with veteran starter Jack Malone against the Mustangs.
Malone struggled to find outs, and ended up surrendering seven earned runs off nine hits in five innings of work.
Laurier lost the game by a final score of 11-2, as Western continued to be aggressive on the bases throughout the entire game despite being up big for most of the evening.
Next season, the team will look very different as many veterans will be graduating. Team captain David Canavan is in his fifth year and all-star third basemen Ryan Panas is in his fourth year of university. Starter Jack Malone is also set to graduate.
The Varsity Blues would go on to win the championship on Sunday at Becthel Park as they defeated Western 8-4.
The Blues missed the chance to play at the national university championships, as the rain-delay that forced the tournament to continue into last weekend was held simultaneously with the Canadian championship.
No OUA team was represented at the tournament.