Golden Hawks sweep Ryerson Rams in double-header

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Last October, the Wilfrid Laurier men’s baseball team claimed their first Ontario University Athletics banner in school history, shocking the top-seeded Brock Badgers. With the 2014 campaign underway, bench boss Ballantyne is focusing on the process to that same end goal.

“We know what it takes to win after being there last year,” he said. “We know that we’re not going to win the championship on September 6 or September 7, it’s going to be late into October.”

“It’s really about trying to gel at the right time and trying to pull it together near the end.”

They started off their season in the right direction, sweeping their doubleheader against the Ryerson Rams Sunday afternoon.

In their first matchup of the regular season after playing 10 preseason games and finishing 4-6, the Hawks defeated the Rams 6-2 and 7-0.

Ballantyne stressed that team chemistry and key performances were the reasons that the Hawks came out on top.

“We had 10 preseason games so it’s not like it’s the first time we’ve been on the field together,” Ballantyne said. “Our strength is our starting pitching and we saw that today with Jordan [Petruska] and Brett [Van Pelt] giving us two great outings. It’s a great start, for sure.”

Pitching was the strength for Laurier, as Petruska worked eight innings and gave up one run on three hits with a single walk and eight strikeouts in the first game. His relief, Zach Lawrence, gave up one unearned run.

In the second game, Van Pelt put on a performance good enough to earn him OUA athlete of the week honours, as he pitched a complete game shutout giving up two hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts.

Van Pelt, a fifth-year pitcher who was instrumental in the OUA championship win last season, believes the Hawks have a strong core group made up of a large group of rookies and only six fourth-year players.

“It was good to get out there and get two wins and get our season going to hopefully capture our ultimate goal again this year,” he said.

“I think if we put everything together, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be back in that championship game.”

Jonathan Brouse, last year’s winner of the Laurier President’s Award for top male athlete, went 1-for-5 with a stolen base in the first game and 1-for-3 with two runs score, two stolen bases and a walk in the second game.

Last season, the Hawks drifted along the .500 margin for the first 10 games before starting to come together. With a season stretching into mid-October, Ballantyne stressed that the focus is fixing the tweaks heading into the end of the season.

“We’re building up to that, not getting too high, not getting too low and making sure we’re playing our best at the end of the year,” he said.

Laurier’s next regular season action is this Saturday when they host the Waterloo Warriors at Bechtel Park. Game times are 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.

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