Hawks aim to go all the way after series of close calls

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Photo by Safina Husein

It has been an impressive last few years for the Laurier Men’s baseball squad. Led by coach Scott Ballantyne who has put together some impressive teams, they have made the OUA championship final three times in the last four years. They have also either finished first or second in the regular season standings the last four years.

It’s not only the team success that has been impressive, especially with last season. Five OUA all-stars, OUA hitter of the year (Ryley Davenport) and Ballantyne being named Coach of the Year for the second time in his eleven years at the helm in 2017 shows how good this team can be.

Third-year catcher Ryley Davenport had company as a first-team OUA all-star with fourth-year shortstop Robert Cant. On the second-team representing Laurier were first-year second baseman Taka Ryan, second-year first baseman Nicholas Cook and second-year pitcher Ryan Symington.

A lot of factors play into teams being able to sustain consistency and success. Stability at the top, good recruiting, and the ability to maintain a winning culture create a mentality that a roster turnover cannot even change.

With much of the roster returning though, the Golden Hawks will be looking to have the same if not more continued success they have had the last few years and a drop-off is not in sight anytime soon.

With a title seeming to be in reach in 2018 again, the key question will be if they can manage to get over the hump for the program’s second OUA title in five years. With plenty of competition, it should be interesting to keep an eye out for the Golden Hawks this upcoming season.

After falling short in the gold medal game the last two years, there will be plenty of motivation going into the 2018 season for that second OUA title with the first one coming in 2014. Nobody takes well to losing two years in a row being that close to the top.

With a culture and success being at the level it has been, recruiting top prospects is usually made easier. People are attracted to success, want to be a part of it and contribute to it.

Ballantyne has done quite the job in adding first baseman Keifer Quick, a Grad student from Notre Dame College, as well as transfer pitcher, Ben Braun who will be transferring from St. Bonaventure University, a Division 1 school in the U.S.

Another key recruit is catcher Carter MacDonald from Simcoe, Ontario, who did not initially have his sights set on staying north of the border for University ball. Being a part of the Ontario Nationals, having played for multiple provincial championship teams and playing with/against college-level players, he has plenty of top notch experience coming in.

Adding players in just about every spot and having the vast majority of the roster returning means depth will not be an issue once again heading into the 2018 season.

With a title seeming to be in reach in 2018 again, the key question will be if they can manage to get over the hump for the program’s second OUA title in five years. With plenty of competition, it should be interesting to keep an eye out for the Golden Hawks this upcoming season.

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