Men’s baseball slides into first place OUA standings

Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks won their ninth straight game last weekend, sweeping the Queen’s Gaels and Toronto Varsity Blues. The wins improved their overall record to 9-1 and captured first place in the Ontario University Athletics conference. Laurier defeated the Gaels 4-1 and 2-0 respectively and then came home on Sunday and defeated Toronto 4-3 and 12-2.

Head coach Scott Ballantyne said that the goal for the team is to just keep getting better.

“We feel like the goal is to get better and better every weekend and I think that this weekend was the best weekend we’ve had so far,” Ballantyne said. “We pitched really well all four games this weekend and we played well defensively.”

“It was a good all-around effort for us today to win the real close one in the first game and then come out real fast in the second game to take the lead, so we’re feeling good about ourselves, but there’s a lot of work still to be done.”

The two squads kept it close on Sunday, with the Varsity Blues taking a quick 2-0 lead after the second inning. Second baseman Jeff Hunt hit his first homerun of the day in the third inning to cut the lead in half after three and then he drove in another run alongside infielder Jonathan Brouse to take their first lead of the day.

The Varsity Blues battled back, tying the game up at three, but Brouse drove in another of his two runners batted in (RBI) to take a 4-3 lead. The Hawks held the lead, taking the first win of the day. Starting pitcher AJ Padmore pitched six innings, with five hits, two runs, two of them earned and two walks on the day.

The offence exploded in the second game, with runs from Brouse, Hunt and Dallas Taylor combining for nine of the Hawks’ 12 runs, including RBI’s and seven hits.

The top of the order came through, batting the Varsity Blues into mercy after six innings, when Hunt hit another homerun over the right field fence, bringing in Trent Rozsa and making it 12-2 for the Hawks.

Starting pitcher Jake Tougas picked up his third win of the season, pitching five innings for two hits, one earned run, two walks and five strikeouts. Ballantyne said that the team feels pretty comfortable when Brouse comes up to bat and there are runners in scoring position.

“When you have Brouse coming up with men on base you feel like you’re in a pretty good situation,” Ballantyne said. “He definitely came up clutch for us and bailed us out.”

“And then in the second game we came out, Hunt, Taylor, Brouse, right off the bat, three real hard hit balls and that sets the tone and the other team’s pitcher is going to be a little bit nervous in his shoes after that happened.”

Ballantyne said that the team was swinging the ball really well in the second game, especially since they saw similar Varsity Blues pitchers in the second game that they saw after nine innings in the first game.

Overall, Ballantyne said that he is happy with the way the team swung the bat, as well as the pitching and defence.

“Our pitching has been great and our defence has been solid all weekend, too,” he said.

Next, the Hawks face the Western Mustangs on Wednesday September 28 to make up for a rained out doubleheader. First pitch is at 6 p.m. at Bechtel Park.

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