PREVIEW: Laurier men’s baseball

File photo by Heather Davidson

File photo by Heather Davidson

If there could be one word that describes the Wilfrid Laurier University men’s baseball team over the last three years, it would be “sustainable.”

After capturing the program’s first Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship in program history in the fall of 2013, the team came third in their repeat bid losing to the Waterloo Warriors. During those two runs the squad held onto crucial pieces of their core, including lights-out pitchers Brett Van Pelt and Jordan Petruska.

Known for their stellar pitching and shut-down defence, head coach Scott Ballantyne focuses on these fundamentals to build a team capable of making a championship run over and over again.

This year, with the departure of Brett Van Pelt, Ballantyne still holds a wealth of quality arms in the Hawks bullpen capable of stepping in to fill the gap, including a few new pitching recruits over the summer to restock. Van Pelt is the only core player leaving, with the majority of pitchers getting a year older and the bats staying the same, led by outfielder Jonathan Brouse.

Even with the nature of the OUA, which only allows athletes five years of eligibility before they must move on from university sport, Ballantyne focuses on strong recruiting practices and developing players in order to build a team capable of making a championship run year after year.

The Hawks begins their regular season when they host the Queen’s Gaels on Sept. 12. The first pitch is at 7 p.m., at Bechtel Park.

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