The Varsity Blues men’s baseball team finished in third place at the 2015 OUA championship in London, Ontario. The Blues took on the host team, the Western Mustangs in semi-final action, losing 13-1. The team were underdogs this season, but still managed to build momentum by beating teams like the eventual OUA champs Western earlier in the season, and by winning three home games in a row. The Varsity talked to the Blues’ pitcher, Peter Nash, about the season and the next steps for the Blues’ baseball program.
The Varsity: Looking back on the season, are you happy with the success of the team, and what was the overall reaction to capturing the bronze medal at OUA’s?
Peter Nash: The goal was to make the playoffs, taking things one-step at a time. As you can tell, once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen. We gave Brock their first loss since game two of the regular season, and we were not the favourites in the matchup to say the least. Our team was glad to get within a game’s reach of the finals. We had a very young team in comparison to past years with only four players on the roster having playoff experience. This means that we have a lot of players getting their first taste early in their careers, and hopefully helps them mature to make a stronger push next year.
TV: In your opinion, what would be the team’s best three games this season? Why do you think so?
Peter Nash: The best game would definitely be the 1-0 game against Ryerson near the end of the season. Colin Edwards threw a great game giving up two hits in the shutout. Most importantly, that gave the pitchers a traditional batting practice session to celebrate. Pitchers are normally excluded from getting to hit in batting practice sessions to spend more time offering hitters reps while the pitchers make up the majority of the shaggers in the field. It was great to get at least that one chance to have the pitchers take some swings.
TV: What has your experience been like playing for the Varsity Blues?
Peter Nash: The experience is highlighted by the team bonding that we all get to share. Competing together each day brings people together under a common goal, and naturally most players are very compatible with each other. It’s natural to make some of your closest friends on varsity teams. So I enjoy going to the diamond to see my teammates each and every time. They make bus rides something to look forward to, time on the bench more fun than being on the field, and time on the field something you wish will never end.
TV: What do you think the team needs to improve upon in future seasons? What did the team do particularly well this season?
Peter Nash: On the offensive side, we need to manufacture runs more safely. There were occasions where aggression on the bases cost us some base runners and made at bats difficult against good pitchers. On the defensive side, I think we need to develop a better pitching psychology. Too often our pitchers were too worried about being perfect and not getting hit that we did not have good approaches. Improving psychology and getting guys more comfortable on the mound will improve where the ball crosses the plate. Our catchers did a strong job throwing out runners, and the young guys did a good job adjusting to the OUA level of baseball quickly. Hopefully we continue to improve.