In what can only be described as a successful weekend, the Varsity Blues baseball team was victorious in two of their games, improving their overall record to 12 wins and five losses.
On Saturday, the team played a double-header against their arch-rivals, the Brock Badgers in St. Catharines, Ontario. Both these games were extremely close, with the Blues winning the first game 3-2. In the second game, the Blues came up on the short end with a 5-3 loss.
The games were extremely entertaining with a boisterous and rowdy crowd creating a very hostile environment for the visiting Blues. This rivalry has grown over the years and many believe that the Blues and the Badgers will meet in the OUA finals this year, which would be a rematch of last year’s championship.
On Sunday, the Blues continued their winning ways with a 2-1 victory over the Laurier Hawks at Ninth Line Sports Park in Mississauga. The visitors opened up the scoring in the top of the second inning after a double by Laurier. That runner was soon sacrificed ahead to third base, and then on a wild pitch by starting pitcher Joseph Callaghan, the player scored giving Laurier a quick 1-0 lead over the Blues. This was the only mistake by Callaghan, who pitched a brilliant game: seven innings pitched, eight strikeouts, and one earned run.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Blues tied the game with some timely hitting. Leadoff hitter Eaton Manes started the rally with a single. Manes then attempted to steal second base, and when the Laurier catcher overthrew the shortstop, he advanced to third. The Blues would not waste this opportunity, as Manes scored on an RBI single by second baseman David Riley.
The Blues would take the lead in the same inning, when Jonathan Benczkowski came through with a single that scored David Riley. This gave them a 2-1 lead, after which they never looked back, as Joseph Callaghan shut down the Laurier bats.
“This was one of our best games of the year. The team came up with some very timely hitting, they played solid defensively, and the pitching was solid,” said head coach Dan Lang.
He also wants the team to show a little more consistency on defense. When asked about his expectations going into the OUA playoffs, coach Lang reiterated that the goal of his team was to repeat as OUA champions.
The coach also praised his team by saying, “this team was better and more talented than the team which won the OUA championship last year,” stating that this team “makes very few mental mistakes, which keep them strong in every game.”
With the quality of play vastly improved in the OUA, the Varsity Blues will have to continue their hard work and strong play to repeat the successes of last year. They’ll start with the OUA playoffs next weekend.
Photograph by Kara Dillon