LONDON - After handily defeating the Western Mustangs in Game Two of the OUA Baseball Semi-Final series on Saturday, the Golden Hawks travelled to Labatt Park in London on Sunday in a one game, winner-take-all show down for a berth in the OUA Championship against the Brock Badgers. Brock had already earned the right to play in the Championship series by virtue of its two games to zero series sweep of the McMaster Marauders.
The Laurier-Western series was the tale of two games going into Game Three, as Western dominated Game One behind the solid pitching of veteran hurler Sean Grimes only to see the Golden Hawk bats come alive in Game Two and pound out 13 runs in a 13-6 victory. The win in Game Two marked the first playoff win for the Golden Hawk Baseball program since Baseball became an OUA sport back in 2001. The Hawks won a playoff game back in 2000 when current coaches SCOTT BALLANTYNE, Kevin Albrecht, Bob Elliott and Ryan Davison were all members of the team.
In a one game playoff to determine a series winner anything can happen and that’s the mindset that the Hawks had going into Sunday’s action. They had the momentum following the lopsided win on Saturday and were hoping to ride that into Sunday. The Hawks sent freshman starter David Canavan to the hill with the hopes of clinching a spot in the finals. Canavan had started twice against Western during the regular season and was one of only 2 pitchers to beat the Mustangs in the regular season, with Jake Gallo (the 2006 OUA Pitcher of the Year from Toronto) being the other. Western countered with lefthanded starter Jordan Townsend. The two pitchers matched each other pitch for pitch through 3 innings. Both teams had chances to score and the Laurier defence was less than stellar in support of Canavan, but he was able to work out of a couple jams early in the game. Western opened the scoring in the bottom of the 4th inning when they scored 2 runs to take a 2-0 lead. Western aggressively pushed across 2 more runs in the 5th inning when their head coach, Mike Lumley returned to the field mid-game from his stint with a Canadian National team. Western tacked on another run in the 7th off Laurier reliever Adam Scheerer and the 5 runs were more than enough for Townsend. The lefty kept the Hawks off balance all afternoon and allowed only 2 hits over 7 innings of work. It was not the Hawks day on Sunday, as Western escaped the series with a 5-0 win and a 2 games to 1 series victory. This series marked the first time in over 3 years that an OUA Baseball playoff series went the entire 3 games. Canavan was solid for the Hawks allowing 4 runs, only 1 earned over 6 innings. RF Andrew Stevens collected both hits for the Hawks to give him 6 hits in the series to lead the club.
It was a disappointing ending to a great series and a great season for the Hawks. The players and coaches have a lot to be proud of. Heading in the final series with Brock, Western has 3 losses on the season, and 2 are at the hands of the Laurier team.
The players and coaches would like to thank the family and friends that made the trip to London to the support the team on Sunday.
Stay tuned for a complete season recap to be posted soon summarizing the successful 2007 season for the Baseball Hawks.