TORONTO - Sunday May
4th marked the second annual OUA Baseball All-Star Showcase held at
the Rogers Centre in Toronto. The game featured the three-time OUA Champion
Western Mustangs against a team of OUA All-Stars. Western, despite committing 5 errors in game,
battled back from a 4-0 deficit to earn a hard fought 7-5 victory.
well represented in this game with 6 players participating. Scott Mahn (2B) and Andrew Stevens (RF)
started for the All-Stars and Gary Money (C), Curtis Young (1B) and Damien Eccleton
(SS) all entered the game as substitutes in the 6th inning. Brad Binns (RHP) also worked in the game for
the All-Stars. Chris Pittaway (3B) was
selected to participate in this game however Pittaway recently underwent
surgery on his left arm and was unable to participate. Pittaway is expected to be ready to return to
full action come September. The All-Stars were coached by Laurier head coach
and 2007 OUA Baseball Coach of the Year, SCOTT BALLANTYNE. Ballantyne brought along his entire coaching
staff for the event.
Thanks to a
number of walks and Western errors, the All-Stars build a 4-0 lead through
three innings of play. The defensive
play of the game came courtesy of Laurier second baseman Scott Mahn, which was
only fitting given that it was Aaron Hill Bobblehead Day at the Blue Jays game
prior to the All-Star game. Mahn ranged
far to his left and sprawled out to make a fantastic play only to get up to
this feet and throw a strike to first base to retire the Western hitter. It was definitely an All-Star type play.
on the mound in the top of the 6th, Western’s bats came alive. In his second inning of work, Binns ran out
of gas and allowed a couple of runs to score before being relieved by Geoff
of Waterloo). Moroz was unable to stop the bleeding as
Western punched across 6 runs in the inning, highlighted by a 2 run double by
Western right fielder Andrew Salmon.
Western tacked on another run in the top of the 9th to take a
7-4 lead into the bottom of the inning.
The All-Stars worked three consecutive walks to lead off the bottom of
the ninth to make the game interesting.
Western then brought in shortstop Mark DiGuilio to pitch as they had
exhausted their 9 man bullpen. DiGuilio
struck out the first batter he faced, Nick Swerdlyk (University
of Guelph) and then forced an
inning-ending double play off the bat of Joe Kirby (Brock University)
to end the ball game.
was named MVP for his great performance to lock down the save. He was also 1 for 3 at the plate.
It is still
very early in the summer seasons for the players and the rust was showing during the game. The
Laurier hitters went a combined 1 for 8 on the day with Gary Money picking up
the lone Laurier hit.
was a huge success and the players all really enjoyed themselves. This event is student-athlete focused and our
aim was to provide a venue to showcase the best players that our league has to
offer” commented Laurier Head Coach and Chairman of the Organizing Committee,
SCOTT BALLANTYNE. “It’s exciting to get
a chance to play in a Major League park and we all soaked up the experience”.
Laurier finished 2007 in a tie for third place in the OUA with a record of 9-9. Laurier was bounced from the playoffs by Western 2 games to 1 in the semi-final series. The Hawks returns 8 of the 9 starting position players from 2007 (5 of which played in the All-Star game) and should pose a threat in 2008. The coaching staff is actively working on adding some talented young student-athletes to the already strong group of players and hope to be able to announce the 2008 recruiting class very soon.