OSHAWA - This past weekend marked the ‘big’ weekend in Ontario Junior Baseball as the 2008 Jr. Elimination tournament took place in Oshawa. A trip to the Canadian Nationals in P.E.I. was at stake for the winner. Fourteen members of the 2007 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawk baseball team competed in this tournament, spanning nine different teams. The players compete as teammates in the fall during the OUA season and return home to their respective summer teams to compete against one another all summer. The result is an interesting dynamic and something that makes this tournament a fun event for the players.
On Friday night, the Waterloo-East York match-up pitted two members of the Golden Hawk program against one another on the mound. Taking the hill for Waterloo was David Canavan, who faced opposition from fellow Laurier teammate Jack Malone of East York. This game was truly a pitchers’ dual and the two Golden Hawks battled tooth and nail through eight innings (tournament games are only seven innings long). Canavan had his ‘A’ game working for his team as he went eight innings, giving up one run on three hits with 12 strikeouts and five walks. With the game tied at one, Canavan exited from play as he had far surpassed his pitch count (as established by the Waterloo Tigers’ coach, and Laurier head coach, SCOTT BALLANTYNE). Said Coach Ballantyne, “David pitched his heart out for us tonight, but has been battling arm trouble and we couldn’t let him throw anymore. He showed me why he’s the ace of our Golden Hawk pitching staff tonight”.
Not to be outdone, Malone was dealing for East York. Malone, who worked out of the Golden Hawk bullpen in 2007, put a great case together for a spot in the starting rotation in 2008. Malone went 10 innings, giving up two runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. “Jack was on tonight. He has added a change-up to his repertoire and did a great job at keeping our hitters off-balance,” commented Coach Ballantyne. “It was great for our program to see two of our pitchers go toe-to-toe like this. Each guy went out there to out dual his teammate every inning and it was fun to watch”. Waterloo eventually won the game on a perfectly-executed bases-loaded squeeze bunt by Laurier catcher Gary Money in the top of the 10th inning. Laurier outfielder Mike Ruetz, who led off the 10th inning with a single, scored the eventual winning run.
In other tournament action, Brian MacDonald helped his Vaughn Vikings to a first-round victory with a walk-off homerun to beat Tecumseh on Friday evening. MacDonald is a DH/3B with the Hawks and packs a lot of pop in his bat.
The Windsor Selects ended up winning the tournament and will represent Ontario at the Junior Nationals in P.E.I. later this month. Current members of the Hawks who competed in this tournament included:
Waterloo – David Canavan, Gary Money, Curtis Young, Mike Ruetz, Ping Zhang and coach SCOTT BALLANTYNE
East York – Jack Malone
High Park – Damien Eccleton
Brampton – Billy Hutzul
Vaughn – Brian MacDonald
Kitchener – Scott Mahn
Newmarket – Tim Sinyard and Wes Van Luven
Thornhill – Josh Stitt
Guelph – Troy Wiatr
Laurier opens training camp on August 25th and the kicks off the season on September 4th when the Hawks travel to Toronto to take on the Varsity Blues.