WATERLOO, Ont.- The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks head into the post-season this weekend, facing off against the McMaster Marauders in the OUA semifinals.
McMaster, the reigning OUA champions, finished the regular season in second place going 12-6, while Laurier finished in third place with ten wins and eight losses. The Golden Hawks swept the season series three games to none against the Marauders this year; however each game was decided by a single run.
“I expect this to be a really competitive and closely contested series,” commented head coach SCOTT BALLANTYNE. “We match up pretty well with Mac, and we are excited to play the defending champions in the first round.”
Coach Ballantyne was the starting pitcher for the Hawks the last time these two teams battled it out in the playoffs. Laurier faced Mac back in 2000, before Laurier baseball was recognized as an OUA sport, and ended up losing the series two games to one.
Under the leadership of their experienced coach, the Hawks look to turn things around this year having advanced to the post season four of the last five years. The team will rely on veteran players such as Scott Mahn, Chris Pittaway, Pat Kropf, Jeffrey Brunsek, and Brian MacDonald for additional leadership and precedent in defeating the Marauders.
“We have a lot of veteran players who will now be playing in their fourth OUA post-season,” said Ballantyne. “We hope to draw on this experience and use it to our advantage.”
Fifth year captains Scott Mahn and Chris Pittaway lead the team as three and two-time OUA all-stars respectively. Centre fielder Elliott Shrive leads the offence with 11 stolen bases, 17 hits, and 9 RBIs- leading the team in each category.
On the mound, right handed pitcher Andrew Greenberg is Laurier’s nominee for OUA Rookie of the Year, while relief pitcher Joshua Robinson had a great season throwing out of the bullpen, and currently holds the lowest ERA in the OUA.
Other key players include former OUA and Laurier Rookie of the Year, third base man Ryan Panas who started off slow this season but continues to prove himself both on the field and at bat.
Taking a look at the Marauder’s roster, Devin Connelly stands as Mac’s leader on the field. Matt Piccini has been the team’s most consistent pitcher this year, while brother Chris Piccini remains the 2008 OUA Hitter of the Year. Honourable mention goes to first base man John McGregor who led the OUA in RBIs this season.
The Hawks travel to Hamilton Friday for game one of the series, but are hosting game two at Bechtel Park Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm. If necessary, game three will take place Sunday afternoon back at McMaster. Come out and support the Hawks as they compete in the post-season!