AJAX, Ont. (Sunday, October 15 2017) – After three days of spirited competition on the diamonds, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues are crowned champions, as they defeated the Laurier Golden Hawks 8-3 in the gold medal game.
A five-year championship drought came to an end on Sunday, as the Toronto Varsity Blues defeated the Laurier Golden Hawks 8-3 to win the OUA baseball championship. A relentless Toronto offence, that led the OUA in runs, took advantage of a tired Laurier pitching staff and a strong pitching performance from Peter Nash handily defeated the Laurier lineup.
Toronto got to Laurier starter Austin Hassani
two batters into the game, as Michael Deluca drove in the lead off triple by Gabriel Nakonechny. In the second, Deluca would single home two more runs in the three run inning. That hit would end Hassani’s afternoon on the mound.
Golden Hawks relievers Nick Murray and Christian Pandoff
would surrender one run over two innings, on the single by Toronto second baseman, Marco Bandiera.
Laurier would get on the board in the bottom of the third on a deep double to centre field by number three hitter Jeff Hunt
. It would score two and after three innings Laurier would trail 5-2.
A key point in this game came in the bottom of the fourth. With no one out, a runner at first and Nick Cook at the plate, Nash and Tanner Young-Schultz combined to catch Kai Harris
trying to steal second followed one pitch later with a strikeout of Cook. An inning beginning with what looked to be a rally, became an easy 1-2-3 inning for Nash.
In the following half inning, the Toronto Varsity Blues would put this game out of reach. Laurier would use the quarter-final and semifinal winners, as Kyle Symington
, and Christian Hauck
, to get through the inning. But with two runners in scoring position and two out, clean up hitter Bradley Bedford singled through the right side scoring both base runners and make it 7-2 Toronto.
Symington, who pitched for the majority of the day at three innings, recorded four hits, two runs, and four strikeouts on the day.
As for Nash, he would go six innings surrendering two runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Top OUA pitcher in most categories, Graham Tebbit, came in to close things down for the championship. He would go three innings surrendering one run. This came two days after pitching Toronto to their quarter-final win, with eight almost unhittable innings against the Guelph Gryphons.
In the seventh, Roy Suzuki added a run for Toronto with his speed. On what would be the best display of good base running in the tournament, Suzuki scored all the way from second on an infield single by Nakonechny. That play was a perfect example of how fundamentally sound the Varsity Blues players play the game.
Sunday’s win marks the Toronto Varsity Blues fifth OUA baseball championship. With that win, they move ahead of the Brock Badgers for second all time and only behind the Western Mustangs. For Laurier, Sunday's second place finish marks the Hawks best result since
Source: Sean Addis