Photo by: L. Burnside
Reposted from: Charlatan Sports
Sixteen games, 32 days and for the Carleton Ravens baseball team, their season ends with one question: What if it hadn’t rained?
What if the sky hadn’t opened up onto the Ajax Sportsplex on Friday and Saturday? What if the field didn’t need work? What if Sunday’s game wasn’t delayed by two hours and condensed into seven innings? What if the Ravens had just two extra frames?
It may have meant a different outcome for the team, who lost 6-5 to the McMaster Marauders in the semifinals of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship on Sunday in Ajax, Ont.
Down 6-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Ravens clawed their way back to within one run by the end of the seventh inning. In normal circumstances, they would’ve had two more innings to complete the comeback.
“One hundred per cent, I think it made a difference,” said catcher Quinton McRae, who drove in the first two runs of the game for Carleton. “Those extra couple innings would’ve [been] a lot of help.”
But the hypothetical of what might have been is not a mindset head coach Daylon Courchene is willing to get stuck on.
“If we had a couple extra innings, who knows what happens,” Courchene said. “At the end of the day, that’s what cards you were dealt and you gotta live with it … We were all dealt the same deck and we just didn’t capitalize when we could.”
More than just the shortened game, what ultimately cost the Ravens was sloppy defense. McMaster scored its first run thanks to an error and wild pitch and plated another run in the fourth inning on a passed ball and error by the pitcher.
That, combined with two more runs in the fourth and the Marauders’ two-run fifth inning, put Carleton in a deep hole.
“Early on, we had a little bit of nerves,” Courchene said. “[It’s a] young team [and the] first time going to the OUA championship for a lot of these guys … It took a couple innings to get our feet wet.”
The first sign of life for the Ravens came off the bat of McRae, whose two-run, two-out double put Carleton on the board in the fifth inning. McRae said the team had been down before—as they were against uOttawa in the OUA qualifiers, when Carleton won on a walk-off—but the double gave them an emotional boost.
“It elevated our energy,” McRae said. “As a team, I don’t think we ever really panicked much. We always ended up back in a game if we didn’t start out strong. I think we knew we had it in us.”
The Ravens would score three more runs in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly, an Andrew Sahadeo double and a Damon Gregoris single. But down 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh, McMaster’s Joshua Kalmin struck out the first two batters and got the third to fly out to centre field.
With that, the ballgame and season were over.
As disappointing as the game may have been for the Ravens, Courchene said he is optimistic about what’s to come. The team is young, with only eight returning players on the 29-man roster this season, and Courchene said he believes the team will only improve from here.
“This is just a building block for this team,” Courchene said. “Now they know what it takes and now they’re gonna want to go and get that gold medal.”