Photo by: Laura Burnside
Reposted from: Charlatan Sports, Mark Colley (Oct.13.2021)
OTTAWA (Oct.13.2021) –
The Carleton Ravens baseball team is headed to the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships after winning three straight games in the qualifiers at Heritage Park last weekend.
On Saturday, the Ravens beat the uOttawa Gee-Gees 5-4 and the Queen’s University Gaels 10-1 which moved them past the round-robin stage and into the qualifier finals. On Sunday, Carleton beat Queen’s again 7-1 to punch their ticket to the championship.
The championship, made up of the victor from each of four regional qualifiers, will be hosted at the University of Toronto this weekend.
“We’re really hitting our stride right now,” head coach Daylon Courchene said. “We’re playing really good baseball defensively, our pitching has been lights-out and we’re hitting really well.”
The Ravens finished the regular season 8-4, second in the OUA and first in runs scored. Heading into the qualifiers, Courchene said the message he told the team was to stay calm.
“No matter what happened this weekend, in any situation, it was, ‘No panic,’” Courchene said. “It was, go about our business, know what we’re doing and don’t overthink any situation.”
That philosophy was put to the test immediately in the first game of the qualifiers against uOttawa. Although the Gee-Gees went 0-8 in the regular season and were the only team in the OUA to finish without a win, they led 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday.
For Carleton, it wasn’t a do-or-die game—if they had lost, they still would’ve had a path to the championship—but a win made it easier to advance.
Standing in-between uOttawa and their first win of the year was Ravens infielder Eric Blamauer, a rookie and a large part of Carleton’s success in 2021. Blamauer finished second in the league in runs batted in (RBI), leading the way on a 29-man roster with only eight returning players.
With his back against the wall, Blamauer didn’t disappoint. He hammered a single into right field, driving in two runs and delivering Carleton a 5-4 win.
“He has that clutch gene and that’s not the first time he’s done that for us,” Courchene said. “We knew he was going to go up to the plate and get that base hit for us … [He’s] a really key part to our team.”
Blamauer finished the weekend four-for-12 with six RBI and three walks.
The story was far different in Carleton’s second game on Saturday. The Ravens’ momentum from game one carried over and they demolished Queen’s 10-1, relying on a three-for-four day from Jonah Poirier and seven innings of one-run ball from Nathan Van Putten.
Then came the qualifier finals, a rematch against the Gaels. Again, Carleton’s momentum won out in a 7-1 victory that ensured they would play in Toronto.
Starter Jayson Moss-McEachern dazzled on the mound, pitching a complete game and giving up only one run.
“Unreal,” Courchene said. “He’s been our top dog, ready to go, and he proved it again on Sunday … He’s a leader on the team for a reason.”
Courchene also credited leadoff hitter Andrew Sahadeo, who went four-for-15 and scored five runs, and Poirier, who tallied five hits, for Carleton’s success.
In the championships, the Ravens will face the McMaster University Marauders while the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and Western University Mustangs will also play each other.
Carleton could end up facing Toronto in the finals. The Varsity Blues were the only team to finish above Carleton in the standings and haven’t lost a single game this season. On average, Toronto is winning by 7.5 runs per game.
Despite the potential steep opposition, Courchene said the team is living by the same message that got them through the qualifiers: No panic.
“Any team that we face this weekend coming up, I feel confident that we can get two wins,” Courchene said. “[We’re] looking for a gold medal.”