Hey, at least they beat Laurier twice

For a team that had playoff aspirations, the Waterloo Warriors could have been satisfied with making it to the OUA postseason. They didn’t play like that. Despite having tough playoff matchups, the Warriors made it to the OUA finals and finished second to the near-undefeated Brock Badgers.

The OUA baseball championships ran Oct. 17–19 at Bernie Arbour Stadium in Hamilton and Nelson Park in Burlington. The top five regular season teams and the hosts get to attend the championships, with the top two teams getting first round byes. Brock, with their incredible 17–1 record, and Laurier, who finished the season 14–4, each skipped a game. The double-elimination tournament featured first round matchups made up of the next four teams: Waterloo vs. McMaster and Western vs. Guelph.

The Warriors had little trouble with the bottom-ranked 1–17 McMaster Marauders, at the championships simply for hosting it. The Warriors shelled Mac 14–2 for an easy win.

They next faced their crosstown rival Laurier Golden Hawks: defending champions, and the second-best regular season team. The teams split their season series evenly, their coaches work together, and their playing philosophies — Laurier’s defence and Waterloo’s offence — mirrored one another. Waterloo took the game 6–3.

Waterloo was next matched up against Brock, who beat an experienced Guelph Gryphons team en route to the third round. They fell 6–1 to the Badgers, threatening elimination with a second loss and setting them for a rematch against Laurier, who had stayed in the competition by defeating Guelph 8–4.

The Warriors showed why their pitching had been a pleasant surprise this season by blanking Laurier 3–0, knocking the 2013 champions out of the competition and moving on to the final matchup.

To win the championship, the Warriors would have had to defeat Brock twice in a row as the Badgers were as of yet undefeated at the tournament and the Warriors had already taken a loss. Waterloo was playing without head coach Tim Pegg and OUA first team all-star third baseman Michael Clouthier after they were ejected in the game against Laurier.

The game started out rough, with Brock hitting consistently off of Warrior starter Brandon Semus to plate a run in the top of the first. In the third inning, Brock blew the game wide open off a Phil Steer blooper into the shallow outfield with the bases loaded and a pair of errors, and Semus left the game down 8–0. The Warriors threatened lefty Brock starter Johnny Hutton by loading the bases with no outs in the sixth, but weren’t able to capitalize after Brock turned one of their four double plays on the day. After that point, the Warriors offence was shut down by Brock’s bullpen.

The Warriors lost that final game 8–0, but left the tournament second-best in the OUA, an impressive mark for a team that had to face the league’s top clubs multiple times in the playoffs. The Warriors went on to contest at the OCAA/OUA championship between the best college and university teams in Ontario, but were unable to capitalize as the St. Clair College Saints took the championship over Brock.