C/O Magnus Hanson
Having lost key players to graduation, the team will attempt to follow up on their OUA win
The 2021-2022 baseball season was an exciting one for the team. Following more than a year without sports due to the pandemic, the team returned to play with huge expectations. While reigning Cy Young award winner (given to the best pitcher) Julian Tymochko and reigning most valuable player award winner Nikolas Motruk were returning for their final seasons, the whole team had their eye on the gold.
By the end of the year, the team had picked up a lot of hardware, yet again. Motruk won his second consecutive MVP award, several members of the team were named to the all-star team and pitcher Joshua Kalmin was named rookie of the year. As a team they fell short of their gold medal goal but they still secured a silver in the provincial championship.
Although the team was excited to bring home a silver, they had just gotten a taste of the finals and the gold was within reach. This year, they don’t want to lose the last game of the season. The only difference is they’ll have to do so without several notable players graduating.
Outfielder Motruk and pitchers Tymochko and Ryan Clark are some of the names from what was a rather large graduating class on the baseball team. They were all major contributors on the team and although there are several young players ready to step up, the impact of their absences are not easy to replace.
“It’s true we’ve lost some staple guys that have been a part of the team for five-six years, which does have an impact but it was time for them to leave and the entire roster knows it’s time to step up. We all got a taste of what a championship might be last year and we all want to get back to that spot,” explained outfielder Magnus Hanson.
Last season the team was generally aware of the impending graduates but managed to play on without concern, citing their common goal of winning as their primary focus. This mentality is one the team will likely try to recreate this season as they regroup with some new faces in the everyday lineups.
“Of course, we knew that guys were graduating and leaving but it wasn’t something we’d discussed. We knew those guys wanted to win, we wanted to win, so we just started winning some baseball games. I don’t think it was any drive to try and get these guys a championship before they graduate, it was just they wanted to win, we wanted to win,” said Hanson.
There is still a substantial amount of talent on the team and the guys are confident they can still go a long way with or without their decorated veterans. They just need to focus on themselves and find their way back to the same collective goal as they’ve had in past years.
“The key thing is focusing on the guys we have here. We just have to get our job done . . . There’s definitely unfinished business,” said pitcher Kalmin.
Along with some new recruits, the team will get some major reinforcements come the season’s start. Upper year outfielder Mark Zanette and shortstop Nicholas Velocci will make their long-awaited returns to the field following their collision last season, which forced them to sit out much of the playoff run and several months of training thereafter.
“I think I can speak for everyone when I say we’re excited to see [Zanette] and Velocci back and full strength,” said Hanson.
Both players described the two as big additions to the team, emphasizing the impact they had last season both on the field and with the bats. With a strong mindset and a chip on their shoulders, the team could go a long way but there will be a lot for them to prove with such big shoes to fill.