C/O Seyran Mammadov and McMaster sports Instagram
The baseball team finds big success in 2021, bringing back several awards.
As Canadian university sports teams returned from more than a full year off from their sports, many found themselves brushing off the rust that came from no in person practices and light workouts. The Marauders baseball team was not one of them.
After a near elimination earlier in October, the team surged all the way to the Ontario University Athletics finals against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, falling six to two while earning themselves a silver medal. To complement their successful season, outfielder Nik Motruck also won his second consecutive most valuable player award and pitcher Josh Kalmin took home the rookie of the year award.
As if a provincial silver medal wasn’t exciting enough, Josh Kalmin had an amazing week upon hearing that he had officially been declared the rookie of the year award winner, catching him by surprise.
“I was in Costco getting a mattress for my apartment when I saw that I was mentioned on Twitter. When I first saw it, it was exciting. [It’s] obviously really nice to be recognized by your peers for an award like that . . . Although it’s an individual award, the culture that McMaster baseball set up for me coming in was really the driving force. This team gives 110 per cent every single day,” explained Kalmin.
Although Kalmin had a great season himself, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the team, who finished with a record of three wins and two losses and came one game away from elimination in the qualifying round — but they never let go of their hope. Kalmin spoke to the fight in the team, praising his teammates for never letting go.
“I think that the season had a lot of ups and downs and there were a lot of opportunities for us to quit or give up, but this team really persevered and we came together as a group,” said Kalmin.
Kalmin stressed how proud he was of the team and the silver medal that they brought home, but remains hungry for more after getting ever so close to the gold.
“I’m proud of the team and the year we had, with us overcoming everything that we overcame, especially with what happened in the regional. I’m proud of the accomplishment we had, but I want to come back next year and finish the job [and] win it all,” explained Kalmin.
The team overcame a lot to get to where they were. Going into the regional, not only were they on the brink of elimination after losing the first two games on Saturday Oct. 10, but they were also still in shock over an injury to two of their teammates.
During their second game on Oct. 10, Mark Zanette and Nicholas Velocci struck one another in a scary collision and ended up leaving the field in an ambulance. Not only were the two players unable to contribute to the team going forward, but it left their teammates extremely emotional and distressed. Fortunately, this event turned into motivation for the squad, who needed to win both Sunday games to avoid elimination.
“Saturday was a shock to us. Seeing what happened was hard, I had tears in my eyes. A lot of the guys had tears in their eyes . . . Going into Sunday, our choice was either [to] be done, or [to] come back, win two games and continue the season. Going back on that bus Sunday morning, we knew we were going to win. No one on our team ever said anything [possibly losing]. We were going to do it for Nick and for Mark,” said Kalmin.
The team came through on their promise, qualifying for the playoffs and finishing their season with a silver medal, their second highest ranking since winning the gold in 2008.