By Dan Haugh
Canadian Baseball Network
The Western University Mustangs didn’t allow a little rain, a snow-covered field, a federal election, or the defending champion Brock Badgers stand in their way capturing the 2015 OUA Championship on Tuesday night at London’s Historic Labatt Park.
In the championship game Owen Boon pitched seven solid innings as Western defeated Brock 9-4 for their first OUA Championship since 2009 and fifth OUA championship in the history of the program. Boon who missed the first half of the 2014 OUA season while suffering from mono spent this past summer as a critical member of the IBL London Majors.
“It definitely helped that I was healthy this year for the whole season.” Boon said. “The big thing was the amount of ball I got to play this summer against the competition of the IBL. That really helped to improve my game.”
Owen Boon also won the first game of the tournament, a 4-3 win over Guelph. .He pitched all nine innings holding the Gryphons to two earned runs and six hits while striking out nine.
The OUA championship took five days to complete before crowning a champion. The tournament started Friday with the Laurier Golden Hawks, Guelph Gryphons, Ryerson Rams, Toronto Blues, host Western Mustangs and the Brock Badgers. The first obstacle was rain, which delayed play several times on opening day.
The second round matchup between Brock and Ryerson was suspended Friday night and completed Saturday, a day that didn’t see temperatures get into double digits.
On Sunday morning the three remaining teams, Brock, Toronto and Western woke up to a winter wonderland that left Labatt Park, snow covered and unplayable. At one point on Sunday morning when it was apparent that the field was unplayable it looked like the championship tournament would continue on Monday, but in order to allow the players from Brock and Toronto an opportunity to vote in the federal election the final three games were moved to Tuesday.
The Mustangs entered the final day of the tournament undefeated with a 2-0 record. In the first game on Tuesday morning the Mustangs were defeated by the defending champion Brock Badgers 10-2. Dylan Perrego got the pitching win. Ricky Ferri led the Badgers offence with three hits while Phil Steer and Jordan Grant had two hits each. For the Mustangs designated hitter Andrew Firth had two hits including a second inning solo home run.
After the Western loss to Brock all three remaining teams had a loss. The Mustangs next played the Toronto Blues and cruised to a 13-1 seven-inning mercy win. Ben Smith held the Blues to one run on three hits while striking out six. The big offensive blow for the Mustangs that secured the margin needed for the mercy win was provided by Hayden Woodley’s sixth inning grand slam. Jeff Martin had two singles and a solo home run. Turner Spears, Cam Graham and Matt Bowden had two hits each.
In the 9-4 championship win over Brock, the Mustangs struck for three runs in the top of the second after Boon got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning. Martin reached base five times in the game with two singles, a solo home run, a walk, and hit by pitch. Andrew Hastings and Cam Graham had two hits each.
Centrefielder Ferri was the hitting star again for Brock with three singles and a double in the final game.
The other Western win was on Friday night over Laurier by a 4-3 score when Adam Paish went nine innings striking out 10 Golden Hawk batters. OUA All star shortstop Nolan Anderson and Andrew Hastings had two hits each. Turner Spears had a solo home run in the first inning. Andrew Firth, Andrew Warner and Matt Bowden had one hit each to help the Mustangs offence.
Mustangs’ Boon was named tournament MVP saying “It’s fantastic, there honestly couldn’t have been a better way to win this,” said Boon. “After four years, winning at home, the MVP is nice, but winning is the best thing ever. I can’t imagine winning it anywhere else with anybody but these guys.”
“Awesome,” said Western head coach Mike Lumley. “It was exciting, it was intense, it was everything that you would want emotionally in a game of this magnitude.”
OUA Major Awards
OUA Top Hitter - Justin Gideon (Pickering, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
OUA Top Pitcher - Andrew Ziedins (Toronto, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Rookie of the Year - Ryley Davenport (Oshawa, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Coach of the Year - Matt Griffin - Guelph Gryphons
OUA First-Team All-Stars
Catcher – Tanner Young-Schultz (Stratford, Ont.) – University of Toronto Varsity Blues
First Base – Rob Byckowski (Milton, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
Second Base - Gabriel Nakonechny (Toronto, Ont.) – University of Toronto Varsity Blues
Shortstop - Nolan Anderson (London, Ont.) – Western Mustangs
Third Base – Michael Clouthier (Guelph, Ont.) – Waterloo Warriors
Outfielder - Justin Gideon (Pickering, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
Outfielder - Bradley Bedford (Burlington, Ont.) – University of Toronto Varsity Blues
Outfielder - Alex Kupchak (Oakville, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Designated Hitter – Matthew Forer (Brampton, Ont.) – Guelph Gryphons
Starting Pitcher – Andrew Ziedins (Toronto, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Relief Pitcher - Denver Carter (Mississauga, Ont.) – Guelph Gryphons
OUA Second-Team All-Stars
Catcher – Ryley Davenport (Oshawa, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
First Base – Jacob Gerovac (Mississauga, Ont.) – Guelph Gryphons
Second Base – John King (Toronto, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Shortstop – Phil Steer (Toronto, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
Third Base – Jordan Grant (Mississauga, Ont.) – Brock Badgers
Outfielder – Jonathan Brouse (Port Perry, Ont.) – Laurier Golden Hawks
Outfielder – Peter Ricciardi (Pickering, Ont.) – Guelph Gryphons
Outfielder – Kyle Balzereit (Brantford, Ont.) – Waterloo Warriors
Designated Hitter – Andrew Firth (London, Ont.) – Western Mustangs
Starting Pitcher – Michael Asta (Toronto, Ont.) – York Lions
Relief Pitcher – Phil Owen (Richmond Hill, Ont.) – Brock Badgers