TORONTO, Ont. – Saturday was a long day for Brian McDonald.
Before suiting up for the OCAA All-Star squad as they took on the OUA All-Stars in their annual matchup at Rogers Centre, the outfielder from Humber College had been on the field for hours. McDonald arrived to the stadium before 8 o’clock in the morning as a member of the grounds crew, working through the Toronto Blue Jays game against the Boston Red Sox.
He helped to get the field ready for the second game of the day before switching uniforms and driving in a run for his team in his two at-bats.
“It’s a little bit weird, but it’s definitely fun,” McDonald said after the 8-4 extra-inning loss to the squad he played for previously. “It’s a little bit different when you’re cleaning it up. You’re working the actual field and the event, but it is still fun.
“The whole time out there I’m thinking don’t spit seeds, I’m thinking don’t dig into the box, I’m thinking don’t take an aggressive lead. I’m thinking all those things.”
The All-Star Game was McDonald’s second, having played on the other side as a representative of Wilfrid Laurier University five years ago, though the game had a different format then and was inclusive of OUA baseball players only.
“I’ve been in school pretty steady for the last five years,” he said. “I did four years of Laurier and then I did a year of teacher’s college, so that’s what I was finishing up at Humber this past year, a couple of prerequisite courses that I needed to finish for teacher’s college.
“After this year with the grounds crew, I’m going to look for teaching jobs in the fall.”
The experience at Rogers Centre wasn’t a first for game standout Adam Odd either, who was named MVP of his squad after driving in three runs in the top of the 11th inning and coming on to pitch the bottom half of the frame to secure the win. Odd’s first chance at playing at the home of the Blue Jays came less than two years ago, when the first-year University of Toronto student participated in the inaugural Tournament 12 showcase.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Odd said. “You come out here and watch the Blue Jays play here when you’re a kid, so to get the chance to come out here and play is a lot of fun … playing here during T12 was definitely an experience. I was a little younger too and that was great.”
The Mississauga native made his first all-star roster after hitting .471/.473/.588 with six doubles, 11 runs scored and 11 runs driven in over 16 games for Toronto. The infielder and pitcher broke a 3-3 deadlock between the two teams with a bases-loaded double, eventually coming around to score.
“Not a lot of guys can be selected to the team in their first year,” he said. “I was lucky enough to have a good season and to be selected, and to get the MVP is not too bad either. I got a nice hit there at the end … I’m a pretty aggressive hitter so I was just looking for a first-pitch fastball, got it, and turned on it.”
Shortstop Paul Lytwynec of Fanshawe College was named the OCAA’s player of the game, and Kyle Breitner of St. Clair College impressed on the mound, throwing 4 2/3 innings of relief out of a bullpen that was out of arms.
“Facing these guys there are definitely some standouts,” McDonald said. “Breitner is a good pitcher and definitely Lytwynec, the shortstop who got player of the game. He’s definitely a good player. And also a guy who I played all year with at Humber, Sean Mattson is pretty good too.”
Andrew Ziedens of Laurier got the win with three scoreless innings of relief for the OUA squad, striking out three. Waterloo’s Michael Clouthier went 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, a run and an RBI in his three plate appearances.
“It was definitely a good game,” McDonald said. “It would have been nice to get a couple more at-bats, but I was able to get us an RBI and contribute a little bit so that was fun. It was definitely nice to get together with all these guys that you play against all year long. It’s a lot of fun.”
Teams 123 456 789 10 11 R H E
OUA All-Stars 101 010 000 05 — 8 13 1
OCAA All-Stars 000 110 100 01 — 4 9 1