By Sean Addis
Ryerson Rams Athletics
A day after the Ryerson Rams swept the No. 1 Western Mustangs, they were handed the same fate by the visiting Laurier Golden Hawks. A late inning comeback in game one by Laurier followed by a blowout in the second game sent the Rams home without a win on the hot Sunday afternoon.
Laurier 6 Ryerson 5
Ryerson would lead for most of game, behind a strong start by Caleb King. But the Golden Hawks would score two in the eighth and three in the ninth to come back to edge the Rams 6-5.
King dominated through the first seven innings, getting ahead of hitters with his fastball and then using his off-speed to retire hitters. In the middle innings King was cruising at one time retiring 10 batters in a row. Through seven innings, Laurier only had five hits and scored their only run in the second on an RBI single by senior Alex Kellerman.
Ryerson would open the scoring in the first on a ground out by Andrew Ciuffreda and add another in the second on the two out single by veteran catcher, Chris Aubin. In the sixth the Rams would knock out Laurier starter, Andre Padmore. Singles by Phil Seguin, Jesse Fisbaum and Aubin would drive in three runs but It could have been more. An outstanding throw home by Kellerman cut off the fourth run for the Rams.
There was other scoring opportunities that Ryerson was unable to capitalize on, leaving six runners on base over the last four innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Rams second baseman, Kyle Conquer, was the second Ram thrown out at home. Laurier centre fielder Daniel Apostoli threw a laser to home to nail Conquer and prevent the Rams from extending the lead.
Opening the eighth, King walked the leadoff hitter Dallas Taylor and gave up a hard hit double to Laurier second baseman, Taka Ryan. A sacrifice fly and back-to-back singles brought the Golden Hawks within two at 5-3. Rookie Matt MacDowell came in with runners on second and third and one out, retired the next two batters, with the help of his defence, to preserve the lead for Ryerson.
Head coach Ben Rich had praise for his veteran starter. “Any pitcher is going to tire in the 8th of any game, let alone in the kind of heat he faced today. King did what he has done all year; give us an outstanding start and a great chance to win the game.”
The Rams' outfield defence was spectacular throughout the game. Centre fielder Jared Armstrong made an over the shoulder diving catch to take away a double and right fielder Jason Te made a diving catch to end the eighth and help preserve the Rams lead at the time.
Ryerson, with a two-run lead, made an interesting pitching change in the top of ninth inning. Head coach Rich decided to go to game two starter Jeremias Sucre, who had been very effective all season.
“We felt he was our best option to shut the door,” said Rich. “He's performed well all year, including in a similar situation last week vs. Queen's.”
However, the talented Golden Hawks kept applying pressure on the Rams. After a lead off infield single, Kellerman worked a full count walk to open the inning. An error in covering a bunt followed by a sacrifice fly allowed Laurier to tie the game. Two batters later, outfielder Brett Medland, beat out an infield single and Laurier had its first lead of the game.
Ryerson would get on runner on in the ninth but would be unable to score and lose a tough one to the Laurier Golden Hawks, 6-5.
Rams veteran, Jared Armstrong, after the game said this was a tough loss “but the key take away from this game and Saturday’s sweep of Western showed this team can compete with any team.”
Rich and the coaching staff took a step back after game one’s tough loss and allowed the three team captains take on the messaging.
“I could tell they wanted to rally themselves and sometimes as a coach you step back and let the players be their own motivators,” he said.
Laurier 12 – Ryerson 0
Every thing that could go wrong for the Ryerson Rams did prior to the start of game two. Jeremias Sucre who was used in to end game one, would not be able to go deep into game two. Also due to excessive heat there was a two-hour delay in the start to game two. This long lay over for Sucre would be costly. He did not have much on his fastball and would be tagged for six runs in two innings, including a massive home run by catcher/first baseman Ryley Davenport.
The Rams' offence was unable to get anything going off Laurier starter Austin Hassani, who would go the distance allowing only six hits. Hassani was able to pitch ahead and with the help of two double plays behind him shut down a flat Rams offence.
Laurier’s Davenport would be the offensive star for the Golden Hawks. He would have three hits and drive in five runs helping Laurier to a 12-0 decisive win over the Rams.
If there was a positive that the Rams could take from the game was the improved performance of some of the relievers. The bullpen has struggled most of the season, but MacDowell, Christian Shirton, Luke Bellus and Aidan Dolan all had encouraging outings.
“The No. 1 relief spot has been up for grabs all year. MacDowell has now had consecutive strong outings (three if you include our exhibition game vs Humber on Wednesday), and Dolan is showing he is capable of getting outs” said Rich.
After the second game Rams veteran catcher Chis Aubin had a message for his team.
“I think we have to find a way to get mentally prepared. The fourth game of a weekend is always tough, regardless of how you played the other three,” said Aubin. “It is tough to win the fourth game, but that is the difference between the Laurier [team], who has the experience. We are not there yet; we have the potential to be there but we need to be at that level mentally”
Ryerson Rams will face the Toronto Varsity Blues next Saturday, September 30th at Dan Lang Field.