The University of Western Ontario and Brock University will contest this weekend for the 2007 Ontario University Athletics Baseball Championship, with game one of the best-of-three series commencing at 7 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 19) at Labatt Park in London.
The Mustangs are the defending OUA champions having won the previous two titles heading into this year’s competition. The Badgers claimed the OUA title in 2002 and have been a top contender since. Last season Western swept Brock in two games (5-0 and 7-4) to take the championship banner.
With a 15-2 regular season record, the Mustangs claimed first place in the conference, eight points clear of the Badgers this year. Western is 3-0 against Brock this season, two of the victories coming in the first weekend of play and the most recent a 20-6 victory at the end of September.
Conrad Bach (Oakville) has been a key strength in Western’s squad throughout the season. He has the best batting average of the Mustangs at .370 and sits in sixth place in the OUA. Bach’s 22 runs top the OUA and match his teammate Matt Beaker’s (Oakville) mark.
The Mustang’s pitching game is led by third year player Sean Grimes (London) who leads the province with a remarkable 0.833 ERA. Grimes delivered a clutch performance in game one of the OUA semi-final when he struck out five batters and only surrendered two runs on six hits in a complete game over Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. Jordan Townsend (London) had a strong outing in the semi-finals as he went seven innings in game three over the Hawks, clinching their OUA final berth, giving up just two hits and no runs to lead the Mustangs to the OUA final.
Brock completed this season’s regular schedule with an 11-7 record, placing second behind Western. The Badgers have won three of their previous four games and hope to carry this momentum into what is shaping up to be a memorable weekend of baseball.
In game two of the sweep of their OUA semi-final series against McMaster University, Brock starter Nathan Penrose (Burlington) recorded a season-high 12 strikeouts in the victory, allowing three runs on two hits. The Badgers will look to Penrose and fellow pitcher Jordan Prosper (Oshawa) as the leading starters of the championship series to impede the Mustangs strong batting game. A great amount of confidence is placed in relief pitchers Eric DeBoer (Niagara-on-the-Lake) and TC Murray (St. Catharines), who have provided crucial performances in post-season play.
Mike Walker (Guelph) and Joe Kirby (Burlington) have been the Badger’s biggest offensive threats this season with .370 and .330 batting averages, respectively. In their last match against the Marauders, Walker went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI while Kirby was 3-for-4 with one RBI.
OUA BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCHEDULE
Game 1 – October 19, 2007 – 7:00 pm – Brock @ Western (Labatt Park)
Game 2 – October 20, 2007 – 1:00 pm – Western @ Brock (Community Park)
Game 3 (if necessary) – October 21, 2007 – 1:00 pm – Brock @ Western (Labatt Park)