Mac diamond men make OUA history with title win

The McMaster Marauders won their first-ever Ontario University Athletics baseball championship on Saturday (Oct. 18), defeating the Brock Badgers 2-1.

Returning to their home Bernie Arbour Stadium for the second game of the best-of-three series the Marauders swept the affair after Friday’s 4-3 win on Friday night in St. Catharines.

Game 2 was a pitcher’s duel as McMaster’s Chris Piccini (Mississauga) and Brock’s Jordan Prosper (Oshawa) matched each other pitch for pitch. With the game deadlocked at one in the bottom of the eighth inning, it was Prosper who blinked as leftfielder Sean Lemon (Mississauga) drove in Matthew Piccini (Mississauga) for the game-winning run. Lemon was named Pizza Pizza Player of the Game, going 2-for-4 in the contest.

Chris Piccini went the distance for the victory, allowing one earned run on five hits, striking out nine Badgers. He was named tournament MVP, sponsored by Wilson. While he was held hitless on Saturday, he went 1-for-4 with a run scored on Friday.

In Game 1, McMaster catcher Devlin Connelly (Toronto) recorded a clutch two-run single in the seventh inning to give the Marauders the lead for good. Matthew Piccini got the win, allowing one earned run in seven innings.

For Brock, it was their fourth consecutive trip to the OUA Baseball Championship Series without a title to show for it. The Badgers did have some impressive performances, most notably Jason Emers (Welland) who stuck out 15 Marauders on Friday night, only to come away with a loss. At the plate, first baseman Casey Burnie (Peterborough) went 4-for-6 in the series, including a double in Game 2. He scored a run, and drove in another.

McMaster finished the regular season with a 10-8 record, knocking out the top two regular season teams in the playoffs.

McMaster swept the 11-7 Western Mustangs in two games in the semi-finals, and then defeated the 14-4 Badgers in the championship.

The Marauders received a ton of recognition prior to their championship victory, as Chris Piccini was named OUA’s Most Valuable Hitter, leading the league with a .390 batting average. He knocked out 21 hits, scored 12 times and stole 12 bases during the regular season. Skipper Wayne Gowan was named OUA Coach of the Year.

Chris Piccini was also named an OUA First Team All-Star, along with first baseman John McGregor (Ottawa), Lemon, designated hitter Ryan Hurley (Ingersoll) and relief pitcher Greg Swan (Dundas). Connelly was named to the Second Team.

It is only fitting that the Marauders have finally won their first title on the diamond, as the championship trophy is in honour of the person who helped establish the McMaster baseball program.

Jason Guindon helped create the first Canadian University Baseball League, which set the foundation for the sport’s inclusion in OUA beginning in 2001. He was also one of the original coaches at the university level at McMaster. Guindon was killed in a car accident in the summer of 1998 as he pursued his dream of seeing a baseball game in every Major League Baseball stadium in North America. He was 26. The Guindon family and McMaster University donated the trophy in 2004 to honour Jason’s memory.