Reporter: Joseph LeBouthillier
The Durham Lords men’s baseball team, which went 2-2 in the playoffs, earned a silver medal in the OCAA playoffs after faltering in the gold medal game against the St. Clair Saints. The final score was 5-2 for the Saints. “We weren’t able to do what we needed to. It was a tough loss,” said Lords pitcher Ryan Norris.
The Lords lost their first game of the playoffs to the Humber Hawks 14-4.
“We had a few errors and, unfortunately, we couldn’t help [Norris],” said Lords outfielder Aaron McQuillen. “Coach [Dempster] has been telling us all year, ‘execute, execute, execute’, and when you get the chance for an easy out make sure you get it.”
The Lords bounced back in their next game to defeat the George Brown Huskies 9-3. With the win over the Huskies, the Lords advanced to the bronze medal game against the Hawks for their second meeting of the playoffs. The only difference between two games was this was a do-or-die situation. The Lords won the game 11-5 after fighting with all their strength.
McQuillen and Norris were both named all-stars of the playoffs.
“It was a big win,” said McQuillen. “It felt great. To lose the first game and then win the knockout game was the big final punch.”
“We were ranked lower than [the Hawks] going into that game so, to me, it felt like an upset,” said Norris. “It felt like we were the underdogs.”
With their season over and a silver medal to prove it, Norris, McQuillen and the team are looking forward to next season.
McQuillen, an Advanced Law Enforcement and Investigations student, is uncertain about next year.
“My program is done for this year, but I’d love to come back,” McQuillen said. “If I can, I will.”
If it so happens that McQuillen does not return to the team next year, he said he plans on bridging his program to UOIT for criminology but he’s not fully certain that that’s the plan.
“Career-wise the smarter move would be to move on and try to become a police officer,” McQuillen explained.
Norris is looking to come back next year. He said he’s trying to get better velocity on his fastball and he wants to focus on his pitching location.
“I’m going to continue working on my changeup, and hopefully I’ll be able to throw it in a game next season,” he said.
And thanks to former Lords baseball player Shaun Slemko, Norris will be able to do so. Slemko has put together an off-season training program at the FLEX centre.
McQuillen and Norris were both named all-stars.
Also, McQuillen was one of two players in the OCAA to be named to the CIBA’s first all-star team.
“It’s a huge honour,” McQuillen said.