The Durham Lords men’s baseball won the silver medal in the Ontario Colleges Athletics Association (OCAA) Championships.
Durham lost 6-4 in the gold medal game against St. Clair, but Lords’ head coach Sam Dempster explains they were close to changing the outcome.
“We had the winning run at the plate,” said Dempster. “Instead of a fly-ball, if we get a hard line-drive to the gap and we have a tie game.”
The Lords started off the tournament with a 9-0 loss to St. Clair, but then beat Humber 6-5, then Fanshawe 3-2 to advance to the finals.
“If we play good defence and get timely hitting, anything can happen,” said Dempster.
Dempster was not worried about the team’s chances of advancing to the final after the first loss. He explains pitching is the key to success.
“The game is 90 per cent pitching,” said Dempster. “If you can make good pitches, you have a chance to win.”
The Lords finished the regular season with an 11-9 record, and Dempster was impressed with Ilija Bozinovski’s breakout season.
Bozinovski finished with a 5-1 record, led the league with the most innings pitched and strikeouts, and posted a 1.37 earned run average. Dempster was in disbelief when Bozinovski did not get the pitching award.
“The stats don’t lie,” said Dempster. “The surprise is that he did not the get the award.”
Dempster says the most memorable moment of this season is when the Lords beat St. Clair 6-1 in September in his absence. St. Clair finished the season 19-1, making Durham the only team to beat them.
“That was so exciting for me to realize that we beat them in our yard,” said Dempster. “To me that was a highlight to know our guys didn’t quit.”
The Lords will be playing in the OUA/OCAA Championship this weekend in the Windsor. Waterloo, St. Clair, and Brock are the other teams in the championship.
“To get the opportunity to play against the other top teams in the province is pretty exciting,” said Dempster.
Durham’s first game will be against Brock at 7:00 p.m. on Friday.