Humber’s men’s baseball team staged a triple play this season as they risked a lightning bolt from above as they ended the five-year dynasty of the St. Clair Saints.
It began with winning their OCAA division, followed with the team’s first OCAA title on Oct. 20 and finally sealed it Oct. 27 at Connorvale Park in Etobicoke with a National College Baseball Championship.
Their victim in both provincial and national gold medal rounds was the five-time OCAA champs St. Clair Saints from Windsor. Humber smoked them 14-5 in the provincial title and then 7-3 in the national final.
Let’s put this achievement in perspective: St. Clair was provincial champs since 2013, they scored 163 runs in 2014-15, and they posted 135 RBIs in the 2013-14 and the 2014-15 seasons, all of which continue to stand as OCAA record book markers.
Humber players also picked up some personal hardware along the path to national gold. Pitcher Brendan Lyons, with a 2.63 era, was named tournament MVP and Best Pitcher, while outfielder Brandon Costa was given the Golden Glove.
Pitcher Rory Pollard (0.32 era in 22 innings pitched), catcher Justin Marra and infielder Keegan Murphy were named to the national All-Star Team.
“We didn’t really do anything different this weekend than we did all season. We did our job, didn’t complicate it, kept it simple, and it all worked out,” Lyons said.
Head coach and OCAA coach of the year Matt Ferreira said it’s taken a long time for the team to reach this height.
“You start thinking about all the players from year-to-year, some of the coaches we’ve had and some of the changes we’ve made over the past few years,” he said.
“Really, you think about it, it being a collaborative nine or 10-year effort to get here,” Ferreira said. “Kudos to St. Clair, because staying at the top of the mountain for as long as they have is incredible.”
Leading up to CCAA tournament, Humber tallied its best season with a 17-3 record – a .850 record — scoring 151 total runs, a team batting average of .350 garnished with an 11-game winning streak.
And for the first time in the team’s history a strong OCAA championship weekend showing put them into the gold medal game.
The first game of the OCAA tournament was against Fanshawe where Humber took the win with a final score of 6-2. The teams were tied 2-2 up until the fifth when the Hawks batted in two runs and another two in the sixth inning.
The versatile Hawks’ pitcher Lyons played first base and batted in four runs. Pollard and veteran Steven Hough shared the pitching duties, giving up combined six hits to the Falcons.
Game 2 against the St. Clair Saints ended with 7-0 win. But scores can be deceiving as it was a 1-0 game until the bottom of the 6th inning where the Hawks exploded for six additional runs.
League batting champion Andrew Thompson had two strong hits for Humber and scoring a run. Lyons pitched a great game with a shutout, allowing three hits while fanning nine batters. As a result he was chosen as the Humber Player of the Game.
In the OCAA Championship game the same teams squared off again and ended the third inning tied at 5. However, the Hawks claimed a sweet victory scoring nine more runs over the final four innings ending with a final score of 14-5.
Humber’s designated hitter Dennis Dei Baning had a two-run triple in the bottom of the fifth inning, and they never looked back as they pulled away from the Saints, setting the teams up for a final showdown in the Nationals.