It was a Cinderella moment when rookie outfielder Matthew Komonen hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning to win Laurier baseball’s second OUA championship Oct. 19 at the Ajax Sportsplex.
It was a rematch of last year’s championship game against the Varsity Blues, but this time with Laurier on top 4-3.
Going into the championship, Laurier was first in the OUA regular season standings with a 13-5 record, which included a five-game winning streak at the end of the season.
One of the reasons for their success is their talented lineup, particularly on the mound, with pitchers such as Christian Hauck and Ben Braun.
The pitching staff allowed a league-low average of three-and-a-half runs a game during the regular season.
“We knew we had every capability to win with the guys we had, but we also knew that we had to perform as well since U of T beat us in the finals the year before and also a couple times earlier in the season,” said Braun.
Laurier made it to the final after a 10-0 victory over Laurentian University. Then in the finals, Toronto took an early lead after getting two runs in on Laurier’s starting pitcher, Braun.
Laurier was able to climb back, getting a run in the fourth inning and another pair of runs in the sixth inning to take the lead.
In the ninth inning, Toronto was able to get a run to tie the game up and head to extra innings. However, it didn’t stay that way for long: with runners on first and second, Komonen was able to hit a single. This brought runner Keifer Quick into home, giving the Hawks the conference title.
Pitcher Symington was credited with the win for the Golden Hawks after relieving Braun, going five innings and only letting two runs in.
Komonen wasn’t on the traveling roster at the start of the season but got the chance to play and took advantage, finishing the game two-for-four, including the walk-off single.
Quick and Jeff Hunt also had great games for Laurier, finishing with two hits each.
This was the Golden Hawks’ first conference title since 2013, with only one player on the team who has won before.
Braun also commented that the biggest factor for the team’s win was teamwork and friendship. “Our captains did a great job of bringing the team closer together early on and making sure that we were all on the same page and ready to go from game one onwards,” he said.
Even though the team is made up of a lot new faces, the win was a team effort, with many different guys contributing throughout the day, giving Laurier their 73rd provincial title in school history.